Jul. 11, 2022.
By Susan Bennett, President, UUCF Board of Directors
Most of us know and love the Unitarian Universalist Principles and Purposes, but you may not know that they are subject to periodic review and revision. For some religious institutions, the equivalent of the Principles and Purposes would be regarded as a permanent statement of belief. Ours, however, is a living tradition. This means our tradition has a strong past, but is also always open to new learnings, new discoveries and willingness to change in order to respond to the needs of our times and the longings of our spirits.
Because we are a living tradition, the bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) include a requirement that we study our Principles, Sources and Purposes at least every 15 years. We commit ourselves to regularly revisiting our Principles and Purposes to ensure that as we grow in understanding, our Principles and Purposes grow too. This review of the Principles and Purposes began in 2020 when the UUA board appointed an “Article 2 Study Commission” (Article 2 is where the Principles and Purposes appear in the UUA bylaws) with the charge to gather input from across the denomination and draft possible new language for Article 2. I attended last month’s UUA General Assembly as a UUCF delegate and was very glad to have the opportunity to engage in reflection on our Principles and Purposes with the assembled delegates. I want to share with all of you the opportunity to engage in this reflection. The Article 2 Commission has extended the deadline for feedback to Jul. 18 to give folks a chance to view the presentations and share ideas with them.
- UUA’s Article 2 Study Commission web page
- Article II Study Commission Facebook page and Instagram
- UUA’s public feedback hub. The feedback hub is now open. Please send your feedback by Jul. 18. Though the feedback hub closes on Jul. 18, the commission will continue to have opportunities to contribute to the process of reimagining Article 2 throughout the early fall of 2022. The following public videos from GA, including the Article 2 presentations, will be helpful in formulating feedback:
- Introduction to the Work, Purpose and Freedom of Belief in General Session II (beginning with Dan McKanan’s theological framing at 20:35 and the Article 2 presentation at 32:30)
- Values and Covenant in General Session III (the Article 2 presentation begins at 24:15, followed by a break and then Dr. Elías Ortega’s theological framing, which begins at 1:29:20)
- Inclusion and Inspirations in General Session IV (the Article 2 presentation begins at 33:00, followed by a break and then Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt’s theological framing at 1:20:34)
Additionally, UUCF plans to offer other opportunities for discussion and will announce other opportunities for feedback from the Article 2 Commission. Look for announcements to come. In January 2023 the commission will present the UUA board with its proposed changes to Article 2. The 2023 UUA General Assembly is then expected to vote on the proposed Article 2 changes. If that proposal as presented or amended wins a simple majority vote, it will then go before the 2024 GA for a final vote. Final proposed changes will require a two-thirds majority for adoption.
In closing, I want to encourage you to learn more about this process and participate in this denomination-wide reflection on who we are as Unitarian Universalists and what our faith calls on us to do. UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray has said many times, “This is no time for a casual faith,” and I believe that to be true. We need to get serious about our faith and what our faith calls us to do in these troubled times. We need to ask ourselves, what does it mean to live out our faith as Unitarian Universalists? Participating in this Article 2 process is one step toward answering these questions. You may also want to consider attending the 2023 General Assembly in Pittsburgh, PA (just a 4-hour drive) Jun. 21-25. Please contact me if you have any questions.