#267 | Jim Hall | “Purposes, Values, Principles and Covenant”

Submission 267
Jim Hall
First Parish UU Church of Arlington, Massachusetts

What is your suggestion or idea?



  1. Insert a new Section C-2.3 as follows:

C-2.3. Principles and Covenant.

accordance with our values, we Unitarian Universalists further covenant to
affirm and promote

The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our

A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our
congregations and in society at large;

The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a

  1. Renumber
    Sections C-2.3, C-2.4 and C-2.5 as Sections C-2.4, C-2.5 and C-2.6 respectively

  2. In Section C-2.1 add the words “and the
    universal realization of our Values and Principles” to the end of the last
    sentence of the Section, so that the sentence reads: “The purpose of the Unitarian Universalist
    Association is to actively engage its members in the transformation of the
    world through liberating Love and the universal realization of our Values and

  3. Insert the words “and principles” after

• in the second
sentence of Section C-2.1

• at the end of the
first sentence of (renumbered) Section C-2.4

• at the end of the third
sentence of (renumbered) Section C-2.5

  1. Amend
    the title of Article II to be “Article II Purposes, Values, Principles and

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Both our existing Article II “Principles and Purposes” and the
proposed “Purposes and Covenant” can be and should be included in a new Article
II that could be entitled “Purposes, Values, Principles and Covenant”.

      Our “Seven Principles” are a succinct statement of our fundamental

beliefs that, as President Susan Frederick-Gray has said, “We know and love.”

      I see the compelling reason and desirability of adding to

Article II a new section on “Love” as “the enduring force that holds us
together” and that “inspires and powers”
our Values of Justice, Generosity, Evolution, Pluralism, Equity, and

      There is nothing at all inconsistent with our long-standing

Principles and the draft Values based on our theological foundation of
Love. Reflecting diverse sources of our
faith, they clearly express complementary – and reinforcing – ways for us to more
fully proclaim our Unitarian Universalist beliefs.

      To me, the Seven Principles especially speak well to those

outside our denomination. They deal in
meaningful, humanistic terms with matters of critical importance in today’s
world and assert unambiguously where we stand, for instance on democracy and
equity, world peace with liberty and justice for all, the interdependent web of
all existence. The Seven Principles make
for a good, concise “elevator speech”.

      And it is by striving for the universal realization of our

human rights principles and values, together with our liberating love, that we
can transform the world.

      With their different emphases, our Principles with the

Values more comprehensively convey our welcome to and inclusion of people of
all backgrounds and persuasions who believe in our common convictions. There is
every reason not to have an unnecessary, potentially divisive debate and choice
between the two. Both should be a part of
a new – and improved! – Article II.

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

I have talked with our Church Lead Minister Marta Flanagan and two Church members who have all expressed interest.

1 Like

I concur with the bulk of what Jim Hall has proposed. I find “covenant” to be needlessly evocative of Evangelical Christianity – in the south, there is a ‘covenant’ church in every town – over 90 in Georgia alone. There are 19 within an hour’s drive of Portland, Oregon.
For Christians, “a covenant is a two-way promise, the conditions of which are set by God. When we enter into a covenant with God, we promise to keep those conditions. He promises us certain blessings in return. A covenant is a two-way promise.”

There is no need to use that word when we could so easily instead say “We agree to”.

I like the idea of separating the covenant from the values. In the currently proposed version, it is impossible to tell which sentences belong in the covenant and which do not. The principles, however, are stated as one long covenant sentence, leaving no doubt as to what constitutes the covenant.