“People come to church longing for, yearning for, hoping for … a sense of roots, place, belonging, sharing and caring. People come to a church with a search for community, not committee.” — Glenn Turner
A different way of doing church
Covenant Groups are groups of six to eight people that meet monthly to deepen relationships, share about the real stuff, and spend some sacred time together. The groups deepen and broaden personal spiritual growth. The goals are to:
- Listen and be listened to in a safe place
- Learn about the mysteries of our world and our spiritual paths
- Build new and deeper personal connections
- Serve our community and the needs of one another
- Maintain personal connections and a caring community
How can you join a group?
Covenant Groups form in the Fall and meet monthly for eight months. Each group has two facilitators who work together to select topics (e.g. courage, loss, grace, joy). During the group time, facilitators offer “prompts” in the form of questions that group members respond to while practicing deep listening. Here’s a brochure (PDF, 156 KB) with more information and an application. Interested in joining? Email our church office.
Goals of Covenant Groups
There are five components to our Covenant Groups program, designed to deepen and broaden personal spiritual growth:
- Listening: Deep listening is gift for both the speaker and the listener. A connection forms when we share and give this gift to each other.
- Worship: Worship is central to the life of our congregation. Covenant Groups augment and strengthen our shared experience.
- Community: Covenant Groups meet the need for connection and intimacy that is both a hunger in our society and essential to the ongoing life of a religious community.
- Learning: People come to the church seeking spiritual growth, seeking to know themselves better, to grow into their understanding of the world and to ponder the age old questions of faith: how to live, what to believe, how to act, what meanings we can decipher from the mystery of life.
- Service: As human beings we seek to be of use and service. Each Covenant Group decides on a service project that can be completed together.
How do Covenant Groups work?
Ministry happens in the meetings, which focus on spiritual or religious topics through a process of deep listening and service projects. Topics that may be shared during meetings include: sacred places, perfection, mothers, community, living simply, music, and healing. Groups choose their own order, direction and pace. Service projects are expected from each group once a year. In general, projects tend to be ones that serve the church community or the local community, but they can be larger projects that reach beyond our church community.
What is expected of members?
Group members are expected to commit to regular meeting times and to practice deep listening. Deep listening is a way of focusing intently on what another person is saying without interruption or simultaneously formulating a response. Deep listening also gives an individual an opportunity to speak without interruption or comment.
What are Covenant Group sessions like?
- Opening Words: Gathering in, settling down, reminding participants of the special opportunity of the gathering, possibly reflecting the topic of the session. The meeting may begin with the lighting of a candle or a chalice.
- Check-In: Participants share news of what has been happening in their lives. Each group develops its own customs as to the length of sharing. This portion of the meeting may expand from time to time when circumstances call for it.
- Topic/Discussion: A paragraph or two lays out a topic and presents questions that will elicit thoughtful discussion and significant reflection. A group may stay with a topic several weeks or be done in one evening.
- Check-Out: Likes and Wishes: This is an opportunity for feedback.
- Closing Words: This brings the formal session to and end. Groups are encouraged to start and end on time.