I got this email today. (Reader: I tried to write you back but my email to you bounced back.)
Can you tell if if the Unitarian’s have a Liturgy? with a communion rite? if so where might I find it?
Sure, I’ll help.
- I’m not sure if you mean Unitarians historically or globally, or contemporary usage, which would include the Universalist tradition.
- While other internal evidence in the email points to a Christain, which I won’t disclose since I’m treating the questioner anonymously, Unitarians, Universalists and Unitarian Universalists have a huge tradition of non-Christian practice. There was a not-well-done (I started taking a red pencil to my copy) compilation of communion rites a few years back, but I’ll let commentors address the non-Christian site of things.
- Being on the free church end of the spectrum, even with the occasional foray into “catholic ecumenism” published liturgies always had the weight to advice rather than mandate. Many local rites or minister-specific rites have surely been lost to the record.
- Many Unitarian Universalist Christians spy the King’s Chapel, Boston prayer book, but I gather it is out of print. Older edition can be found on Google Books. Here’s one.
- But if you’re going to go back a few decades, you should also review the Martineau and Hedge liturgies, and the Universalist prayerbooks. I have typed out this 1894 prayer book for easier use. (The last of these is still used in Providence, Rhode Island.)
- The Unitarians of Transylvania and other non-English-speaking countries have living liturgical traditions, but these are haphazardly collected and translated. I would recommend a Google search.
- If I was going to lift up one useful, modern and living English-language communion resource, I would suggest Celebrating Life: a book of special services edited by Andrew M. Hill and published by the Lindsey Press for the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches (UK) in 1993.
- The Chapel in the Garden, Bridport, has its quite-nice liturgies online, including a Communion rite but these would be seen as rather conservative and not usually understood as representative.