As Unitarian Universalists, we belong to a beloved community with a heritage of love, truth-seeking, and peacemaking from our Unitarian and Universalist forebears. Although our theological beliefs can be diverse, our covenant with one another and the love we bring to it tie us together in a common bond. The covenanted community we share is embodied in the words of Reverend James Vila Blake which provide the structure for this program:
Love is the spirit of this church,
And service its law.
This is our great covenant:
To dwell together in peace,
To seek the truth in love,
And to help one another.
The sessions of this program focus on the covenant created by the Reverend James Vila Blake during the time he served the Unitarian Church in Evanston, Illinois. Many congregations have adopted or adapted this covenant to express the fundamental values that bond them as a community and as Unitarian Universalists.
Rev. Blake was a poet with several volumes of published poetry to his credit. He received national attention when he calmly directed worshipers at the Third Unitarian Church to exit the building because of a fire which had been ignited during a service. His words, "There is reason for haste, but not alarm," encouraged everyone to leave the building quickly, in an orderly fashion, and without panic. Rev. Blake waited at the pulpit until all 140 worshipers had left, and then made his own exit. Less than a minute later, the entire meeting room was engulfed in flames from floor to ceiling.