A Covenant of Right Relations

A Covenant of Right Relations

Greetings, Beloved Community.
Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal faith. “We covenant to affirm and promote” the Seven Principles. We also create covenants of purpose in forming churches–as when ours was formed long ago. The Covenant of Purposes names what we pledge to do or offer as a church. It’s part of who we are.

Our Covenant of Purposes

•We encourage and support individual freedom of religious beliefs for all.
•We share in a loving ministry each for the other; and thereby provide for our emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
•We are dedicated to providing religious education for our children which will enhance the positive worth of each child.
•We will strive toward social responsibility with the purpose of strengthening an individual commitment to self,
congregation and community.
•We will seek the truth to enlighten and acknowledge human accomplishments and possibilities.

In addition to the Covenant of Purposes, congregations are encouraged to create or adopt Covenants of Right Relations as well. This type of covenant speaks to how we engage with one another and calls us to our higher selves.

You may remember discussions about this work in 2018. We had volunteers (Marilin Campbell and Meredith Norman) working on this, and we held focus groups at both Gatherings to discuss samples and proposals. The final focus group was to be near the end of the year at Salisbury, but we were snowed out; thus, our covenant project carried over into 2019.

After many iterations and ideas, groups settled on a version of a covenant that has been adopted or adapted by numerous congregations around the country. This covenant is found in our hymnal in two versions (471 and 473). Groups at both Gatherings supported changing some of the language of the versions in the hymnal to be more inclusive.

As a result of our focus groups, we offer the following covenant for your consideration. The comments to the right offer original or alternate options. You will have an opportunity to choose your preference from the options below when we vote on the final version.

Love is the spirit of this church (original wording: “Love is the doctrine of this church”)
and service its prayer.
We covenant to honor all spiritual paths
with intentional hospitality, (alternate wording: “radical hospitality”)
To assume the best of one another
from our highest selves,
To dwell together in peace
through kindness,
And to serve one another (original wording: “to serve human need with compassion”)
with compassion,
Honoring one another as members of Beloved Community,
and dwelling in harmony, A beacon of hope. (Alternate: Dwelling in unity, a beacon of hope)

The covenant will be offered for approval at our next Congregational Meeting.

I’m very grateful to Meredith and Marilin for their work on covenant and grateful, as well, to those members who attended the groups to collaborate on valuable input in arriving at the sample offered here.

May we continue to live into who we say we are as Unitarian Universalists and as beloved community.

Peace to each of you,
~Rev. Mary Frances