What is a covenant group?
A covenant group includes six to twelve church members and friends who intentionally and regularly gather to build a sense of community with one another and to share the process of personal spiritual growth. A covenant group offers opportunities for friendship, spiritual growth, mutual responsibility, leadership, and service. Many people have found that belonging to a covenant group has become one of the most important parts of their connection with First Unitarian Church.
What happens during a covenant group meeting?
First, the group takes a few moments to make a transition from the cares of the day. Next, members of the group check in with one another, sharing personal joys and sorrows. Then a leader introduces a topic for discussion using a discussion guide that provides several different ways of exploring our monthly spiritual theme. Finally, at the end of the meeting, the group takes a few moments for closure.
When and where do covenant groups meet?
Covenant groups meet one or twice each month for about one and one half hours to two hours. Some covenant groups meet on weekday evenings; some groups meet on Saturdays or Sunday; some groups meet on weekday mornings. Covenant groups may hold their meetings either at the church or in the homes of members of the group.
How many people from First Unitarian Church are members of covenant groups?
Approximately one hundred and sixty members and friends of First Unitarian Church currently participate in seventeen different covenant groups.
How long do covenant groups last?
Some groups have been meeting for more than ten years. Other groups have met for a year or two and then disbanded as members of the group moved on to other ways of being involved with the church. We ask that members of new covenant groups commit to meeting for one year.
Why the name “covenant groups”?
Members of each covenant group interact with one another in ways that reflect the principles -- or covenant -- of the Unitarian Universalist Association: honoring the inherent worth and dignity of one another; promoting justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; encouraging one another to spiritual growth; and so on. In addition, members of each covenant group make a commitment to attend meetings regularly, to maintain a measure of confidentiality, and to respect the experiences, conclusions, and growth of all members of the group.
Do covenant groups do anything other than meet?
We ask that each covenant group engage in some sort of community service project at least once each year. This could be something to help our church, or it could be something to help the larger community. (See below!)
How do I become part of a covenant group?
If you decide that you would indeed like to become part of a covenant group, you may sign up below so that you can be placed in a group. Alternatively, you may register by contacting Program Assistant Marlee Keffer at 412/621-8008, extension 107, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Service Projects
As stated above, we ask covenant groups to engage in a community service project at least once each year. Your service project could be directed toward First Unitarian Church or toward the larger community. Here are some examples and possibilities:
--For the past several years, Covenant Group 2 has prepared and served a simple meal of soup and bread on the three December Sundays when the Alternative Gift Market is open.
--With the assistance of a staff member of the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, one of our covenant groups planted a tree in Frick Park.
--Several covenant group have prepared and served a meal on the first Sunday of the month for the East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) Homeless Shelter. You can learn more about EECM here: http://www.eecm.org/ Please contact Mary Dension at email@example.com if your covenant group would like to work out a date to do this.
--Your covenant group could attend the 2015 Public Action of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN) on Wednesday, November 18. The Public Action begins at 7:00 PM and concludes at 8:30 PM, so this is not a lengthy project. If your covenant group would like to do this, please have each person in your group register here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044bada62ca75-piin1
Has your covenant group engaged in a service project that you would like to let others know about? If so, please contact Rev. David Herndon at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can include your idea here.
Learn about the Unitarian Universalist Small Group Ministry Network.