We began our work in central North Carolina a few years ago, and now have multiple covenanted communities across the country. Many of them were started and are led by young adults that grew up in Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU), and have longed as adults for a similar small group- and justice-based expression of UUism. Because our communities do not exclusively identify as Unitarian Universalist, they are a means through which to bring friends old and new into that which has been life-giving for us. These communities are in complementary relationships with our existing congregations in a number of different ways. Here is a brief description of our model and the ways in which we practice interdependence and solidarity.
These covenanted communities use small groups to explore concepts of ultimacy and intimacy, thereby building trust and cohesion. They center around the accessible sharing of food and fellowship, and they regularly do the work of incarnating our values in the here and now. Much of our method is inspired by the histories of immigrant and black churches, which often not only sought to fulfill their members’ spiritual needs, but also served as mutual aid societies for fulfillment in other spheres of life.
In addition to these supports in life, our communities share a methodology or approach to social transformation and our spiritual practices of interdependence and solidarity. Just as our Congregationalist forbears before the American Revolution modeled what democratic communities could look like by making decisions themselves and electing their own leaders, so do we seek to create alternative institutions that model the sustainable, just, and peaceful world we want to live in. These covenanted communities can serve as a collaborating “hub” for the justice work of nearby congregations as we seek to build that world together. Read on for how to start—or support—a group in your area!