#145 | Jean Martin | The 7 Principles + 8th are Perfect

Submission 145
Jean Martin
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland

What is your suggestion or idea?

I do not have specific suggestions for this document because I do not agree with the concept of replacing the principles as I’ve known them since joining our congregation in 1985. While I realize It has been recommended we review the principles every so often, that doesn’t mean we have to change them. Somehow, I missed the boat in this process. One minute, our congregation was discussing whether to support an 8th principle (we did), and suddenly we began discussing an entirely different proposal. The 7 principles plus #8 are perfect, in my opinion. They are short but express beautifully the backbone of our religion. While we have no creed, we need something to explain our values. They do this. There is a hook. Marketing of our religion is important. They current principles fit on a bookmark or a business card. On the other hand, this new proposal is not well-written. I see no value in the continued wordsmithing of the document because it is unnecessary. The words themselves are nebulous and the explanations that follow are cumbersome. Forget this process, and keep the current 8 principles.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

See above

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

I have attended 2 discussion groups in our congregation. Both times, the attendees listened politely but then continued wordsmithing the new document.


I had the same experience of focusing on the 8th principle, which generated a lot of discussion in my Covenant Group, and then suddenly the revised Article II popped up in its place. I realize I’m not laser-focused on the doings of the UUA, but this was quite unsettling.

Yes, the whole top-down process hasn’t allowed for room to determine whether congregations are motivated to completly overhaul article II, much less build support for the range of changes. It bewilders me that the Commission didn’t first get a reading on what congregations think need to be changed.

The proposed values are nebulous and it’s hard to see how anyone would be drawn to them the way they’re written. They certainly don’t flow. Why is transformation a core value, but not reason which is a distinguishing characteristic of our faith tradition? And what made the comission change the purpose? This shift in relationship deserves to be considered as a significant topic by itself.