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New Year’s Burning Bowl ceremony offers chance to let go

Unity Fox Valley Church  Bataviis planning for its special Burning Bowl service Jan. 6.

Unity of Fox Valley Church in Batavia is planning for its special Burning Bowl service Jan. 6.

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Updated: February 4, 2013 6:30AM

BATAVIA — Beyond the usual New Year’s resolutions, some folks in the Fox Valley have their own tradition for looking back on the old year and ahead to the new.

The Burning Bowl and White Stone service at Unity of Fox Valley Church in Batavia has become a tradition for members of the congregation opting for spiritual reflection as a way to let go of the old and whatever baggage has been holding them back.

“It is a way to release anything that is blocking your greatness – your spiritual enfoldment,” said Rev. Jan Little, senior minister at Unity of Fox Valley.

The service will be at 10 a.m. Sunday at the church at 230 Webster St.

Participants will receive pieces of paper to write down something they want to let go of in the new year. After a time of meditation, they will walk up to a bowl filled with lava rock and a candle in the center.

“People can come up at their own pace to light the piece of paper to the candle,” Little said.

“It represents the unreal nature of things we think are reality.”

Little said some of the things holding people back may be feelings of fear, a prolonged resentment or an inability to forgive another.

“The idea is the spirit cannot move within us unless there is a bit of a vacuum,” she said. “We have to release those things in order to move forward in the New Year.”

Unity of Fox Valley, part of the Association of Unity Churches, was formed in 1973 when 12 people created a study group that met in a member’s kitchen. They outgrew the space and began meeting in a renovated house on River Street in Aurora and later rented space in Geneva.

In 1990, the congregation voted to establish a permanent home in Batavia and purchased the church on Webster Street.

“Unity is very positive, practical spirituality and about getting in touch with the divine part of you,” Little said.

Little said the Burning Bowl ceremony will close by writing a word or phrase on a keepsake white stone, specially ordered from Jerusalem, to remind them of their commitment throughout the year.

“Sometimes the word is compassion, love, generosity or creativity,” Little said.

“People have a collection of stones from over the years. It is different from making a New Year’s resolution. It is about recognizing the divine in us. Unity believes we are an original blessing and created in the image and likeness of a creative God and we are inherently good. This helps us acknowledge the divine, beautiful part of us,” Little said.

Little said the Burning Bowl ceremony is a popular service.

“Sometimes there are tears – life can knock us around. But it is the idea of a new day with new potential and possibility,” Little said. “Beginning with the New Year, we have a whole new blank slate.”

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