#477 | Scott Neely | Extend the process

Submission 477
Scott Neely
Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg, SC

What is your suggestion or idea?

I would like to suggest extending the process of dialogue and development of the Article II revisions.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

The process seems to me to be strong but incomplete. In my experience with discernment processes in congregations and community settings, deadlines help us keep a process focused and moving forward. But further time is often required to arrive at the quality of community expression these kinds of processes are seeking. For the proposed Article II revisions, I think the theology we are expressing is powerful. The expression of this theology seems to me not yet to achieve the initial goals with which we set out, such as being poetic–the proposed revisions read more like an essay than poetry. The image proposed seems to me conceptually clear but not yet a symbol of power and beauty to inspire us in our life and work together. In my mind, a good test for having arrived at a point of completion would be the use of the revisions in a worship setting. Do they speak with the power and clarity that concise, evocative expression in worship best does? If not yet, I urge us to push further until they do. The roll out of these revisions in the winter and spring of 2022-23 seems to have drawn many more people and congregations into the process. This is good. Let us give ourselves the time to engage with one another even more deeply, to seek expression that is clear, concise, poetic, beautiful, and motivating for the settings in which we gather, and in so doing let us strengthen our life together. This will move us forward as a people.

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

Yes, in many study and discussion groups within the congregation I serve; in one-on-one conversations with congregants and colleagues; and in ministerial clusters. The idea that deadlines keep us moving forward, but that processes like this often need more time to realize the quality of expression sought, has resonated with many in these conversations. I am happy to share further on this if helpful. I praise the good work done in faithfulness and love, and I urge us to go further until we realize what we know is possible. We will grow as a people if we follow the process to the best expression possible.


You are not alone in needing more time. See for example, posts #299, #401, and #454

I think we would be wise to slow down the process as moving forward at this pace could cause deep wounds that will take a long time to heal no matter what the outcome of the process will be.


Well said. I would also encourage the Commission to provide a better mechanism for input moving forward so as to determine whether UU’s generally agree
(1) changing the purpose doesn’t lend itself to s shift in polity
(2) convenants are an appropriate way to “add verbs”
(3) accountability as written in the proposal is important
(4) values should replace principles
(5) these seven values are core UU values, and if not which ones should be identified
(6) to embrace the graphic

Even though the UUA shares informatioin with congregational leaders, it would be useful to poll individuals. Even if more than 2/3 of the congregationm s have a majority support for the proposed revisions and thus delegates vote in favor, if a significant minority in most congregations are opposed, this would be a travesty of democracy. This overhaul requires real discernment and an opportunity to address people’s concerns.

Finally, I am in complete agreement that this needs to speak with power in a way that clarifies our faith and moves us to build the beloved community.