Activity 4: Ritual of Covenanting
Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Handout 1, The UU Principles, or a poster of the Principles
Preparation for Activity
- Copy Handout 1 for all participants.
- Post blank newsprint.
- Optional: Find sample children's covenants on the websites of UU congregations, including Unitarian Universalist Society East (Manchester, Connecticut) and Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord, MA.
Description of Activity
Children create a group covenant.
Ask the group to name activities during which they interact with the other age groups in the congregation. These might include worship, Our Whole Lives workshops, parties, potlucks, camps, or retreats.
Say, in your own words:
Unitarian Universalists all over the world come together in community. Part of a UU faith journey is to gather for fun and friendship along the way. In a way, we are like the snow pile when the snowflakes come together. Every time we have fun together, we also have the chance to show signs of our faith-signs that we agree about healthy, respectful, loving ways to be together in a group. One of these signs is called a covenant-a written-down promise.
It's a promise we make each other in a UU group, like our Signs group, and like our congregation. We promise to act in ways that show our UU Principles.
Let's remember some of our UU Principles. They will help us make a covenant for our Signs group-these are promises we will keep when we are together, to show we share our Principles and our UU faith.
Distribute Handout 1. Read the Principles aloud, one at a time-or invite volunteers to read. Ask the children to think of promises they can make to show each Principle. Write their ideas on newsprint.
This is a good beginning for a covenant of promises.
- What else should our covenant say?
- What promises do we wish to make, about how we will treat one another, and our leaders and visitors, when we are together?
Prompt to ensure the covenant is complete. Children's covenants often include:
- Treat everyone with respect.
- Let someone finish talking before you start to talk.
- Do not hurt each other, with our bodies or our words.
- Everyone gets a turn.
Make sure everyone understands and agrees to each promise. If someone disagrees, help the group refine the item to everyone's comfort, or do not add it.
Tell the group that everyone in the Signs community is responsible to hold themselves and one another to the promises of the covenant.
Ask the group what they think should happen if someone breaks the covenant? Who should confront the covenant-breaker? How will the group bring the person back into the covenant?
Point out that keeping the covenant is a sign of UU faith in many different ways. It is a sign that we agree with UU Principles such as respecting one another, working for fairness, and honoring the earth and all the life that shares it. It is a sign that we support each other on the faith journeys we each will take.
Now or after the session, re-write the finished covenant on a fresh sheet of newsprint. Post it where it can remain for the duration of the program.