Covenant Writing - Download Form
Reflections for Writing Covenants
Why do we write covenants? The purpose of the covenant system is to allow us to function as an intentional community of people who are serious about following Christ In the Congregational tradition, which is our heritage, responsibility for faith (what we believe) and practice (what we do about what we believe) rests upon each individual member. We do not depend upon a priesthood, upon any governing body of the Church, or upon creeds established and handed down from the past: we are each responsible for the ongoing life and witness of our Christian Pilgrimage. This personal responsibility gives us enormous freedom. It also requires our attention to guard against the temptations of pride and sloth that go with freedom.
Our tradition also reminds us that no individual can walk the Pilgrimage alone or discover very much of the path without borrowing heavily and gratefully from the experiences and insights of others. While we claim our freedom and responsibility in the United Church of Christ, our hope is that we and our fellow pilgrims will choose humility and diligence in our freedom, and that we will study, pray and act in a manner worthy of our faith.
To become a member of this congregation, one composes and submits a personal, private covenant. To remain a member, one revises and resubmits his or her own covenant each year. It is specifically intended that each member assume responsibility for his or her own theology, discipline (way of life) and support (time and money given to the church). Because we are pilgrims and imperfect, our covenant will have errors large and small, and we will not keep our covenant as perfectly as we would like. But together, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will fill each other's weak spots and keep growing. The power of the covenant is both in individual commitment as a faithful response to God, and in the gathering of individuals who have prayerfully considered their own spiritual growth, their commitment to this faith community and to our Lord .
Who reads your covenant? Covenants are read by one of the Ministers and one designated member of the Diaconate (Board of Deacons). Financial information is given to the Financial Secretary, and information regarding willingness to serve is given to the Nominating Committee. Essentially, covenants are between each individual and God, regarding each person's intentions and commitments toward the church.
How to write a covenant? Think, pray and decide what you want to do (or not do) in the year ahead and write that in your covenant. As faith family, we affirm that a meaningful covenant includes consideration of the following areas of Christian life: l) Tithe or a financial pledge to the church;
2) Service to the life of the church, which may include service as an officer on boards or committees, or in any area of church life where you feel called to serve. (Suggested areas of service are enclosed. You may attached it to your covenant for your convenience.) 3) Evangelism, or the responsibility to extend Christ's invitation to those currently outside the fellowship of Christians;
4) Personal growth and continued awakening to the Presence of God; 5) Participation in worship services, study groups, retreats, workshops and in other gatherings of the church community. Pray about these basic areas of commitment and incorporate the essence of your understanding of how you will perform them into your covenant.
Covenants vary in length from a sentence or two to several pages. Some people put down a few words that remind them of all they have pondered and prayed over. Most people discover that the more clearly they write out their covenant, the more they themselves enter into and benefit from the church-both spiritually and relationally.
A covenant form may be downloaded using the link at the top of this page, although you may use your own format instead. When you are satisfied with your covenant, sign it, put it in a sealed envelope and write "COVENANT" on the outside, and turn it into the offering plate at worship service or into the church office. Covenants may be turned in at any time, though generally the process takes place in November of each year.