#312 | Dirk Herr-Hoyman | Lay Down This Entire Process

Submission 312
Dirk Herr-Hoyman
Prairie UU Society

What is your suggestion or idea?

Lay down this entire process.
Throwing out the current Article II is too extreme, at best there should be a small tweeking. At this point, it’s too far along to do even that, so
lay out this effort and revisit say in 5 years.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

We should have a major catacylsm happen to be rewriting ByLaws and Section II in particular. Bylaws should get done at the organizes startup and then only tweeked as something comes up. This is taking a fair amount of effort which should be placed elsewhere, more nearly on the ground. All the changes I have seen, like systemic racism, have already been addressed in the current Section II and there are better ways to address these than changing Principles. Also, there’s a real chance of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Making it harder to explain “why I am a UU”, which many have figured out over time.

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

There are many in our congregration who have a similar view, which I would summarize as “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. We’ve had presentations and online discussions, as well as some 1-1’s I’ve had. There’s a considerable sentiment against this effort. Way too much to go forward, in the consensus decision making style I am used to seeing.


Strongly agree. Evolution may be called for; revolution is not.


Yes, every section of this revised Article II has serious flaws that are likely to result in a serious schism in UU. The move away from Enlightenment values will kill us.


I agree. I didn’t hear about this until late last year. I was extremely surprised they did a complete rewrite. It was uncalled for. I’ve grown to like what we have now over the last 20 some years. It was on my refrigerator, and it made me think.

Even though the process hasn’t ensured isufficient input from congregations, I think that for the small percentage of UU’s who are engaged in it, it has been helpful to clarify what are values are and how we function. So I would suggest that rather than starting over in five years, use this as a first step. Charge delegates with going back to their congregations and discuss the pros and cons (it’s disturbing to me that neither website nor the UU World have offered a platform for members who are critical of the Commissions work). Provide a means to determine whether most UU’s agree with replacing princples with values and adding covenants. If so, then the Commission should still try to find ways to address the minority view, while opening up discussion as to whether the values they’ve selected resonate with UU’s.

The changes to the UUA’s purpose should be considered separately as it requires deliberation that is structural and related to polity.

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I agree. This is too big a change without enough preparation (that is, without preparing congregants) and without a way for us to say, okay take the good parts and leave the bad and have a redo. Even though there will be six months of melding all the amendments into the new Article II, this is really a yes or no vote; no way to say, yes, interesting beginning, but back to the drawing boards, keeping in mind all of the distress UU’s are feeling about this change. We have just emerged from the biggest change and distress any of us have ever lived through (I hope will ever live through, though I’m not laying odds), and many are just getting back in-person to our churches, sitting next to each other, reveling in the joy of just being with each other in sanctuary. I’m sure mine isn’t the only congregation still working on getting everyone to feel safe enough to come back. And what we all want to come back to is the way it used to be when we felt safer there than anywhere. (No one really believes we can go back to pre-pandemic.) But the risk of splitting into factions over this – which it sounds like could easily happen, in some ways already happening
– just when we’re getting back to being whole is just too big to take now. Later maybe. Not now.

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