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

Handout 3: Building a House of Covenant

Parts of a covenant include:

The Foundation

Alice Blair Wesley in her 2000-01 Minns Lecture series "Our Covenant" paraphrased James Luther Adams, saying,

Strong effective, lively liberal churches, sometimes capable of altering positively the direction of their whole society, will be those liberal churches whose lay members can say clearly, individually and collectively, what are their own most important loyalties, as church members.

The foundation of a house is the most solid element upon which the rest is built. Which element of your covenant is the most fundamental for you? What is your most important loyalty? What words in your covenant express this? Express this near the base of your house model.

The Walls

A covenant provides us with a definition of boundaries. It lays out the behaviors, actions, and responsibilities that define our communities. Like the walls of a house, our covenant provides the defining shape of our community. What parts of your covenant define the shape of your life together? Express this on the walls of your house.

The Roof

A covenant provides a safe space for spiritual exploration, just as a roof provides us safety from storms and sun. Which parts of your covenant provide you shelter? Express this on the roof of your house.

Doors and Windows

Although our covenants define the shape of our communities and define their boundaries of belonging, they were never designed to be exclusive, to wall us off from others or to wall us in. Like the doors of a house, our covenants must allow us the freedom to enter and depart. They must provide a welcome for others. Like the windows of a house, they should also help us to see beyond our own walls. In what ways does your covenant welcome others into your house? In what ways does it provide you insight into the faith of others? In what ways does it provide you freedom? Express this on the doors and windows of your house.

To assemble your house after you have cut it out and decorated it:

  • Fold back all tabs. Fold at corner and roof lines.
  • Attach tabs using glue or tape to build house. You may find it easiest to assemble each side/roof section separately before attaching the side/roof sections to each other and the floor.