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Faith In Action: Covenants in Congregational Life (20 minutes), Workshop 1: The Locus of Moral Authority

In "What We Choose: Ethics for Unitarian Universalists," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Sample Unitarian Universalist congregational or small-group covenants, and descriptions of how each came to be written
  • Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook

Preparation for Activity

  • If you have a congregational covenant, research the covenant's creation. Ask your minister or a member who was involved. Ask groups within the congregation, such as youth groups and small group ministry groups, if they have covenants they are willing to share with participants in this program. Ask for the covenant and a brief description of how it was written. Copy the covenants and descriptions for participants. If you are unable to find written covenants within your congregation, find examples on the websites of other Unitarian Universalist congregations.
  • Read examples of covenants in Singing the Living Tradition (Readings 471-478).
  • Invite appropriate congregational leaders to meet with your group to talk about creating or renewing a congregational covenant.

Description of Activity

Distribute sample covenants with descriptions of their creation. You may wish to read some aloud, or have volunteers read aloud.

Ask:

  • Who made these covenants and how did they create them?
  • Did the congregation as a whole vote to accept and abide by these covenants? If they are group covenants, did all in the group have a say on the covenant?
  • Do we know who had final say on what was included in the covenant?
  • How do we create communal authority?
  • How might we take the things we have learned about covenant into the work we do in the congregation?

If you do not have a congregational covenant or if it has been a long period of time since the creation of your covenant, invite congregational leaders to talk with you about a process for creating or recreating such a covenant. Who should have a voice? Where does the authority lay to create and accept such a covenant?

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, January 19, 2012.

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