Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Chorus of Faiths: A Program That Builds Interfaith Youth Leaders

Activity 1: Covenants

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • For your own use, list the elements of covenant you plan to suggest to the group. You might include:
    • Start and end on time
    • Respect the space
    • Assume the good will of others
    • Practice respectful dialogue
    • Honor diversity of identity, opinion, and style
    • If you desire confidentiality, ask for it
    • Step up, step back (share the floor, make space for quieter voices)
    • Be curious with both heart and mind, and open to the experiences of others
    • Oops / Ouch (apologize if you make a mistake, speak up if someone else's behavior breaks the covenant)
    • All electronic devices off
    • Nurture your spirit and practice self care. Set your own boundaries around sharing. Feel free to pass.
  • Post a sheet of newsprint for a peer-to-peer covenant. Write the title, "How We Participants Agree to Be with Each Other."
  • Post another sheet of newsprint for a leader-to-participant covenant. Write the title, "How We Leaders and Participants Agree to Be with Each Other."

Description of Activity

Participants create covenants together.

Explain that behavioral covenants are a foundational aspect of liberal congregations and the practice of establishing a covenant is an essential act of leadership.

Invite participants to suggest guidelines for how they will behave with each other during the program. Write all suggestions on newsprint. Offer items from the list you have prepared, if youth do not suggest them.

Ask participants if they have concerns about agreeing to any items listed. Discuss those items and decide as a group whether to keep, reword, or eliminate them.

Mention that one objective of this program is to empower participating youth so they can develop as leaders. Invite participants to suggest guidelines about what they need from you, as leaders, in order to learn to be leaders themselves. Write their suggestions on the second sheet of newsprint. If you feel it is necessary and you have time, you might offer to leave the room for a few minutes if the participants are worried about hurting your feelings while they come up with a list on their own. Discuss any concerns you might have so you can come to a list of items to which everyone agrees.

Read the covenants aloud and ask for verbal assent from each participant; give your verbal assent to the leader-to-participant covenant. Or, invite everyone to sign the covenants-first, if needed, rewrite both covenants on new sheets of newsprint.

Post the covenants. Tell youth that the covenants are living documents which the group can revise, as needed, in future workshops.