Minister’s Letter

At the 2017 UUA General Assembly in New Orleans delegates called for the establishment of an Article II Study Commission to suggest any changes deemed necessary in our association’s Purposes and Principles which enunciate to ourselves and to the world the traditions we have come from and the core values we hold dear and promote. I have been very much inspired by and committed to them since their approval by the General Assembly in 1985. There has been only one amendment thus far, the addition of earth-centered traditions to the Sources section in 1995.

The Study Commission is suggesting an amendment to be considered at next month’s which reads as follows: “We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse, multicultural, beloved community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

Paula Cole Jones, a member of the Commission and long-time proponent of this eighth principle, suggests in an interview on the UUA website that principle one calling for “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” principle two calling for “justice, equity, and compassion in human relations,” and principle seven calling for “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are apart,” are construed by most Unitarian Universalists as providing a basis for our social justice work in the outer world. We need, she claims, a specific spiritual commitment to radical inclusion within ourselves, our congregations, and other institutions.

If delegates pass this proposal by a majority vote, it will be on the agenda for the 2022 General Assembly where a two-thirds vote will be required for final passage. As our ministerial delegate I will be a part of the deliberations next month. I am favorably disposed to the proposal if it is amended to include the words “sexism, ableism, classism, ageism, homophobia, and nativism” after the word “racism.” I look forward to the debate on the eighth principle and am particularly interested in ideas on how it may be implemented.

Rev. Paul Johnson

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