Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Activity 4: Unitarian Universalist Covenant

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Arrange for a congregational leader or district staff person to spend time with the group during this session. If the congregation has a covenant, invite a congregational leader to discuss the congregation's covenanting process. If the congregation does not have a written covenant, invite a district staff person to discuss the general process of creating congregational covenants and why it is good to have explicit covenants.
  • Write the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism on newsprint and post.
  • If your congregation has a covenant or mission statement, write it on newsprint and post.

Description of Activity

This activity addresses implicit and explicit covenants in Unitarian Universalism. Begin by explaining that there are two types of covenant - explicit and implicit. Explicit covenants are written and adopted by a group of people, and implicit covenants are agreements that are implied or unspoken.

Ask the group: What do Unitarian Universalists covenant with each other? Invite participant responses and write them on newsprint. Encourage them to think of both explicit covenants (e.g. the congregation's covenant or the Seven Unitarian Universalist Principles) and implicit covenants (e.g. we do not "out" gay members in the community or we welcome many theological perspectives). Be sure to point out that the Unitarian Universalist Principles are a covenant among congregations, but many UUs apply them to their lives and church relationships. Participants might ask if there is an implicit or explicit covenant among members of this workshop.

Introduce the group to the congregational leader or district staff member and explain that they will explore how and why Unitarian Universalist congregations, including their own, develop explicit covenants. After the guest has shared, invite the youth to ask questions and identify where, in their experience in the congregation, they see covenant lived.

After the discussion, go around the room and give everyone a chance to briefly answer the question: What gifts or promises do you bring to Unitarian Universalist covenant?