#306 | Miles Fidelman | Scrap Proposal & Return to Original Principles

Submission 306
Miles Fidelman
UU Church of Medford (Medford, MA) 4721

What is your suggestion or idea?

Basically, scrap the proposal and return to first principles.

Reinforce the role of the UUA as a support organization, serving freely organized independent congregations, governed by congregational polity, with each individual answerable only to their own conscience on matters of theology, morality, ethics.

Perhaps start by reinstating the original preamble & 1st principle, from the original founding documents:

In accordance with these corporate purposes, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Association, dedicated to the principles of a free faith, unite in seeking:1. To strengthen one another in a free and disciplined search for truth as the foundation of our religious fellowship;
Maybe DROP all the other principles, and instead be more specific about the specific role and functions of the UUA in strengthening one another in a free and disciplined search for truth - and in clearly identifying that all powers are delegated from/by the member congregations, and clearly stating that all other powers are reserved to member congregations.

Make it VERY clear that the UUA’s role is to provide support to congregations, not to direct them, not to serve as a presbytery, or other source of ecclesiastical governance or otherwise set policy for member congregations. Make it very clear that authority flows from congregations to the UUA, not the other way around.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

That the UUA leadership has gone off the rails, and usurped powers never intended or delegated by member congregations, much less individual UUs.

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

At various times, in various forms - particularly when serving as a board member, at annual meetings, and when discussing charges to our delegates.

The response has been mixed - there are those who are old-school religious liberals who understand and adhere to the notions of freedom of conscience, congregational polity, and the like. And then there are those who want to do nothing but hold social justice workshops, hector and condemn, police thought & speech, and otherwise act as authoritarians - who are just fine with the direction the UUA is going.


Agree on all points; the proposed complete rewrite of Article II should be abandoned so that we can participate in a careful and gradual refinement of the document that we have lived with up to now. Evolution may be called for; revolution is not.

The last major revision of the principles which was finally approved in 1985 and is essentially unchanged today took 8 years to accomplish. If the current re-write is approved in GA24 it will have taken half the time including the disruptive effects of the pandemic. That is shamefully insufficient for a change of this magnitude.

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