The Religious Education Covenant Weekend Workshop
Every congregation will decide what their RE Covenant weekend will look like based on their own needs and desired outcomes. A Covenant Team, with identified Team Leader or contact person, will need to be established to plan the weekend. Here is a sample of what other congregations have done successfully.
The workshop runs roughly from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with coffee break and lunch provided by the hosting congregation. The lunch might be a potluck, ordered in, or provided by someone in the congregation, as you determine in your planning for the event.
The morning focus is on the overview of the process, your congregation's historical timeline, and your vision for religious education and professional RE leadership. The afternoon is devoted to assessment, desired outcomes, strategies for change, and the writing of the covenant or covenants.
The facilitator will need some time on Saturday to finalize worship details with the parish minister, religious educator, and covenant team leader. Someone from the Covenant Team will need to type up the final covenant on Saturday evening.
The service on Sunday is a celebratory service honoring the promises (covenants) people have made to one another. Colleagues and guests may have parts in the service as well. Colleagues will process in together, with the District Field Staff (or a representative) and the LREDA Chapter President (or a representative) and may present a "Charge to the Congregation" and a "Charge to the Religious Educator" as arranged in advance with the Covenant Team. The congregational covenant can be read by the congregation or presented by the Board President. The children may also create a covenant with the religious educator. The minister may present a sermon or a homily on the meaning of covenants. Gifts in honor of religious education and its leadership may be presented as a part of the occasion. The mood is joyful and celebratory.
Many congregations host some sort of reception after the service. This may be a luncheon or finger-foods event, or simply cake and cookies. It is hoped that you have fun planning your weekend, and that the creativity of the planning and the participants will make the weekend both joyful and uplifting!
Friday Evening (Optional)
Some congregations choose to host a Friday evening gathering prior to the more structured Saturday process. The purpose of this might be to gather guests who may be traveling in with others in the congregation for a social event that will serve as a catalyst for building energy and enthusiasm for the covenanting process. Such a gathering may also provide a forum for those who are not able to attend the Saturday sessions to share their ideas on the topic of religious education in the life of the congregation. Since not everyone involved in the covenanting process may attend the Friday evening, major content pieces will not be offered until Saturday.