#189 | Jay Kiskel | Revise Purposes

Submission 189
Jay Kiskel
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, Inc. (Atlanta, GA) 3032

What is your suggestion or idea?

Section C-2.1. Purposes.The Unitarian Universalist Association will devote its resources to and use its organizational powers for religious, educational, and humanitarian purposes. Its primary purposes are to assist congregations in their vital ministries, support and train leaders both lay and professional, to foster lifelong faith formation, to heal historic injustices, and to advance our Unitarian Universalist values in the world.

Section C-2.1. Purposes.The primary purpose of the Association is to serve the needs of its member congregations, organize new congregations, extend, and strengthen Unitarian Universalist institutions and implement its principles.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Every Unitarian Universalist should be alarmed by the proposal to eliminate the clear articulation that the primary purpose of the Association is to ““serve the needs of its member congregations.”” This language is an unambiguous affirmation of the Association’s servant leadership to its members. To be clear, the legal structure of the Association (see Article III) is as follows: ““The Unitarian Universalist Association is a voluntary association of autonomous, self-governing member congregations, which have freely chosen to pursue common goals together.”” Why the change? Most UUs will not understand the simple answer since it is mired in arcane UUA ““inside baseball.”” Shedding the Association’s servant leadership role is not idle speculation. The 2020 Widening of the Circle of Concern report included the following observation, ““this idea that the UUA can’t tell us (i.e., UUs and/or member congregations) what to do is bologna.”” Our UU leadership has adopted this report as their roadmap. The proposed Article II language shifts the decision-making prerogative of the Association’s direction from its member congregations to the national leadership. Congregational polity, the right of congregations to self-govern, has deep roots in our Unitarian, Universalist, and UU heritages. If UUs wish to release the Association from its servant leadership role and embark on a new model of organization, that decision merits an active debate.

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

I have had many, many discussions with fellow UUs. I follow a very active discussion group on the website Save the Seven Principles (https://savethe7principles.wordpress.com). My congregation’s Men’s Group discussed Article II at our weekend Retreat. My congregation will be holding a congregation-wide discussion on June 3.

BTW: Much of the discussion on Article II has not been supportive of changes. There is generally a lack of awareness of this rewrite. Those who are aware do not understand the rationale for making such substantial changes to the Seven Principles.


The change in wording from serve to equip reverses the role of the UUA. this is very troubling


Why do folks that claim to value science, reason, and democracy fail to cite full quotations and take things out of context to try to support their points? The rest of the “bologna” quote is, “We are in a voluntary relationship with each other and [the UUA] doesn’t have to tell us what to do, but then maybe we shouldn’t be a UU church anymore if we aren’t willing to commit to things and work together.”
I guess that part of the statement didnt serve your purpose, so it was conveniently excluded.

It is pretty clear that the UUA is becoming more centralized and trying to exert more too-down control. Quibbling over one quote doesn’t change that fact.