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

Faith In Action: Lifting Up Covenantal Relationships

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Test equipment; queue “What do we promise one another?” video (3:02)
  • Create a slide and project or write on newsprint and post:
    • What do we promise one another?
    • What promises do we make to our faith?
    • What sacrifices are we willing to make to create and sustain communities of welcome, hope, and service?
    • What promises do we make to the world?
    • How do we become the people that others can count on to Stand on the Side of Love?

Description of Activity

Share this text from You may choose to project it as you read:

Covenant is the silk that joins Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, communities, and individuals together in a web of interconnection. The practice of promising to walk together is the precious core of our creedless faith.

“Covenant” is both a noun and a verb. It can be a written agreement among individual community members promising to behave in certain ways, and it can mean to engage in mutual promises with Spirit, with other people and communities.

Every congregation has covenanted to “affirm and promote” our “Principles and Practices” and to promise “one another our mutual trust and support.” Beyond these mutual commitments, which each congregation makes when it formally joins the Association, it can be hard to know exactly how congregations and communities are called to steward their associational covenant.

Here are examples of how some congregations honor this larger covenant:

  • engage in Standing on the Side of Love justice efforts
  • participate in pulpit or choir swaps with neighboring congregations
  • learn and worship alongside other congregations by participating in district or regional programs (see your district/regional website for more information)
  • provide direct services to other congregations by paying Fair Share dues to our Association and to districts/regions
  • ask leaders from other congregations for advice and support
  • send delegates to our Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly
  • attend installations and ordinations at area congregations

Ask participants to consider how your congregation or community upholds the promise to offer one another our mutual trust and support. What relationships do you have with other Unitarian Universalist congregations and groups? Make a list on newsprint. As a group, decide how to share with others the idea that these relationships between and among UU congregations and groups are an important part of our polity and of our covenant as Unitarian Universalists.

Explain that at General Assembly in 2013, participants were invited to consider the commitments and promises they and their congregations or groups make as Unitarian Universalists. Share the video, which introduced a reflection process at that General Assembly. Organize a similar reflection process in your congregation or group, inviting people to meet in small groups to consider the questions posed in the video and posted on newsprint or the slide you have prepared.


Work with your minister and governing body to design an annual renewal of covenant for the leadership and the congregation, or lift up the idea of covenant at an annual recognition of volunteers.