Covenant Vows for new and renewing members

A litany for worship

Background: Circle of Mercy Congregation has no indefinite members.
Each year, on the anniversary of our founding, both new and renewing members join
in a covenant reaffirming our vision and mission, on the first Sunday of Advent
(or second, if the first falls on Thanksgiving holiday weekend).


{Leader}  In this watchful season, we gather ’round the table of bounty to embrace newcomers to our Circle and to renew our covenant vows. To these new ones, we ask: Do you know where you are, what are you promising, and what is being promised to you?

{New Members}  What place is this? Remind us of what we need to know.

This is a sanctuary of refuge amid the empire of enmity. Here hungry ones find food, and proud ones are scattered. Here mountains are brought low and valleys are lifted up. Here mercy trumps vengeance, and the whole earth learns to magnify God. Do you wish to be here?

Yes, we do. We have heard of such a place, where cries can be made and are tenderly heard. Where good tidings are told. Where voices find strength and the Gentle Shepherd embraces all who approach.

Be clear before you speak. Are you prepared to love God more than breath itself? To follow Jesus as the Spirit gives you vision? Are you prepared to know and be known in this Circle of companions?

Yes, we are ready. And now are you also ready? You have come here before us. Does any special honor come from that?

No honor save one: Of welcoming you into this Circle. It isn’t always easy here. We share in the conflicts common to all creation. Sometimes the vision seems slow, and weariness overtakes us. But joy sustains, and grace is sufficient. Our guiding creed is the Rule of Mercy. To its Author alone do we pledge faithfulness.

Then let us announce our intent together:

{All together, in unison}

 The Spirit of the Lord is upon us, because God has anointed us to bring good news to the poor. God has sent us to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of Jubilee! Here we stand, together, servants of the One who turns us into friends. Here we stand, keeping watch, listening for the singing of angels, the approach of Magi, and the Advent of Hope Unbound.

Blessed One, who brings strength in the struggle for a new heaven and a new earth; who brings comfort when life unravels and hope is harsh; make us submissive in the manner of Mary. Give us wombs of welcome, for each other, for strangers in our path, even as for your Presence and Purpose. Let it be with us according to your word. Amen!

—written by Ken Sehested