#156 | Jerald Ross | Insert New Section for Historical Principles

Submission 156
Jerald Ross
First Parish in Bedford (Bedford, MA) 4212

What is your suggestion or idea?

Insert new Section C-2-2 Historical Principles (after Section C-2.1 Purposes and before C-2.2 Values and Covenant, changing the numbering of that and subsequent sections according (=+1)Historically, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association covenanted to affirm and promote: · The inherent worth and dignity of every person

· Justice, equity and compassion in human relations

· Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

· A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

· The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

· The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;

· Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

These principles remain important to the identity, moral orientation and spiritual journey for many Unitarian Universalists. Evolving from this historical framework, and consistent with our Living Tradition, the following Values and Covenant section expands the vision and calling of Unitarian Universalism

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

There are many compelling aspects of the new language. At the same time, the deletion of the seven principles seems unnecessary and departs from the stated intent for an inclusive and democratic process. We believe a better approach would be to retain the seven principles while expanding Article II with the new language. The seven principles are deeply imbedded in many aspects of Unitarian Universalist practices. They are profoundly meaningful to many UU’s and their congregations and continue to inspire our spiritual lives. Though not a creed, for many they have become foundational to our religious identity. The new values and covenant extend the principles in important ways, but they are not inclusive of all the values articulated in the historic seven. Retaining them will provide a more expansive vision for Unitarian Universalism than what is defined by either set alone. These principles and values need not be in conflict: in fact, the inclusion of the existing principles may promote acceptance of the new language.

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

Yes, I have discussed this with our senior minister Rev. Annie Gonzales and various individual members of the congregation (and UU’s I know in other congregations). Our plan is to propose this amendment for broader discussion in our congregation after or near the end of the UUA Board of Trustees public discussion workshops in May. I will be a delegate from our congregation and intend to formally submit the proposed amendment through the specified process at GA.


Dear Mona Lee (#23), Eric Burch (#29), Kenneth Button (#30), Ronald Schaeffer (#42), Diane Conrad (#132), Jerald Ross (#156), and Virginia Nixon (#183):

Your suggestions are all very similar. You all appear to want to add the 7 principles back into Article II. You are encouraged to work together, combine your suggestions into one proposed amendment, and decide who will be the delegate to sponsor it.

A group from our congregation has a similar strategy, but our amendment would be to include both the Principles and Sources. Together, we think they best represent UU foundational underpinnings and we think they do a better job explaining our denomination to newcomers than the proposed values will. Many of us feel that the proposed values are not specific enough to UUism to represent us. They could have been chosen by almost any progressive organization.

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Corky Cornelia Klimczak says: “Many of us feel that the proposed values are not specific enough to UUism to represent us. They could have been chosen by almost any progressive organization.”

I also feel that the Values alone and the explanations of them in the proposed “C-2.2. Values and Covenant” section are not specific enough. As I’ve mentioned in a previous comment, in general, I find the “Values” too amorphous and in most cases in need of explanation. This is recognized by the fact that each one is more or less defined by one sentence that to some extent echoes the current principles. Other Values are new. To me some of the explanations are repetitive. This indicates that those values should be put together. Example: Justice and Equity. The Justice statement has the phrase “where all thrive” and the Equity statement uses the phrase “right to flourish.” These are so similar, that I would recommend putting them together: “We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worth and that we will work to be diverse multicultural Beloved Communities where all thrive.”

I’m not so sure that for every single value has to have a stated covenant as well.

I’m Eric Burch @eburch and the author of submission #29. Charles DuMond recommended we consolidate our similar ideas to one thread. During the May 18th Zoom call, the breakout room I was in discussed my idea for adding the current seven Principles verbatim as Section C-2.1-and-a-half (then renumbering the sections). I will propose that as an amendment. There was discussion about adding an 8th Principle or reworking the current principles but that will not be the scope of my amendment. My amendment can serve as a base for additional changes; we can do this a step at a time until we get through the pre-GA discussion, mini-assemblies, then final plenary vote. If we want to collect some of the other discussions into the submission #29 thread that is OK, just keep in mind my submission is a simple first step.

Jerald Ross: I too want to insert the 7 Principles into the Revised text ( # 30). I would not call them “Historical.” Question: How do we combine all of the proposals to do the same thing into 1 effort with strong backing? My email is kennethbutton@aol.com. What is yours? There are some people who support my proposal which is very straight forward in inserting the 7 principles (without the “sources”) after the “values” section. It is as follows: "I move the approval of an amendment to the Proposed Revision of Article II to insert after line 43 the text of the current 7 Principles of the existing “Section C-2.1 Principles, " excluding the “sources” test. The text of the insertion is as follows: “Section C-2.3. Principles” We, …” (list of the 7 principles. Please let me know how we can cooperate. Thank you.