Covenant groups are for meaningful connections between up to 10 people.
Purpose: to bring members into right relationship with each other and with the larger world; to come together to share, develop friendships, and serve the larger community.
What are Covenant Groups? Small groups of up to 10 people who meet twice a month to establish and nurture themselves in community.
What happens at a Covenant Group meeting?
- About five minutes of people getting situated.
- Short reading or centering
- Check-in: 45 minutes of sharing what is going on in your life; an opportunity to share for about 4 minutes, without interruption; then, maybe 10-15 minutes of follow up conversation.
- A topic intended to promote reflective adult conversation (either introduced by the facilitator or material provided at the previous session) is the material for an hour of reflection. Topics are related to everyday life questions much like those raised by a good Sunday service.
- A check-out: Chance to share what they liked about the meeting and what they wish it could have been.
- Closing words or music.
Who leads the group? Trained facilitators will make sure group meetings begin and end on time, and that the group establishes a covenant of behavior. All group members share the privilege and responsibility for helping the group function.
Who are the facilitators? They are UCE members who have participated in covenant groups, have committed and been trained to facilitate these groups.
Where will the groups meet? Usually at the church, but sometimes at members’ homes.
When will the groups meet? Long term groups meet once a month. When participants enroll, they select a regular time slot from among the current options. Occasionally we offer 6-month Covenant Groups, which meet twice a month for two hours at a time.
Can couples be in the same group? That’s up to the couple. It is generally not recommended but it is not prohibited.
Will child-care be available? As needed, on site, at cost to CGM participants.
What is the commitment? Most groups meet on an on-going basis although you need not commit to meeting with the group forever. It is recommended that you try a group for 4-6 months before deciding whether it is right for you. Occasionally we begin a 6-month covenant group, which can lead to an ongoing group if the participants decide. The ongoing groups meet usually for 2 hours once a month, and most often at church. Starting and ending each group on time is an important aspect to developing trust and fostering a feeling of safety. While absences are sometimes unavoidable, covenant means we make the group a priority in our lives and do our best to attend each session. Each group covenants to do at least one service project of their choice for the church or larger community at least once a year.
Where can I learn more about covenant groups? Contact Rev. Eileen Wiviott at [email protected] or 847-864-1330 x111. More than 100 people have participated in ongoing Covenant Groups since 2002; ask around and chances are good you’ll meet someone who’s been in a Covenant Group.
You can also sign up at the Guest & Member Services table in the lobby.
Here are the monthly themes covenant groups are invited to explore: