Releasing of Covenant (Ministerial Departure)
Releasing of Covenant (Ministerial Departure)
Ritual

This Releasing of Covenant was created to end the final worship service of a settled ministry.

Minister: For [number] years you have offered me your free pulpit and the freedom of creativity in worship, gifts for which I’m grateful. I hereby return the ministry of worship to your able hands. Use it to speak the truth in love to one another; to continue to find reverence and meaning together.

Congregation: We thank you for your service in our pulpit. We accept its power of freedom for ourselves and release you from your service as worship leader.

Minister: For [number] years you have welcomed me into the transitional moments of your lives—times of sorrow and crisis, and also of great joy. It’s been my privilege to care for you in times of need. I now return the ministry of pastoral care to your hands. Use it to comfort and to celebrate the milestones of your lives with compassion.

Congregation: We thank you for the pastoral care you have offered us. We accept its power of compassion for ourselves and release you from your role as pastoral caregiver.

Minister: From my first days with you, you have asked me to lead you in works of justice and compassion, inspiring us to build a better world. I return the prophetic ministry to your hands. Use it to take the teachings of Unitarian Universalism beyond our walls, into a hurting human family.

Congregation: We thank you for your prophetic voice. We accept it for ourselves and release you from your service as our leader for peace and justice.

Minister: Since my arrival, you’ve asked me to serve as  administrator and professional leader of this congregation. Today I return the “administry” of this congregation to you. May you guide yourselves with courage and wisdom into a strong and sure future.

Congregation: We thank you for your professional leadership. We accept its power of vision and knowledge, and release you from your call as our professional leader.

Minister: The light of our shared ministry will be extinguished today, but our respective ministries will continue separately: our separate fires will bring light to the world in new and unique ways.

I light two candles from the chalice: one to symbolize your ministry as a congregation, and the other to represent the ministry that I take with me. [light two candles]

Minister: With love and gratitude, I release you from our covenant with one another. Go your way in peace, truth, and love.

Congregation: With love and gratitude, we release you from our covenant with one another. Go your way in peace, truth, and love.

Extinguish the chalice.

About the Authors

  • Erika Hewitt is the UUA's Minister of Worship Arts and Editor of Braver/Wiser, a weekly spirituality series. In addition to serving the UUA half-time, Erika also serves as a Unitarian Universalist parish minister and wedding officiant in Maine.

For more information contact worshipweb@uua.org.

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