Albany UU Covenant

Congregational Covenant

At the request of the Board of Trustees, for the past three years the Congregational Covenant Team has been working on a covenant for our congregation.  The members of the Team are Dick Dana, Brian Frank, Jan McCracken, Patti Jo Newell, Leah Purcell, Kelly Smith, and Sam Trumbore.  We also want to lift up others who helped us with this process:  Reese Satin, Zack Metzger, and Jacqui Williams. 

The result of that effort is the following covenant:

“COVENANT INTRODUCTION:  Our ‘living tradition’ calls us to be in covenant.  For Unitarian Universalists, a congregational covenant reflects our aspirations and commitments to one another and to ourselves.  In a covenantal community, each of us is empowered and has the responsibility to help one another as we seek to create a loving, supportive, and affirming community in which to grow in spirit and service.

COVENANT:  As a congregation with respect for our past and commitment to the future,
we draw from the depth and power of our hearts and minds,
guided by our Unitarian Universalist principles, to serve our mission and vision.
We celebrate the diversity of our identities and experiences,
and foster a culture of appreciation, inspiration, and kindness.
We honor both the strength of the collective and uniqueness of the individual,
willing to support and challenge each other with love and compassion.
We entrust ourselves to each other in beloved community,
to embolden personal and congregational growth and transformation.”


For a chronology of Covenant Team events and milestones, click here.

For more information on what a covenant is, click here.

For an interesting article by one of our UU deep thinkers, Rev. Sue Phillips, “On Covenant” click here.

For answers to the question “why do we need a covenant?” go to remarks by our president Patti Jo Newell, plus a compilation of reasons by the Congregational Covenant Team here.

For a discussion of the difference between a covenant and a creed by Rev. Lisa Ward, plus definitions of Vision, Strategic Plan, Mission Statement and Beloved Community, click here.

For examples of covenants used here at Albany UU by the Religious Education Council, Albany UU staff, our Board of Trustees and others, click here.

For examples of covenants used by our neighboring UU congregations, click here.

For a copy of the Team’s 2018 survey of the congregation, click here.

For a summary of the results of the survey click here.

For detailed notes from the three Congregational conversations in early 2018 click here.

For the script of the 2017 covenant skit written by Patti Jo Newell and performed by Luchia and Michael Hornsby click here.


What is a covenant?  It’s a statement of identity, intended to remind us who we are collectively. A covenant grows from an affirmation of the needs, values, and principles we share, and the Vision that guides us into our future as a congregation. A covenant is a commitment that we make to ourselves as individuals, and to each other. A covenant helps us as a congregation to understand what our tradition calls us to be, and how to move into the future with shared purpose. A covenant speaks to how “We’re all in this together, building a better world.”

Before putting pen to paper, this team spent more than two years on a journey of discernment, researching covenant, and doing our best to express what the heart and soul of our community consists of.  

The writing was an iterative process.  After a draft was put together, we went back and checked it against all the comments received in the three congregational conversations and in the survey responses we received to keep on track with the desires of the congregation.

We are hoping that our covenant can be taken for what it is:  the work of a dedicated team who feels that what we have put together reflects who we are as a congregation, as well as who we aspire to be. 

Feel free to contact Covenant Team members individually with questions (see names above) or contact the whole Team by email using this address: