Rev. Bethany: Feedback for our Draft Covenant

From Your Minister, Rev. Bethany ~

You likely received an email earlier this week with a link to give feedback on a draft Congregational Covenant/Community Agreements. I encourage you to give feedback on the form (also available in the front office).

You might ask, what is a covenant? And why do we need one?

As you likely know, Unitarian Universalism is a religion without a creed. We are bound together by the relationships we tend, not the beliefs we hold in common. A covenant says how we agree to be in relationship with one another.

I have been creating covenants since I was an elementary school kid, growing up in UU Sunday School. Covenants, often called “agreements” in secular contexts are used by many activist and other secular groups for similar purposes as they are used in Unitarian Universalism.

Recently, Rev. Erica Baron helped me understand a new dimension of covenant. She says that when it comes to covenant, “words are more like a map…the covenant itself is like the terrain described by the map.”

She explains:

Thinking about covenant this way can help us think about when and how to write, revise, and refer to the words that describe the covenant. Our collective commitments are the landscape. Sometimes we might get a bit lost together. That is when we need the map to help us find our way. Sometimes someone new comes along by joining the congregation or by being elected to the board, for example. That might be a good time to pull out the map to help orient that person to the paths we’ve mapped so far.

Our congregation already has a terrain of both implicit and explicit collective commitments. We have expectations about how we behave when we are together, and we have some words to describe those expectations. This draft covenant we are asking you to review is an attempt to put into words a map for our expectations. As well as our aspirations! We can all, always, do better.

If you are committed to the future UUCT, I hope you will offer your feedback to our draft covenant. We need your investment, and your wisdom, and your participation.

See you in church,

~ Rev. B

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