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It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success. — George Washington Carver (1864-1943), horticulturist, chemist and educator who started his life as a slave in the United States


This program uses the toolbox to symbolize our Unitarian Universalist faith. In this session, the group reflected on what we might put in a Toolbox of Faith and what tools our faith can provide. We used a ruler to illustrate rules and promises that are decided together, and we talked about the nature of our faith as something we build together. We discuss the meaning of "to covenant" as "to promise together." The group made their own group covenant.

This session explored two Unitarian Universalist Principles. Participants learned that we value the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large (fifth Principle), and that Unitarian Universalism affirms that we are part of an interdependent web (seventh Principle).


Which are harder to keep, promises (covenants) or rules? Why?

What role does "covenant" have in the way your congregation is governed?

Does your community have a covenant? Discuss the promises made together in your neighborhood, your town or city, your state, our nation. Does writing a promise down transform it into a covenant, or make it more like a "rule?"

Discuss family rules as a covenant, that is, promises made together to make it possible for each member to be safe and happy. How might promises change as children grow up and the balance of responsibility and freedom in their lives changes?

Have each member of the family share an example of how he/she uses covenants in his/her own life, outside their family time together. For example, someone may be part of a covenant at a workplace, in school, as an athlete, as a member of a sports team or musical group, or as a friend.



As a grace before a shared meal or for a chalice-lighting ritual, say together these words by Marjorie Montgomery (Reading 452 in the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook, Singing the Living Tradition):

Life is a gift for which we are grateful.

We gather in community to celebrate

the glories

and mysteries

of this great gift.


See if your congregational library has or wishes to order the book A Lamp in Every Corner: A Unitarian Universalist Storybook by Janeen K. Grohsmeyer (Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 2004). This is a collection of 21 short stories that amplify and explore the seven Principles through Unitarian Universalist history and traditions, including stories about famous Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist men and women. It includes helpful suggestions for the novice storyteller and a list of further storytelling resources. Take turns reading or performing the stories in your family.

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