Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Faith Like a River: A Program on Unitarian Universalist History for Adults

Activity 1: What Is Covenant?

Activity time: 35 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story "The Agreement" and prepare to read or tell it with feeling, bringing the drama and characters to life with your voice and expressions.
  • Obtain a copy of your congregation's covenant and add the text to Handout 1, Congregational Covenants. Then, print out and copy the handout. (Note: Participants will use Handout 1 again in Activity 5.)
  • Post the covenant the group generated in Workshop 1, Activity 4.
  • Write on newsprint, and post: Covenant is a way of articulating shared values that
    • speak about what the congregation values most highly
    • define the promises they make together
    • define how members will act with one another

Description of Activity

Read or tell the story "The Agreement."

Then, call participants' attention to the covenant they made with one another in Workshop 1. Ask:

  • How is this covenant an expression of our intention to engage in this program, not just as individuals, but as a group responsible to and supported by one another?

Distribute Handout 1, Congregational Covenants. Invite participants to read aloud together either the congregation's covenant or one of the two commonly used covenants on the handout. Invite participants to choose a conversation partner to consider:

  • What are the ways members of the congregation have obligations to each other?
  • What are the ways each person names what they need from the community and what they are willing to contribute to its well being?

Allow 10 minutes for this conversation.

Then, indicate the definition of covenant that you have written on newsprint. Engage discussion, using these questions:

  • How does our congregation's covenant meet the criteria in the definition?
  • How does our program covenant meet those criteria? Is there anything we should add to our program covenant?
  • Was the agreement among the river, the salmon, and the bears in the Lopez story a covenant? How so?
  • Is everyone included in your congregation's covenant? Is there a "river" that is taken for granted?
  • What does your congregation's covenant mean to you?