209 | jerry kerr | Serve and Inherent

Submission 209
jerry kerr
UU Congregation of Flint, MI

What is your suggestion or idea?

#1 Idea:
Replace (from C-2.1 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

With: 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.

#2 Idea:
Replace (from ““Equity””): We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent
dignity and worthiness.

With: We declare that every person has inherent worth and dignity.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

#1. Our faith was born from the power of complete congregational freedom. Without that freedom, an organizing body that does not see itself as a servant, inevitably becomes the rule maker and susceptible to a ““group think”” that does not reflect the consciousness of the congregations. I believe the removal of the word ““serve”” betrays a lack of faith in the people and evolutionary process that created Unitarian Universalism. Without a guiding belief in the power of servanthood, our UUA could become just another hierarchical power center, which I feel is already happening.

#2. I think the proposed sentence is ambiguous, probably because ““inherent dignity”” was stuck in at the last moment. If something is deemed to be ““inherent,”” you have it, and
declaring that people have a ““right to flourish”” with it, makes little grammatical or philosophical
sense. To simply say we have a right to
dignity and worthiness, begs the questions…don’t I have them already? And if not, what do I have to do to earn
them? Those two questions are no
different from the age-old questions of religious seekers who wonder if they
were “saved” according to the doctrines of their church, and if not, what do
they have to do to get saved? Without an unequivocal statement that we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, we take a step backward into the Calvinism we escaped.

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

Yes, our congregation is specifically opposed to the two sections I have cited including our board members and every congregant we have approached. Moreover, our congregation already voted unanimously to vote against the proposed article II. This effort to seek advice at this late date seems odd. Our congregation thought we were presenting the final proposed document to them before we voted on how to charge our delegates.

I’m not sure if even large changes made to the proposed Article II would change our congregation’s vote. The dismissal of so many ministers from the UUMA, unquestionably because they spoke their minds, and the many UU ministers who support them, have convinced our congregants, and their two ministers, that a vote for Article II is a tacit approval of the UUMA’s heavy-handed, unethical actions. - Rev. Jerry Kerr


Jerry, Thank you for your comments. I agree with them whole-heartedly