We are a community that gathers around shared values, and lives into those shared values through covenants. Covenants are living documents that reflect the promises we are making to each other about how we are going to be with each other. And, because of this, most of the covenants we make as Unitarian Universalists are behavioral.
We have a congregational covenant, for instance, spearheading by the Shared Ministry Team a few years ago. Copies of it are hanging in the sanctuary foyer and in the Pine Tree Room downstairs. We regularly enter into covenants as a congregation with people who are serving in key roles: our Board of Directors, our Faith Development guides, our Pastoral Care Associates. We also have covenants with the parents and guardians of the children in our community, when we dedicate ourselves to them, and with the folks who join our congregation as members. You entered into a covenant with me, as your minister, when I was installed last October. Covenants are about relationships, and relationships are key to who we are and the choices we make as UUs.
One of the aspects of covenant and responsibility that tends to go unspoken, however, is the covenants we enter into when the community invests significant resources in things like professional staff or owning a building. When a congregation decides it’s ready for a minister, faith development director, administrator, etc., part of that decision is entering into the covenant of being a fair and just employer. It’s yet another way that we live into our shared values, and this congregation is rightfully proud of how well it supports and cares for its staff through fair compensation, positive work environments, healthy boundaries around time off, and expressing appreciation.
In the same way, when a congregation decides to own a building instead of renting, we are also entering into a covenant of care and upkeep for the building, as it provides a safe and welcoming space for all of our ministries and also for people in our greater community. Not only do we offer a variety of opportunities to be together as a congregation in this building, in addition to Sunday mornings, but we are also, according to our numerous rentals clients one of the most welcoming and inclusive locations in Winnipeg in addition to being one of the most beautiful.
As you may have already heard through the grapevine, we are embarking on a capital campaign to raise funds for numerous timely and necessary building improvements. This is a common endeavour in congregations and communities when the time comes for a large-scale improvement and upgrade project. The funds that we all put into the capital campaign are going to provide the physical space in which our ministries with each other and with our larger communities will thrive. In my two years here, I have seen this congregation rise to the occasion numerous times, and I have no doubt that we shall do so again now.
In gratitude and faith,