Co-Presidents' Monthly Column

November 2019   



Stay at the Table:

Thanksgiving as Covenant      

Covenant can mean numerous things.

So can Thanksgiving.

Is sharing a meal around a Thanksgiving table a form of covenant?

In June of 2018 Liz Binger was stepping down as the President of the Board, but agreed to lead All Souls in a covenanting process across our congregational community. With the Capital Campaign and other changes looming, the Board agreed to put the process on hold until this year.

Coincidentally, the UUA New England Region staff started a learning community on the practice of covenanting. Liz, Reverend Carolyn, Board Secretary David Burnside, Ministerial Intern Ann Kadlecek, and I, are active participants along with four other UU Congregations. Moving forward this work will involve the entire congregation.

The word covenant can be defined in various ways. Is it referencing Abraham and God? Is it a real estate agreement?

I have heard definitions that defined it as “vow” and “promise”.

Here at All Souls, we will define it together.

But first, will you please pass the turkey?

And the arroz con gandules?

The what?

In this season of Thanksgiving, in the spirit of covenant, we need to stay at the table as we share new foods and new ideas. We need to stay at the table when someone wears a MAGA cap (but, I mean could you please remove your cap at dinner?) or asks for a revisit of pronouns when we communicate with each other. So let our Thanksgiving meal begin…

Please, pass the mashed potatoes.

What do you call these?

Brussel sprouts. Sauteed them in garlic and butter.

OK, I’ll try some.

I don’t eat meat, but I am happy to pass you the turkey. Do you really eat the neck?

Covenant can mean treating people with respectful empathy, it “liberates, enriches, deepens communal life” and brings us together.

That is the spirit of Thanksgiving, certainly the myth of the holiday: the version of indigenous folks and colonizers hanging out.

Pass the succotash, por favor.

Can we discuss discrimination based on sexuality or race? Or the caging of children who cross our border? Or the crass, nastiness of the Commander…

Whoops, better pass the cranberries.

Covenant does not mean sacrificing one’s core values. But it does require listening better, and not ‘otherizing’ others.

I look forward to All Souls working on the challenges of covenant, and covenanting. Stay tuned for details.

So, ready for pumpkin pie?

I prefer sweet potato pie.

Got it.

Check out this mince meat pie!



Maggie Clouet- Co president