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.
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.