A covenant is an agreement on how we will interact with each other or with God. There are many examples of covenants in the Bible. The rainbow symbolizes God’s covenant to never again send a flood to destroy the world. The Ten Commandments were the rules God asked his people to follow as a response to his love and protection. Jesus summarizes these rules as “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31). Another form of the second part is “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). This “Golden Rule” is found in many of the world’s religions. Although the summary of the law is simple in form, mankind has found it extraordinarily difficult to follow it in practice. The result is an expansion of this concept into may rules, laws and covenants. Perhaps this comes from the variety of human natures. One person may act as he would like another to act toward him, while the other person actually wants a different response. We all encounter this in our daily lives.
After our study of “Congregational Fitness: Healthy Practices for Layfolk” by Denise Goodman and our work with Susan Nienaber of the Alban Institute , the vestry agreed that a Covenant would be useful to remind us of our commitment to respond lovingly to each other. A dedicated committee created our first version. This was approved by the Vestry and was introduced to the congregation during the fall of 2014. It was agreed that we would use this for about a year and then modify it based on feedback and our experience with it. As a result of this experience, the vestry has approved a revised version. All committees are encouraged to begin (and end) their meetings with a prayer, and we suggest that they begin by also reading the Covenant and following its guidelines. We also urge all members to practice these guidelines in less formal discussions at Advent. Again, this is to be a living document and it will be revised as needed.
The current version is available on the Vestry page of the web site. We also have a link to the Advent Values that were used in creating the Covenant. The Values were generated from discussions with the congregation in 2007. We encourage you to review these values and to help us make sure we are living them in our lives together. You will also see a reference to a “Concerns Resolution Process.” This process was created to provide an appropriate way to resolve issues that are escalating in some way. It can also be reached from the Vestry page.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:4-5
To view Church of the Advent's Covenant and Values Statement, please click go to the Vestry page: Click on the Leadership tab and go down to Vestry- Thank you!