In April 2007, the community decided to embrace a concept known as "Covenant Groups" or "Small Group Ministry" in other UU congregations, which came directly out of the feedback from the January forum on Congregational Paganism.
Here are the guidelines that were agreed upon:
Covenant groups are groups formed to meet a spiritual, social, or recreational need among the membership of Gaia Community which is not generally addressed by the Sunday service. Covenant groups could form for any number of purposes, including but not limited to: study and/or practice of a particular religious, spiritual, or magical tradition; social contact and discussion of similar life experiences; pursuit of recreational activities in a sacred context, and so on.
A covenant group must be organized by a Full Active Member of Gaia Community. This convener would be responsible for performing administrative duties related to the group, including acting as a liaison between Gaia Community and the group, ensuring that the group met often enough to serve its needs, overseeing the creation of the group's covenant, scheduling any time that the group would use Gaia Community's leased facilities, and so on. The convener would also be responsible for notifying the Committee of the Whole in the event of a covenant group's dissolution. In addition to the convener, at least 50% of the membership of a covenant group must be Full Active Members of Gaia Community.
Membership in a covenant group would be limited to those people willing and able to agree to the group's covenant, a document which describes the purpose and function of the group, lists any requirements for membership, sets out any financial expectation placed upon group members, and includes any other information that prospective new group members would need to know before joining the group. In addition, the covenant must include a statement that the group will affirm and promote the Unitarian Universalist Principles and Purposes.
Responsibilities of Covenant Groups:
- To draft a covenant, as described above.
- To present their covenant to the Committee of the Whole at a regularly scheduled Ritual for Business, and have that body review and approve the covenant.
- To present the covenant to each prospective group member for review, and to have each new group member sign in agreement.
- To meet regularly enough to serve the needs of the group.
- To contribute to the welfare of Gaia Community. The recommendation is that groups take an offering at their group meetings and share that income with the Community, but other forms of contribution would also be welcomed.
- To review their covenant annually and participate in an annual 'check-in' with the Committee of the Whole at the March Ritual for Business.
- To conduct their business in a way that is consistent with their covenant.
Responsibilities of Gaia Community to Covenant Groups:
- To offer space on the website, in the Earth Healer, on the gaiauu e-mail list, and in the weekly printed announcements to covenant groups to promote their work.
- To offer meeting space to covenant groups where allowed by Gaia Community's lease agreement.
- To provide the opportunity to covenant groups focused on spiritual or magical practice to present Sunday services, in partnership with Gaia Community's ritual teams.
So far, these covenant groups have been approved by the Committee of the Whole:
The Twigs and Berries Covenant Group is open to anyone who identifies themselves as male, whether they are a member of Gaia Community or not.
The group meets irregularly (approximately once a month). During the warmer months, we like to go camping or get outdoors, if possible.
As of September 2009, this group is on hiatus.
Contact Jeff Park or Brian for more information.
The Women's Full Moon Covenant Group plans and conducts Full Moon rituals on the Saturday closest to the Full Moon, to celebrate the goddess both within and without. These rituals are open to all women in the general community regardless of spiritual or religious preference. We consider a woman to be one who is at least 13 years old, one who has achieved menarche, and one who has the interest and maturity needed to attend a formal ritual. In addition, transwomen are welcome.
These rituals are offered to foster an opportunity for women of different faiths and paths to share spiritual community. Membership is open to any women who have an interest in creating rituals for the greater community. There is no fee charged for attending a ritual or joining the covenant group. Ritualist experience is not necessary to join the covenant group. Love offerings to help defray expenses are appreciated.
Please check their calendar on Meetup.com for more specifics about upcoming rituals, or for more information about the Full Moon Covenant Group, contact Kate Miller or Linda Boyce.
As of July 2012, this group is on hiatus.
The Sacred Crafting group meets approximately once a month in members' homes to work on arts and crafts projects in a setting which honors deities and powers associated with the arts of making. It is an outgrowth of the old Craft Circle event that Gaia Community held in years past.
Membership is open to anyone who wishes to join us and work on a craft. Meetings are typically held on the first Saturday of the month, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Please check the calendar for the specifics of this month's meeting, though, because meeting dates and times are subject to change based on the needs of the group and the activity we're working with.
Craft Circle Covenant
Proposed 14 November 2009 at Ritual for Business
Consensed upon 14 November 2009
We, the members of the Craft Circle Covenant Group, agree to the following:
to meet on the first Saturday of each month,
to welcome all who wish to attend, and
to both model and teach a variety of crafts.
Additionally, we recognize our connection to Gaia Community as a covenant group with all the responsibilities and privileges that entails, specifically:
the right to publish meetings via standard Gaia Community communications channels,
the right to offer to teach classes in our crafts at Sunday services, and
the duty to offer goods as a donation for fundraisers.
(initial covenant group members)
*indicates Gaia Community membership
Religions of Kansas City is a Covenant Group that wishes to explore the other, non-pagan religious faiths popular in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.
At this time (September 2009) they are not meeting regularly, but if you would like to join up or have ideas for what they can do, talk to Lizzy.