Another year in the life of our faith community formally began with our Water Ceremony earlier this month.
And our theme for September is covenant. So what better time to talk about some changes to the format of our congregation’s Covenant Groups. For 13 years now, we have had a number of groups meeting twice a month from October through May or June (and some continuing informally through the summer months). Our covenant groups are places were seven to ten people gather to share their reflections with one another on some of the questions and challenges of our lives. They are places to build trust and get to know, often deeply, other members of our community.
These are not, however, discussion groups. Over the years, a number of people have hoped they would be, but they are not. These are places where the participants practice their listening skills together. Listening for what others say and do not say. Listening to what we, ourselves, share with the others sitting around the circle. (Those who are looking for discussion groups will find them elsewhere in our Adult Programs catalog.)
Covenant Groups, and others like them in other congregations have been called places of intimacy and ultimacy; a description that may not roll of the tongue, but it certainly true.
This year, in addition to a few groups what will keep our previous format, we’ll be forming groups that pick up where our Path to Membership classes leave off. These groups will not meet for as long, but they will provide a means for newcomers to our community to get to know both each other and the congregation more fully.
At the same time, if you have been wondering about being part of a covenant group, but have been worried about the time commitment, look into signing up for one of these shorter, three months long, groups. They will provide a great opportunity for you to meet great newcomers and see if a longer covenant group might be for you.