Covenant Group Ministry: Saving the World Ten at a Time by our former District Executive, the Rev. Robert L. Hill, DE, SWUUC is now available by mail and at:
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What is a Covenant Group?
Six Necessary, Defining Elements
- SIZE – About 10 people. At least four or five, no more than 12, facilitator included.
- FREQUENCY of meeting – Not less than once a month, in someone’s home or at church if there is a quiet, private, living-room-like setting available regularly.
- FORMAT – Must combine worshipful and/or centering readings and personal check-in periods at the start and at the end. (See the recommended format below.)
- FACILITATORS – A woman or man chosen and trained by the minister, or, in societies with no minister, a small Covenant Group Committee. The trainer then facilitates a Covenant Group for Facilitators so the training is on-going and shared.
- EMPTY CHAIR – Always at least one, to symbolize those not yet reached who need us and the expectation of seeding a new group as membership gets to 10 or so.
- COVENANTS – During one of the first few meetings, agree on how to be with each other. Later, agree on one service to perform for the church each year. Twice a year: find a way of doing something beneficial in the larger community as a group.
The Every-Meeting Format
OPENING READING from a Unitarian Universalist source (the hymn book contains enough material to sustain a Covenant Group for many, many months).
OPENING CHECK-IN: Each person is asked to briefly state her/his answer to a question such as: What’s on your mind today? What do you need to leave behind for a couple of hours in order to be fully present here?
THE FOCUS/PURPOSE OF THE MEETING: With the exception of political or divisive issues within the church: whatever topic or activity the group prefers, so long as it is consistent with our Purposes and Principles and the mission of the sponsoring congregation. The focus should be more on sharing than on debating.
CLOSING CHECK-OUT: The facilitator asks each person for a word or phrase that says something about how she or he is feeling as the meeting draws to an end.
CLOSING READING – Again, from a standard Unitarian Universalist source.
-- Robert L. Hill, DE, SWUUC/UUA