As I write this, we are just a month into a new interim ministry here at Emerson and a few days past the annual Homecoming Sunday service during which we entered into a new covenantal relationship. For those of you who might have missed that service or who might like to revisit our covenant, I am reprinting it here, with deep appreciation to the Rev. Barbara Child who wrote the covenant in its original form and then gave permission to UU interim ministers and congregations to use both widely and freely.
President: Will you all please rise in body or spirit and enter into this covenant together with the Rev. Michelle LaGrave, our Interim Minister.
Congregation: We welcome you as our partner in ministry this interim year, at the threshold of our brief journey together. We will use our hands and hearts, our vision and voices, to help and not to harm this beloved community through this time of transition.
Interim Minister: I too will use my hands and heart, my vision and voice, to help and not to harm your beloved community through this time of transition.
Congregation: We will share our portions of truth with you, and will listen deeply to what you say, that we may grow in understanding.
Interim Minister: I too will share my portions of truth with you, and will listen deeply to what you say, that I may grow in understanding.
Congregation: We will dare to disagree agreeably with you, to dream what we may become, and to venture down some untried paths as we make ready for new called ministry to this Congregation.
Interim Minister: I will dare to speak hard truths to you as best I can discern them, to hold up a mirror so you can see your past and present clearly, and to make some empty space here for the new to enter in.
President: In this brief and precious time –
All: May we be a blessing to each other, and may we be a blessing to the world.
During the message which immediately preceded our entering into this covenant, I articulated the expectation that we will begin this new ministry with integrity, thoughtfulness, love, and intentionality about how we will be together in this spiritual and philosophical home; a home, a community, that is both temporary and permanent. And, so, we have. As Unitarian Universalists, we are a covenantal faith. That means we make agreements about how to be together, not about what to think or believe. We agree about how to behave, about how to be in right relationship with each other, and… we call our highest ideals, that is whatever we individually consider to be of ultimate worth, to witness to our agreements, our covenants. None of us will be perfect in living out this covenant, for we are all human, but it will serve as a home base, a place to which we can return when we fall short. This beloved home, this community, is the place where we practice growing. Together, we will grow – we are already growing, in love, and in trust, and in faithfulness. So have we begun and so shall we continue.
In Love and Faithfulness,