#375 | Barry Mahoney | Additions to Purposes

Submission 375
Barry Mahoney
First Universalist Church of Denver

What is your suggestion or idea?

Amend the second sentence of the Study Commission’s proposed new Section 2.1 to include adding new congregations, advancing UU principles, and actively engaging its members in the transformation of the world to the purposes listed in the second sentence. Add a third sentence providing that one of the purposes of the Association is to work with its members toward building diverse multicultural communities through actions that seek to dismantle racism and other oppressions. The amended text would read as follows (suggested new language shown in bold italics): Section C-2.1. Purposes.The Unitarian Universalist Association will devote its resources to and use its organizational purposes for religious, educational, and humanitarian purposes. Its primary purposes are to assist congregations in their vital ministries, organize new congregations, support and train leaders both lay and professional, foster lifelong faith formation, heal historic injustices, advance our UU principles and values in the world, and actively engage its members in the transformation of the world through liberating Love. The Association will work with its members and others in seeking to build diverse multicultural communities through actions that seek to dismantle racism and other oppressions.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Three main reasons for this suggested amendment: (1) It is highly desirable to retain the seven principles that are in the current Article II. They have been a bedrock of Unitarian Universalism for nearly four decades and are cherished by many UUs. It would be a mistake to abandon them. Rather, it should be clear that one of the purposes of the UUA is to advance these principles, as well as UU values, in the world. (2) Organizing new UU congregations has long been one of the purposes of the UUA and the Association should not abandon these efforts at a time when there is likely to be strong need for new congregations in underserved areas. (3) By including the proposed new third sentence of the Purposes section, the basic ideas in the previously proposed Eighth Principle are elevated to being among the purposes of the Association and its member congregations.

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

The idea has been discussed in two small group meetings of members of our church and has been included in a written draft of suggested amendments that a colleague and I have made available to participants in four listening sessions that our church has held on the Commission’s proposed revision of Article II. Comments focused mainly on retaining the current seven principles, plus some suggestions for melding parts of the Commission’s proposal with the current version of Article II. A few people favored the Commission’s entire proposal.

Hi Barry, I appreciate your effort to address the 8th principle in some way other than just tacking it onto the original 7!

However, I know some in my Fellowship would not be happy putting it in Purposes.

Would you be willing to also look at my related proposal under section C2.2 and let me know what you think about it? Or I could reproduce it briefly below. The intent is to keep the 7 principles but reorganize them and re-word them so the ideas from the 8th principle (and the Commission’s Charge) are sort of distributed over the whole thing:

Section C-2.2. Principles and Covenants. We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, articulate these Principles, and promise our mutual respect, trust, and support as we enter into and live these Covenants:

  • We acknowledge our place in the interdependent web of life, with humility and efforts toward harmony.
  • We recognize both the diversity of life and the inherent worth and dignity of each life;
  • We accept and encourage one another in our free and responsible searches for truth, meaning, spiritual growth, and loving actions;
  • We support the right of conscience and the use of inclusive democratic processes within our congregations and in society at large;
  • We practice justice, equity, and compassion in all our relationships;
  • We work to dismantle systemic oppressions, including racism, in ourselves and our institutions;
  • We give generously of our attention, time, talents and resources, as we adapt with the changing world.
  • We build beloved diverse communities, with the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.