Covenant groups meet to explore and support each others’ spiritual development as well as to build friendships and a deeper sense of closeness within the congregation. A structured discussion process ensures that everyone has a chance to participate. A Covenant Group is a small group of 8 to 10 people from our congregation who agree to meet two times each month from October through April to:
- Form deeper, more intimate relationships
- Share spiritual struggles and growth
- Deepen religious commitment
- Support and minister to each other
Whether the topic is “good and evil,” “mindful living,” or “letting go,” the conversation is respectful and caring and leads to greater under-standing. In each session, facilitated by a member of the congregation, all participants have opportunity to share their perspectives, tell their stories, and listen deeply. The time together is structured: Groups begin and end with centering readings and often include a time of silence before the sharing begins. Many groups engage in annual service projects, putting their faith into action.
To sign up for a Covenant Group, please complete the Covenant Group Registration Form.
Most groups begin in the fall, and new groups will be formed throughout the year as needed. Ask Cathey Polly, the Covenant Group Registrar, for more information.
What Covenant Groups Mean to Me
“In these small gatherings, with a simple format that encourages trust, we share joys and sorrows in a context that deepens dialogue and encourages growth. Friendships that start in covenant groups can last forever—and topics take conversation to amazing places! It’s wonderful to get to know people over time, in a space quieter than church itself. Covenant groups are the heart of this community, and I can’t imaging my life at TJMC without them.” —Laura W.
How Is A Covenant Group Different From Other Small Group Activities?
Covenant groups prove meaningful and satisfying for some and not as well for others. Key to the covenant group experience is having a clear expectation of what a covenant group is and is not. Covenant groups provide a space for:
- An exchange of ideas (but are not discussion groups)
- Meaningful relationships (but are not support groups)
- Spiritual sharing (but are not a formal worship experience)
- Socializing (but are intended as more, as a space for reaching a deeper understanding of ourselves, our church and our world)
What Happens During A Covenant Group Meeting?
Every Covenant Group agrees on its own format and rituals. Generally, meetings include:
- Opening words/ritual, usually a chalice lighting
- Check-in time for each person to share, uninterrupted, how they are
- Reading on topic of the session
- Sharing responses to questions on the chosen topic
- Check-out time for sharing parting thoughts (Likes and Wishes)
- Closing words or ritual
Covenant Group Steering Committee
The Covenant Group Steering Committee helps coordinate, evaluate and promote the activities of covenant groups within TJMC-UU. Contact one of us to learn more about covenant groups.