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A New Church Covenant

from Rev. Carol McVetty & the Pastoral Team, North Shore Baptist Church, Chicago, IL

In the spring of 2015, the Church Council of North Shore Baptist Church accepted a proposal from the Pastoral Team to engage in a process of writing and adopting a new covenant. North Shore, a multi-lingual and multicultural congregation, assembled a Writing Team to create from scratch a covenant that would be relevant and meaningful to every member at North Shore.

In the spring of 2015, the Church Council of North Shore Baptist Church accepted a proposal from the Pastoral Team to engage in a process of writing and adopting a new covenant. That fall, the Circles of Sharing (intercultural conversation groups) gathered some information from members of all four language groups to help in this project.

A Writing Team was selected for this work with the goal of presenting a draft covenant to the congregation at the Annual Meeting on May 15. The Writing Team includes members from all four language groups and members of the Pastor Team are also actively involved. The Writing Team members bring their thoughts and questions to other church members so that this covenant can truly be “home grown.”

North Shore sees this as an important project to take on especially as Baptists. From the beginning of the Baptist movement within Christianity, covenants have played an important role. Membership in a Baptist church has been based on a covenant, which states the ties that bind us in sacred community and shapes the direction and meaning of our life together.

In the English language group, the current covenant is reviewed with new members before they join. But the language of the current covenant is difficult and complex, even for those whose first language is English. This covenant is not for us a vital, living promise that describes or gives meaning to our life together today. Plus, with the various languages and cultures represented in the North Shore community, it is our hope that the covenant we write and adopt together will be translated effectively and have real meaning for every member of North Shore.


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