Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: What We Choose: An Adult Program on Ethics for Unitarian Universalists

Activity 5: Group Covenant

Part of What We Choose

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Copy Handout 2, Unitarian Universalist Principles and Sources for all participants.
  • If your congregation has a covenant or a bond of union, copy it for all participants or write the text on newsprint.
  • Identify a place to keep the newsprint covenant the group will generate, so you can post it at all future workshops.

Description of Activity

Say that "covenant" is foundational to our tradition: We are united by our promises to one another, rather than by a shared creed.

Distribute Handout 2. Point out that while our Principles and Sources are a covenant intended to guide congregations that are part of the Unitarian Universalist Association, many Unitarian Universalists have adopted this covenant to guide their own lives and to help them with moral and ethical choices.

If your congregation has a covenant, distribute or post it now.

Post blank newsprint. Invite participants to brainstorm guidelines for how to treat one another in the group. Suggest the guidelines be in the spirit of the congregational covenant, although they will likely be more specific. Write suggestions on newsprint.

After three minutes of brainstorming, ask if there are any additions people wish to make. Ask if any items on the list need further discussion. Once all have agreed to the items on the list, ask each person to signal assent to the covenant by nodding or raising a hand.

Point out that in Jewish and mainstream Christian traditions, adherents covenant with God, or in the presence of God. The ethical authority foundational to the covenant is God. Ask: "Where does the ethical authority that is foundational to our covenant rest? Why?"

Save the covenant newsprint to post at future workshops.