Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- A copy of your congregation's covenant
Preparation for Activity
- Obtain a copy of your congregation's covenant.
- Ask your minister or religious educator to tell you the story of the covenant's creation. Prepare to tell the story to the group, or, invite a member of the congregation to come and tell the story of how the covenant was created.
- Write the words of the congregation's covenant on newsprint, and post.
- Write the words of James Vila Blake's covenant on another sheet of newsprint, and post adjacent to the congregational covenant:
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. - James Vila Blake
Description of Activity
Invite participants to compare and contrast the two covenants:
- What is similar?
- What is different?
- How does the different wording communicate something different of value?
- If the values of helping one another, seeking truth in love, and service as the law are included in your congregation's covenant, are they listed in the same order as in the Blake covenant? How does a different order signify different importance?
Tell participants the story of how the covenant was created at your congregation (or have your guest do so). Then invite reflection on the story with questions such as:
- How does the story of the covenant's creation show, in the words of the final version?
- Who was involved in creating our congregation's covenant? How does the fact that these others, and not ourselves, wrote it affect its relevance for us today? Why?
- Which covenant do you like better, our congregation's or the one created by Blake? Why?
Including All Participants
Some participants are hesitant to share in a group, and some like to consider their responses carefully before they speak. Pass a talking stick to foster everyone's attentiveness and facilitate sharing by one person at a time.