#161 | John Hansman | Purpose of the UUA is to Assist Member Congregations

Submission 161
John Hansman
River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Bethesda, MD) 4034

What is your suggestion or idea?

The existing statement of purpose of the UUA is to assist member congregations.

The re-draft of Article II states:

““The purpose of the Unitarian Universalist Association is to actively engage its
members in the transformation of the world through liberating Love.””

I have a concern that the UUA is transforming from a member association to a central HQ that will try to enforce a set of public policy positions on congregations and ministers. Such a shift would be contrary to ““acceptance of one another”” and ““a free and responsible search for truth and meaning””.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

I think that the focus of the UUA should remain on its traditional function of helping member congregations to grow in membership and financial stability. The new language implies that the UUA will try to enforce its particular vision of ““transformation through liberating love”” on ministers and congregations.

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



Yes, when my family joined a UU congregation, it was with the idea that the UUA served the needs of the congregations and not the other way around

The draft is very poorly thought out. This comment is a correct analysis. The draft must be changed, Arther than changing the UUA.

See post #59 which addresses this by proposing an amendment that “The primary purpose of the Association is to serve the needs of its member congregation” and adds that The Association fosters freedom of belief and actively supports its members to transform their beliefs into loving actions. to encourage the right of conscience to determine how best to live our values.

The focus on accountability potentially at the expense of congregational autonomy also lends itself to enhancing the power of the UUA to determine whether we’re appropriately abiding by our covenants. So see #245 which shift it so we are accountable to our own conscience "Love connects us to each other, and it keeps us accountable to our values.” I believe this goes to the heart of Unitarian Universalism and differentiates our faith from many others.