Sharing Experiences

Ellin SnowBuilding a Community

Covenant Groups started at EUUC in the fall of 2003. On January 11, 2004, Rev. Ed Brock dedicated the service to community building efforts at EUUC. He asked facilitators and covenant group members to share their experiences with these small groups. Below are memorable quotes from what was presented that day.

Kwami Nyamidie, seminary student, first leader and founder of EUUC covenant groups

“What we found is that the way of the future in church growth and religious relevance lies with the church that becomes interested in its members as individuals.”

Malinda Pryde

“I believe that the members of our group have found a place where we can, in complete confidence, discuss concerns about our lives, our spirituality, and our world. A place where we can both give, and receive, support from other members who have quickly grown from acquaintances to friends.”

Candace BelAir, covenant group facilitator

“We are a diverse group: ranging from a 25 year old female ensign in the Navy, to an 88-year-old nationally recognized leader in establishing hiking trails in the US.... and in between those ends of the age spectrum, we've got two pilots, an artist, a trainer in diversity and sexual harassment, and a communications consultant. From the group's varied life experiences, and their sharing of lessons learned, I've gained WISDOM.”

Rebecca Lee, covenant group co-facilitator

“Somehow with the covenant group I feel more grounded at EUUC and feel like I have a part in what happens here. I feel more like it is my church, instead of just the church that I attend. I also love having this group to invite other people to.”

John Tucker, covenant group facilitator

“As we get to know each other better, we share more and more of our deep feelings and life-shaping experiences. The layers of protective veneer are slowly worn away, revealing the beauty of the intricate details underneath. The casual conversation between services just cannot be compared to the substance of meaningful discussion in a covenant group. I feel honored that the members of my group share the treasures of their soul and their memory with me, and I always look forward to the next meeting. I leave each meeting with a renewed appreciation for life.”

Paula Bentz, co-facilitator

“The covenant groups are structured in a way that puts that value into practice. Each covenant group is open to including new people. The process encourages new membership and this enriches the process and experience for the existing members. Each Covenant group includes an empty chair that the next newcomer will occupy.”

Laurienne Moss, facilitator

“In this busy and complicated world and particularly for me without a regular, deep human connection, I can spin out of control in a sea of self-doubt and emotional pain...I now have a group of beautiful women who have the wisdom, willingness to share their love and concern for me. A Covenant Group offers a kind of connection, and a centrifugal centering for its members that can only occur in groups.”

Ellin Snow

“Having recently begun attending services at EUUC, I realized that I wanted a smaller group within the congregation in order to truly get to know people and to begin to learn more about the Unitarian/Universalist themes. The very first session proved to me that the Covenant Group format was an excellent vehicle to fill that need. In a mere two hours, I felt a warmth, acceptance and connection that helped me to know I was in the right place. We are a mixed bunch (genders, ages, backgrounds, even species (we had a lovely guide dog at our last session) and there seems to be an openness to both the material presented and to one another. I like the intellectual challenge as well as the emotional bonds which are forming”

Marilyn Warner

“I enjoy volunteering for various activities which promote the ideals and work of a liberal church. I joined a Covenant Group to experience deep connections with some of my fellow EUUCers. Getting to know people on a more intimate basis is a way to feed my soul.”

Nevada Kennedy

“My covenant group has helped me gain a greater understanding for my family, my colleagues at work and myself.”

Betty Davis, assistant facilitator

“My covenant group has helped me improve my listening skills.”

Virginia Miller, host

“My covenant group has helped me find friends that are more precious to me than diamonds.”