#165 | John Wunderlin | Scrap the Process and Start Fresh

Submission 165
John Wunderlin
Prairie UU Society (Madison, WI) 8412

What is your suggestion or idea?

Scrap the process and start fresh.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

The removal of the 7 principles other than small inclusions in the comments below the basic graphic is just too much of a change. No mention of democratic principles, humanism, science or reason (other than as heritage- in the past only?) and the expansion of religious sounding terms such as covenant and beloved community is very irritating to me as an atheist. I’m sure a lot of work went into this, but I’m afraid the process needs to start over as far as I’m concerned.

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

Yes, I have been participating in a study group reviewing the proposal


They had to deal with the huge upset caused by the pandemic when many congregations were more worried about remaining healthy and solvent than paying attention to what the Study Commission was asking of them. As a result, congregational participation in Spring 2021 in setting the basis for the study was likely too limited to justify a change of this magnitude.

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This is the biggest feedback I could give to this process!

Yes, it needs to include democratic process, humanism, science, logic and reason. covenant seems to be the new focus - we don’t have any 10 commandments. if so many “covenants” are listed, should include what UUA means exactly by that word.

also, bad timing to do this and make proposal during pandemic. in our community of what used to be 130 members, only about 15-20 people even knew this was going on. we had a zoom “discussion” on Art. II where minister gave each 3 (count em) 3 minutes to give our opinion. Some people stated that they just didn’t know about these changes and deleted emails relating…so at this 11th hour, we were playing catch up and explaining what was going on, rather than having a meaningful discussion. one person accused those of us who brought up concerns about accountability to creating false conspiracy theories.

I and others wrote several emails with heartfelt concerns to our “chat” email list over the last few years, only to have a few rudely complain and then all discussion on Art. II was not allowed on the only active discussion list to a list that wasn’t functional for any discussion! so once any topic is not allowed on the main chat list, it goes to the graveyard. sigh…also when privately asked about not pledging, several stated the turmoil at church. the turmoil was created by the UUA, not those of use who spoke our concerns and then were ignored or shamed by what we wrote. I felt those doing the shaming were bullies. it seems people are more interested in free furniture or where to find a good roofer. isn’t the direction/agenda of the uua and the future of “classic Unitarianism” more important? apparently not, esp. during COVID.

I find this to be the case in most UU churches, people just aren’t aware and don’t want to believe it could be happening. tua needs to work on being more transparent, and better at communicating to ALL INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS, not just ministers or office staff. obviously if our minister or staff received any, they weren’t passed on.

I agree. I think they should start over. I didn’t hear about this until late last year. I was extremely surprised they did a complete rewrite. It was uncalled for. I’ve grown to like what we have now over the last twenty some years. It was on my refrigerator, and it makes me think.

I hope it gets voted down so we can have a pause and a do-over.

The commission’s proposal is verbose, often unclear, and not inspirational. Many people here have made a good effort at improving it and finding common ground.

I would recommend paring down the values to three or four, because these seven are hard to remember much less articulate clearly. It could be easy with ranked choice voting for congregations–or as individual UU’s with a statistical correction – to decide which we consider central to our faith. Then many other values support, are intertwined with, and flow from the core values. For instance, in my view, justice is based on recognizing diversity and requires love, respect and compassion while leading to equity and transformation. This reinforcement and interconnection should be explained in a way that draws people in, not a word salad of vague and ill-defined terms.

If delegates generally support the comission’s work,I would favor many changes. Especially

  • removing any reference to accountability except to our conscience or values,
  • clarifying that the UUA serves member congregations and not expanding it’s role,
    and I would also prefer to
  • lift up the free & responsible search for meaning,
  • explicitly state that the UUA is governed by inclusive democracy,
  • add a focus peace
  • and on reason,
  • define love,
  • ensure that we are welcoiming to all who respect our values even if the various paths we take to live them differ, and
  • use clear and inviting language which inspires us