the OUUC spark

March 16, 2023

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We Covenant... - Rev. Mary Gear

We Covenant...

Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal faith, meaning we don’t all believe the same thing, but we share values and make agreements about how we will be together. We call those agreements “covenants.”

This definition of covenant is from the UUA Commission on Appraisal Report titled “Unlocking the Power of Covenant:”

A covenant is a mutual sacred promise between individuals or groups, to stay in relationship, care about each other, and work together in good faith.

The Unitarian Universalist Association has a covenant between the member congregations, of which OUUC is one. That covenant is under review and revision right now with the Article II Commission. You can find out more about that project here.

OUUC has a covenant, as do most UU Congregations. Last Fall, we began the process of reviewing the OUUC covenant. As part of that process, we proceeded to add a behavioral covenant to the current covenant language, specific things we agree to do or not do in relationship with each other.

We plan to keep the current covenant; it is not being replaced. In order to be clear about what we expected of each other, we wanted to add a behavioral covenant. I believe it is important to be as clear as possible about when the covenant has been broken. OUUC has a non-covenantal behavior policy that we use when we believe covenant has been broken, but how can we tell when that is if the covenant is not concrete and clear?

We kicked off this work in October 2022 with a worship service and workshop with Rev. Carol McKinley and Rev. Summer Albayati. In the workshop we were asked to reflect on these questions:

  • Why is covenant so important to how we relate to our world?
  • How does the concept of interdependence guide us in our own actions and relationships to each other and the world?
  • Why is the practice of covenant important for you?
  • How does the practice of covenant relate to our work in AR/AO/MC?
  • How will we call one another back into covenant?

With the notes from the re-covenanting workshop, a writing team went to work creating a behavioral covenant. We can be grateful to Helen Henry, Rich Kalman, Martha Nicoloff, and Jenée Wolfram for their work these past months.

The result of our re-covenanting work is a proposed revision to the current covenant, and a proposed behavioral covenant with some examples to add to the current covenant. The addition and revision are included.

We suggest you engage with the proposed revisions in this way:

  1. Read it the first time to observe how it makes you feel.
  2. Read a second time, observe what it makes you think.
  3. Finally, read it a third time before thinking about any suggestions.

The writing team and I have already received feedback on the proposed behavioral covenant from the OUUC Board of Trustees. Now we’d like to hear from you. On Sunday, March 19, I will be joined by Helen, Rich, Martha, and Jenée for the after-service forum at 11:30 am where we will present the revision and addition to the current covenant. There will be time for questions, reflection, and discussion. We hope you will join us. And, if you are unable to attend the forum, please feel free to send me your written feedback.

You can find the proposed covenant modifications below.

Blessings on your week.

Rev. Mary

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Proposed Covenant Modifications

Download the proposed covenant modifications below or read them on our website here.

Tiny Little News Show

Tiny Little News Show March 13, 2023

SAVE THE DATE: Labyrinth Comes to OUUC!

As we move into the season of Spring, Easter and Passover, Mary Ellen Johnson, long-time labyrinth facilitator, will bring her labyrinth to the OUUC sanctuary to help us mark these holy days.

All ages are welcome to an open labyrinth walk on Friday, March 31 from 4:00 - 7:00 pm.

Everyone is invited to a workshop titled “Labyrinth 202 – Further Along the Journey” on Saturday, April 1 from 9:30 am - 12:00 pm. No experience with a labyrinth is required, everyone welcome.

You can register here.

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Looking for upcoming events? Go to the OUUC Calendar.