Weaving a Tapestry

Covenant Groups

Covenant Groups are small groups that meet for a specific purpose. They share the following characteristics:

  • Size: Groups can be up to 12 people.
  • Frequency: At least once a month.
  • Format: Covenant Groups begin with centering, generally in the form of a reading and chalice lighting, followed by check-in. During check-in each person has a chance to speak briefly about his or her day, week, or situation in life at that moment. Following check-in, the business or function of the group begins. Shortly before closing time each person is asked to say, in a word or phrase, how he or she is feeling as the meeting closes. There is a brief closing, and the chalice is extinguished.
  • Leadership: Each Covenant group is led by a person who facilitates the functioning of the group. The Facilitator should be assisted by a Co-Facilitator or Assistant Facilitator.
  • Covenants: Each group defines how the members intend to relate to each other and how they, as a group, will serve their church. Click here for a sample Covenant Group Covenant.
  • During meetings, one chair is intentionally left empty to symbolize that newcomers are always welcome.
  • After startup, the membership of some Tapestry Covenant Groups become closed for a predetermined period of time. This helps builds group cohesion, fosters trust, and creates space for deeper, more meaningful discussions. Then, usually once a year, groups reopen to new members, and new groups can be formed.

Covenant groups are a form of extended ministry that help meet two fundamental needs:

  • People come to church to be lifted out of the ordinary, to be drawn up from the mundane, and to seek relief from the omnipresent materialism of our culture.
  • People, living in our society of frequent re-locations and diminished family support, come to our church to find friends, community, "a place where everybody knows your name."

Covenant groups provide for both of these needs in ways that our Sunday services, coffee hours, committee meetings and other gatherings cannot.

The following groups are currently accepting new members:

  • Big Questions, Deep Listening Covenant Group
  • Cooking Covenant Group
  • Gardening Covenant Group

The Women Aligned Spirituality Group is currently closed, but it may open again to new members next summer.

For more information, email sgmt@uutapestry.org.

Got an idea for a group?

Want to facilitate a group? (We'll provide training.) Let us know at sgmt@uutapestry.org!

What Covenant Groups Do

Here are some videos describing what Covenant Groups do:

Big Questions, Deep Listening Covenant Group:

Cooking Covenant Group:

Big Questions/Deep Listening Covenant Group

What kind of questions does the Big Questions Deep Listening CG discuss? Here are the questions we posed in 2022:

  • 1/9/22: How has the pandemic changed our lives? What has changed for each of us personally — what we've lost and what we've gained?
  • 1/23: What would you tell your childhood self?
  • 2/13: Does language affect how we see the world? Are people defined by the culture they grow up in? What is the real impact of our ancestry?
  • 2/27: In light of Covid causing supply chain issues and now the Ukraine conflict may cause further constraints. What can we do to minimize the stress of shortage of inventory for the next year?
  • 3/13: Deep questions about Russia's war on Ukraine
  • 3/27: Does the education system in the United States work well, and if not, what are the problems and what can be done to improve it?
  • 4/10: What are co-ops and why do we need them?
  • 4/24: What You Gain from Listening
  • 5/8: What has been your experience with aging over the past decade of your life? What surprises has it held? What frightens you about aging? What comforts you?
  • 5/29: What are the ramifications of artificial intelligence enabled video surveillance as applied to law enforcement (e.g., good, bad, indifferent)?
  • 6/26: How can we create a sense of community without having special occasions - good or bad?
  • 7/10: Aging and Ageless, the current research, the promise and implications for longer life (largely) free of ageing effects, and related issues.
  • 7/31: How would you improve the earth, if you won the Lottery?
  • 8/14: What is church good for, or why do we attend church? What could or should church be? What’s wrong with US religions?
  • 8/28: What is beauty? What are the things you find most beautiful/awe-inspiring? In what way do they affect your life? Is there a dark side to beauty and/or the pursuit of it? How can we draw more beauty into our lives?
  • 9/11: Is free will an illusion? And, if it is, what are the implications for us, for society, and for criminal justice?
  • 9/25: Happiness. What is it? What does it mean to you? How do you obtain/maintain it? What ruins it?
  • 10/9: Small turnout, general discussion
  • 10/30: Socrates said that an “unexamined life is not worth living.” What did he mean by that? How do we examine our life? What are the issues? Possible alternatives?
  • 11/13: How do we best return our democracy to the way it was meant to run, rule/govern for the vast majority of Americans (while protecting the rights of the minority)
  • 11/27: Should the UU denomination, and the UU Tapestry Church in particular, be more evangelical, in the sense of being more zealous in advocating itself and the UU beliefs? Why or why not? And, if yes, then how exactly?
  • 12/11: How do we, in this age of consumerism, show or love and affection without breaking the bank?
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