Covenants are agreements between two or more persons to do or not do something specified. In a religious context, a covenant is a solemn agreement between the members of a church to act together in harmony with the precepts of the faith tradition. Covenants are not restrictive in the sense that they require a binding pledge from persons. Instead, they are premised on mutual understanding, respect, and resolve.
Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven Principles which are held as strong values and moral guides. These Principles are lived out in daily life as it were within a "living tradition" of wisdom and spirituality drawn from many diverse sources. The 7 Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist communities. Within each UU church or fellowship, these Principles might appear in print or mounted on the wall. The text wherever it might appear or however it might be used by each congregation reads:
WE, THE MEMBER CONGREGATIONS OF THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION, COVENANT TO AFFIRM AND PROMOTE:
|Principle 1:||The inherent worth and dignity of every person;|
|Principle 2:||Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;|
|Principle 3:||Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;|
|Principle 4:||A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;|
|Principle 5:||The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;|
|Principle 6:||The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;|
|Principle 7:||Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part;|
There is a wealth of literature and information in various media available on the study of Unitarian Universalism. Some key aspects for those new to this non-new faith tradition are that Unitarianism believes in the Unity of God and embraces the truths of other faith traditions. Universalists believe in the Oneness of an all-loving God. Both Unitarianism and Universalism can be considered liberal, progressive and inclusive. Churches and fellowships are places where people can embrace their spirituality regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious belief.
Unitarian Universalists do not hold to a formal creed. They come from a wide variety of spiritual paths and are attracted by the liberal values and the freedom from doctrinaire mandates. More often than not, UU congregations are actively involved in social issues striving to work to serve the common good.
Eldorado Universalist Church is very much in the Unitarian Universalist frame of mind but it is unique in the respect that is in a minority of contemporary UU churches and fellowships with Universalist roots. The ability to retain our historical Universalist identity while concurrently advocating for UU tenets and principles is a testimony to balance.
The phrase "build your own theology" is sometimes mentioned in UUA literature and discussed within UU churches. In essence, it is the practical application of the 4th Principle: "a free and responsible search for truth and meaning." That principle means that it is our individual choice and responsibility to determine our own personal, ethical, moral and spiritual growth. No one does it to us and no one can do it for us. We are not told how or what to think. That is an election we make on our own. We individually are the builders of our own unique theology. That building process takes time. Such labor might find outward expression in service to the community, through our employment, or simply in our relationships with others who are part of our lives. Building our own theology might also be unseen and unvoiced labor conducted in the quiet.
Whether alone or in the community of others, we covenant together. During worship at Eldorado Universalist Church, we recite together the following affirmation as a reminder of our covenantal relationships:
Love is the doctrine of this church,
The quest for truth is its sacrament,
And service is its prayer,
To dwell together in peace,
To serve human need,
To the end that all souls shall grow into harmony with the Divine.
Thus do we convenant with each other and with God.
If you are looking for a church where you might find acceptance in your freedom to build your own theology and covenant with others of like mind in your journey, you are most welcome here.