For the period of one year commencing at Summer Solstice participants in Seeds groups covenant to:
- Live in close proximity to each other and to the poor.
- An ongoing conversation with each other shaped by the Seeds queries and advices around the themes of Know, Grow, Go.
- The embodiment and public expression of the Know, Grow, Go themes in our common life and in our locality.
- Share a meal together (at least monthly.)
- Mutual support of the Seeds Network by joining with other Seeds Groups for the purpose of Consecration and a Retreat Weekend.
Given the broad nature of the marks, the convenor/s of each group should initiate a process by which more specific commitments and agreed processes around these five marks are made clear amongst the local group before consecration.
Seeds are small. The present advices state that a mob should remain small (eg. 2-15) people in order to create the necessary balance of focus, flexibility and intimacy to express the Seeds charism. Whilst Jesus initiated a broad movement for social change he also named 12. Renewal has often been initiated by small groups of highly committed people. Whilst Seeds are small they contain powerful growth potential which is often realised in their death. The life of a Seeds group or the network itself should therefore never be assumed to be an ongoing institution.
On Onions and Soils.
Like good soil the Seeds charism is a gift and a resource. It is not owned by anyone and can abundantly resource many if the limitations of its depth and substance are respected by all.
The Seeds Covenant gives emphasis to the conversation and collective agreement of a group. Because of the relationship between the communal and the personal, the convenor/s should have a clear sense of the boundaries and processes of the local group and exactly who has covenanted together each year.
The embodiment and public expression of Seeds should provide many opportunities for a diverse range of people to become involved as participants, workers, volunteers and friends. These layers of involvement and relationship have sometimes been described as an onion. In order to clarify expectations, some groups may wish to name various levels of involvement that allow for lesser or greater commitments than those provided by the Seeds Covenant. Onions can be flavoursome, but they can also lead to tears.
The advices state that ‘there is room for the outsider’ and so it may be possible for certain individuals to be part of the covenant group whose circumstance mean they cannot covenant to certain key aspects of the five marks.
The convenor/s should take pastoral responsibility to clarify these boundaries with people. A tension with a small group of people is to not become exclusive. The group should seek to invite non-covenanted people to find ways to share in the spirit and local expression of Know, Grow, Go by either being welcomed to covenant to the group formally, or to support the expression of the charism at a different ‘layer of the onion,’ or beyond the group.
On yearly commitments and formation.
The Seeds Network has been created by people who have developed knowledge and trust based on living and working with each other around this charism over many years. It remains lightly structured in order to rely on these relationships as the basic foundation for the network and as an organic means for knowing, growing and going forward.
In light of this, people covenanting for the first time should have some kind of mentoring process shaped by the Seeds queries and advices around the themes of Know, Grow, Go. This could be internal or external (eg. spiritual director) and should be clarified with the convenor/s.
Finding ways to build the network of relationships across the network is also recommended for newcomers to the Covenant. A “pilgrimage” to visit another Seeds Group in order to gain perspective on how the Seeds charism is expressed in other places would aid people beginning their journey with Seeds. The Christ the King “Bush Bash” in November is designed as a way for new people to meet others before covenanting.
Because of their different and changing needs some local Seeds groups may need more extensive orientation, formation, and novitiate processes specific to their own community or work.
Seeds has emerged from a tradition that gives emphasis to the priesthood of all believers whilst acknowledging the particular leadership gifts of individuals. The role of a convenor/s is to initiate, facilitate and guard the processes of the group rather than dictate its direction. Each group should decide who will play the role of convenor/s each year.
In 2008 the convenors of the Seeds network come together for communication and decision making every six weeks. Each other time they meet are joined by a broader Working Group made up of another representative of each group as well as some appointed external Mentors/Elders. This aids workload, diversity, ownership, accountability etc.