Covered an amazing amount of ground today; covenantal faith, mission, vision, Universalist history, Unitarian history and small group discussion. Literally some 14 hours of dialog, music and worship.
What stood out the most?
Even though today was about mission, the importance of our covenants to our faith was what stuck with me the most. Their use goes back some 400 years and the concept of forging solid community around covenant is integral to our existence and heritage. Building upon a covenant is what made us the 7th largest faith in the past, and they are simply the foundation of being with one-another in community.
Our covenants are the agreements we make together of how we want to treat one-another while we engage in our work. They are the part of our faith that makes us who we are, emergent from what we value, and defining how we work together towards our mission and vision.
More than just that, our covenants define how we ourselves want to behave. They describe our values in a way that leads us to action. Unlike a contract, which demands recompense when broken, if broken, a covenant calls for understanding and reparation. Today has had me thinking about ways to use the concept of covenants in my own daily life to improve my spirit and presence as I move through the world.
Definitely, in future posts, I want to explore more about covenants. I hope to explore these ideas in ways that they are helpful not just to Unitarian Universalist congregations, but to community driven organizations as a whole.
After all, we’re here to model what we hope can be a foundation for a more peaceful, open and sustainable world, right? Isn’t that what our faith, spirituality and work is all about? I sure hope so, considering the hours I’m putting in.
The Scrooby Covenant of 1606:
As ye Lord’s free people joined themselves by a covenant of the Lord into a church estate, in ye fellowship of ye gospel, to walk in all his ways, made known or to be made known to them according to their best endeavor, whatever it should cost them, the Lord assisting them.
Covenant of the UUA
As we, members, staff, and partners, of our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Commission on Social Witness, endeavor to do the best work on behalf of our congregations possible, we covenant to be in right relationship with each other by: finding the holy among each of us; listening to understand and suspending judgment; respecting the contributions and circumstances of each other; trusting each other’s good intentions and commitment to our work; affirming different learning and working styles; grounding our relationships and work in the practices of anti-racism and anti-oppression; striving to implement the UUA Statements of Conscience.
We make these promises to each other to establish the basis for a resilient religious community.