#155 | Julio Noboa | Suggestion to revise, expand, and include values

Submission 155
Julio Noboa
Unitarian Universalists of Costa Rica

What is your suggestion or idea?

For a few decades, I have been an active UU having served among other roles, as member of the Journey to Wholeness Transformation Committee, and currently Co-Coordinator of Unitarian Universalists of Costa Rica. I fully appreciate the efforts of the Study Commission members, and am in general agreement with the seven Values identified and described in the revised version. However, I would have been more affirmed by a thorough revision and expansion of the existing Principles and Sources rather than a complete re-envisioning and re-writing of them. Our current Principles and Sources are clear, concise and convincing, albeit in need of revision and expansion. Each of our Principles reflect not just one but several values inherent in their meaning. Values are key to our faith and should be identified and described as they are in the revision, yet this could have been added to our revised Principles and Sources in a new section focusing on the seven underlying Values that support them. Despite my general agreement with the Values expressed in the proposed revision, there are a few key aspects much more clearly and explicitly expressed in our existing Principles & Sources, among them:1. The concept of ““democracy”” is mentioned but not emphasized in the arena of political and policy decisions. 2. There is no mention of ““world community”” or any concept related specifically to world peace and justice.3. There is only a short and uninspiring section on ““Sources”” while missing is any mention of the ““Jewish & Christian”” or others such as ““Earth-centered traditions,”” both concepts which are key to attracting more interest and members to our faith. In conclusion, the existing Principles and Sources should have revised and modestly expanded, and a new section should have been added to focus on our underlying Values.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

I would express my satisfaction with the Values as identified and described but would state the advantages of keeping a series of clear and concise statements supported by a set of Values. Among the advantages of having revised Principles and Sources, as well as a set of Values are:

  1. Our faith could be more easily described and understood by those who have no familiarity with liberal religion.

  2. Our congregational work, service and liturgy has a clear guideline for creation and development consistent with our expressed Principles, Sources and Values.

  3. Our religious education will have a well defined corpus of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors from which to draw moral lessons for our children and youth.

There may be other advantages, but these are the first few that are in my view, among the most significant.

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

Most of the fellow Unitarian Universalists I have spoken to have expressed some hesitation and concern about the revision of Article II. The majority would have preferred a revision and/or expansion of the existing Principles and Sources, and some would have welcomed an additional section focusing on Values.

Many wonder, as I do, why this option of simply revising the Principles & Sources and adding the Values was not seriously considered.


Yes. The changes that the UUA wants to make come as a rude surprise to most UUs.

I agree! I have also wondered why the option of adding the new values section to the existing Principles and Sources as a description of how we will live according to our principles hasn’t been articulated except in these discussions. It may be because the Principles and Sources need updating. I agree that they do, but as principles and sources, not as values. The suggestion in #156 to keep them in Article II for now, but as historic foundations, would help to resolve this concern. If this becomes an amendment that passes, I would still advocate for a widespread initiative to update the Principles and Sources in the coming years. I think this would be energizing for both individuals and congregations. I would like to see an Article II approved in the future that included updated versions of the Principles and Sources followed by whatever version of the values statements is eventually finalized by GA.