#111 |Frances Koziar | Major Revisions to the Central Values

Submission 111
Frances Koziar
Church of the Larger Fellowship (Boston, MA) 1911

What is your suggestion or idea?

I would like to propose a substantial change to the core values in section 2.2. I have attached a new version of a tree with all the values, rather than a flower. Among other modifications, I suggest adding ““Covenant and Communication””, ““Radical Inclusion and Welcoming””, and ““Democracy”” as central values. You may choose to just accept these and not the whole tree.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

There are three main reasons for these suggestions: 1) That the treasured 5th aspiration in Canada to be ““Radically Inclusive”” is not currently included in the central values of the faith as per the Article 2 propsal (and several Canadian congregations are still members of the UUA, and the CUC will be affected by the UUAs decision), 2) To uphold the other core values of the faith and the principles that are currently only included later in the text of the Article 2 proposal, including our principle of democracy and voting, as well as the critical importance of covenant and respectful covenantal relationships to our faith, and 3) To improve on the current Article 2 values by making it much clearer that this is an anti-oppressive faith that is striving to unlearn all oppressions and become truly welcoming. ““Beloved Community”” is not just love, but also (as popularized by Martin Luther King Jr), an inherently anti-racist and anti-classist idea which ties into basically all of the other central values. The additions of ““unlearning””, ““respect””, and ““liberation”” also contribute to this.

Other benefits of this version: 1) The tree seemed like better symbolism for us, because it is strong, and its roots form interconnections, and it is associated with all life (the tree of life). 2) ““Generosity”” is often used in UU contexts to mean giving money, and so seems more superficial than ““care””.

Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?

This came out of a conversation between 4 Canadian YA’s. All of us felt the current values were not clearly anti-oppressive enough, and that we were losing some of the progress we’d made in Canada, including with our 5th aspiration. Someone suggested Beloved Community at the core of theirs and made a new flower, and then I ran with Beloved Community and made a tree, and the other YAs all agreed that mine was better than the Article 2 version and they liked the core values better.


There is a lot to unpack here. I find the core values listed here meaningful and focused and think many of the points are valid, most particularly about generosity vs care. I love radical inclusion and welcoming. But where is spiritual growth? That is most important to me and to many others in my congregation.

Depends on what you mean by “spiritual growth”, but I think that can fall under the “learning, unlearning, growing” branch.

Perhaps I could have held up individual freedoms a little more, like “Democracy and Freedom” which would include the freedom to spiritual change, though there is the pluralism branch too.

I love your idea of a tree image, but my version of it would have it rooted in our current principles and sources, with the trunk labeled love and the branches the one-word summary of the proposed values.

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I also really like the symbolism of tree more than a flower for all of the reasons you mentioned. Centering “Beloved Community” also seems to more closely reflect the UUAs journey and mission than “Love”.

I definitely like the idea of a tree better than a flower. That way we aren’t limited to 6, and would be more likely to feel at least 1 “fits.”

I think of our values as being “rooted” in our Principles, so I would start with the values that are expressed within our current Principles, and then add other values that are in the Proposed Revision. This is the list I come up with (and there are definitely too many to fit on a flower!): Interdependence, Humility, Diversity, Searching, Conscience, Democracy, Equity, Compassion, Awareness, Giving, Adaptation, Peace, Freedom, and Justice.

And here are the revision I suggest to Section C2.2 to accommodate all of these Values:

Section C-2.2. Principles, Covenants, and Values. We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, articulate these Principles, and promise our mutual respect, trust, and support as we live these Covenants:

  • We acknowledge our place in the interdependent web of existence, with humility and efforts toward harmony.
  • We recognize both the diversity of life and the inherent worth and dignity of each life;
  • We accept and encourage one another in free and responsible searching for truth, meaning, spiritual growth, and loving actions;
  • We support the right of conscience and the use of inclusive democratic processes within our congregations and in society at large;
  • We practice justice, equity, and compassion in all our relationships;
  • We work to be aware of and dismantle systemic oppressions, including racism, in ourselves and our institutions;
  • We give generously of our attention, time, talents and resources, as we adapt with the changing world.
  • We build beloved diverse communities, with the goal of world community with peace, freedom and justice for all.

Articulating and re-articulating these Principles and Covenants is part of what makes ours a living tradition. The process helps us identify and express some of the Value words that currently capture how we connect in community: Interdependence, Humility, Diversity, Searching, Conscience, Democracy, Equity, Compassion, Awareness, Giving, Adaptation, Peace, Freedom, and Justice.

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I tried a tree approach to the graphic as well at first but settled on a slightly different approach. What are your thoughts about this graphic?