Tuesday, June 09, 2009

How do you do outdoor liturgical fire?

A practical worship question:

I'm going to do a Summer Solstice Worship in a couple of weeks and want to do it (or start it at least) outside the chapel on our forecourt. I want to light a flaming chalice or fire of some kind but wonder how to do this 1. safely and 2. in a way that won't just blow out in a gust of wind, as a candle might.

Any ideas?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does Summer Solstice mean to Unitarians?

11:59 am  
Blogger Joel Monka said...

In such weather conditions, many use a lamp or torch instead. The mosquito repellent torches used for picnics are safe, and can survive quite a bit of wind.

1:39 pm  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

You might want to take a cue from a St. Jean Baptiste Day feu de joie. Then again you might not. :-)

2:41 pm  
Blogger Andrew Bethune said...

Meths works quite well for bowls of fire. We used to use them at Altared Images in Edinburgh 10 years ago, though always indoors. Not sure how they'd stand up to gusts of wind.

3:36 pm  
Blogger Katherine H. said...

For an actual fire:


For a chalice, I might try a chalice with a wide mouth, and then cover the candle with a hurricane lamp top. Do you call them that across the pond?


3:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contact your nearest Catholic priest - or Anglo-Catholic - they usually light an outdoor fire for the Easter Vigil- they probably have the necessary 'gear' and might, in the cause of ecumenism, be prepared to loan it !!

9:00 pm  
Anonymous a said...

A hurricane lamp?

9:34 pm  
Anonymous Mike Killingworth said...

How do they keep the olympic flame alight?

You'll probably need a source of combustible gas rather than a wax candle.

And some advice from the Fire Brigade....

4:00 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

Thanks for the advice. In the end I used an outdoor large candle, but it didn't work very well.

Anoymous: I would say that Summer Solstice is a chance to mark the turning of the seasons, which is a very natural thing for humans to do. For most of human history we've needed to be much more aware of the seasons for farming.

Solstices and equinoxes are the major times of the year for celebrating an earth-centred spirituality. This is a major stream of Unitarian spirituality.

2:45 pm  
Blogger Yewtree said...

You can get very nice firepits from B&Q which are bowl-shaped. (Think GIANT chalice!) Good to see someone doing something for Summer Solstice. (I'm Unitarian and Wiccan, so like to see the cycle of the seasons marked.)

9:06 pm  
Blogger Yewtree said...

Oh and by the way, a mutual friend suggested you might like this new book: Contemporary Christianity and LGBT Sexualities, to which I contributed a chapter comparing LGBT Pagan and Christian spiritualities, to see if there is a distinctly queer spirituality (I concluded that there is, not for any essentialist reasons, but because it is rooted in LGBT experiences).

5:27 pm  

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