#245 | Kara Stebbins | Less Focus on Love and Accountability

Submission 245
Kara Stebbins
UU Fellowship of Madison County (Richmond, KY) 3726

What is your suggestion or idea?



As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant, congregation-to-congregation and through our association, to support and assist one another in our ministries. We draw from our heritages of freedom, reason, hope, and courage, building on the foundation of and love. Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared values. We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values through the spiritual discipline of Love. Love connects us to each other, and it keeps us accountable to our values. Inseparable from one another, these our currently articulated shared values are: (See separate posting regarding Amendment of Graphic.)

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Our Fellowship objects to the ill-defined use of the word
Love, the assumption that Love is at “the center,” and the lack of clarity
about what it means to be “accountable.”

The wordless image of the Chalice is the “foundational
heritage” of our faith – partly because it allows for different meanings to
different people – the light of reason, the light of love, the great mystery,
etc. “Love” should be on equal footing
with other words to describe our heritages – not more important and not less
important. We want “love” to be defined
by what we believe it DOES for us as UU’s: “it connects us to each other and it
keeps us accountable to our values.” This change in wording also helps both
clarify and limit what it means to be “accountable.”

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

Our Fellowship had a democratic approach to the Amendment process. While a straw poll indicated a slim majority would prefer to keep Article II as it is, the other votes indicated we should try to come up with Amendments that could conceivably change some “no” votes to “yes.” We began writing this Amendment in response to input from the Fellowship during two Sunday Services. We later word-smithed a suggested Amendment with our weekly zoom group. Finally, the full Fellowship had an opportunity to review this written Amendment. No objections were voiced.


Very well put! To me, “Love” in the most meaningful sense is not a noun – it’s a verb. Love is the process by which we achieve equity, justice, compassion, growth… Just as democracy is the process by which we stay accountable to liberty and interdependence.

The command to Love means to abandon some part of ourselves which defines and protects who we are, and to sacrifice that part of ourselves to benefit the person, persons, and people we love.

Love certainly has a very special place in our philosophy, but I’m not sure if calling it a value/principle is correct.

Although I support using love as a central value, I do think it should be defined (see #405).

I particularly like your concept that we’re accountable our values. I have been concerned that the accountability language infringes on our individual conscience, amd this is a good way to clarify.