Now, there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God
who empowers them all in everyone.
I Corinthians 12:4-6
More About Covenants
From Bruce Van Blair
There is no such thing as a relationship without a covenant. And in our world, covenants must constantly be remembered, maintained, reworked, renewed…. Here at this church, we want renewal and the excitement of a more dynamic relationship with God. Renewal and growth seem appropriate to real life in Christ Jesus. God may have more plans for us than we know. Instead of everything locked up and tied down, we want a church willing and able to respond, to pray, to obey – to change our commitments and covenants to match where the Spirit is trying to lead us. So we have moved into patterns as old as the Bible itself, and the Bible is about covenants with God from one end to the other….
So you each get to write your own covenant, and the rest of us agree to accept whatever you write in your covenant each year. This keeps us in a faith family together, while giving each of us room to respond to the Holy Spirit to the best of our own individual awareness and ability to do so. If you are a visitor here, it really works that way here. If you write a covenant, you are a full member of this congregation as soon as you turn it in. You can serve anywhere in our structure – do as little or as much as you feel the Spirit is calling you to do – across the board. It really works that way here. We are a covenant people – an intentional congregation. You have only to work it. It all depends on your heart and mind – on your prayers. And because life is fluid, you are also able to change your covenant at any time. It is between you and God, even though we try to share the Path and the adventure together.
Bruce Van Blair, from his sermon “A Covenant People”
For more of Bruce’s thoughts on covenants and some history about our covenant process:
A Covenant People
From Our Bylaws
Each member’s Covenant shall be a statement of their desire to be a member of this Church, expressed in written form. Each member, each year, shall prayerfully consider his or her part in the life of this Church and renew or rewrite their Covenant. A Covenant may be as long or as short as a member desires. In their Covenant, a member may write declarations of intention concerning participation, service, financial contributions, exclusionary clauses, faith concerns, spiritual disciplines, areas of special interest, and anything else they wish to note and remember. No person need write in their Covenant anything they do not wish to write in their Covenant. Any member may revise or amend their Covenant at any time.
No person shall have the right to challenge or discredit another member’s Covenant. Each person submitting a Covenant shall instantly be a member of this Church in full standing on the basis of their Covenant. Each person shall review, renew, or revise their Covenant in October or November of each year, to take effect at the Annual Meeting in January of the following year.
Any person making a Covenant request to serve on any standing board or committee shall automatically become a member of that board or committee. They shall remain a member of that board or committee for as long as they wish to serve there. A person may additionally express in their Covenant a willingness to serve as chairperson of a board or committee or to serve as an officer of this Church, and the Church Council shall give the request careful consideration.
It is the intention of these bylaws to make it easy for our people to get to where they want to serve.
SUBMITTING THE COVENANT
Members shall submit their Covenants on or before Stewardship Sunday in October or November of each year. Stewardship Sunday shall be designated by the Diaconate and announced no later than four weeks before such designated date. Covenants are “the life blood” of the Congregation and shall be celebrated and honored as such. It shall be the responsibility of a designated Deacon to read all of the Covenants and to share the appropriate information from the Covenants with the Treasurer (or Financial Secretary) and with the Church Council.
All persons who have covenanted to be members for the coming year shall have their names placed on the membership roll as it is constituted on January 1 of each year.
Whenever a new member submits a Covenant, their name shall be added immediately to the membership roll of this Church.
Bylaws, adapted from excerpts from Articles 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5