God seems rather fond of making covenants. We find evidence of this divine habit in creation itself, in ancient Israel’s formation and its journeys, in Jesus, in baptism and in ordination. God reveals a desire to promote chosen, loving relationships with us shaped by a common vision and values. As we strive to live out these covenants, God moves us to make covenants with one another: in marriage, in religious orders and through ministry covenants.
In a ministry covenant, three parties from the entire community of the baptized – bishop, clergy and people – deepen and strengthen their partnership in ministry. Through an intentional covenant, we are reminded that our partnerships are mutual and ongoing. We name particular vision-shaped, missional aspirations. We identify specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based (SMART) strategies for pursuing our goals. We express our mutual expectations. We plan for times and ways to review, renew and redevelop our partnership. Typically, ministry covenants in the Diocese of Niagara are undertaken with the convictions that we are at our best when united in ministry, when moved to genuine encounters with our neighbours and when serving God’s mission in the world. They lead us not only to strengthen our partnerships in the church, but discover the blessing of surprising new partners for God’s justice, peace and healing in the wider community.