[AMENDED] Final Proposed Revision to Article II, as Completed by the Article II Study Commission in October 2023

I need to be more like you. Pick the things that lift my spirit and bring joy. I have done all I can to inform the congregation about A-II. At the moment I need to rest and take care of some life things. I appreciate your willingness to honestly express your thoughts and empathetically listen. I am a student of Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-violent communication. Those skills are what make a connection and a productive conversation. Thank you.

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I don’t see how that approach makes sense here? With admissions, there is a set community into which you are admitting specific people, or not. There are insiders making decisions about outsiders. That is not the case here. There is not a group of UUs and then some other group. We’re all UUs, we’re all congregants. Defaulting to the status quo whenever there are strong feelings means the status quo always wins and even a small group of people can control UUism by just disagreeing. The reason that rule makes sense in that context is because it serves a particular purpose (maybe keeping the community harmonious?) but what is the purpose served here? (I have noticed that people opposing the revisions seem to believe that the status quo has some favored position and that those favoring the revisions have to meet some extra “proof” and I think that position is unwarranted. IMO we are considering two proposals–one is the 7 principles and one is the new article 2 and we have to decide which is better, no differently than if they were both brand new proposals).


I like the 8 principles but I don’t need them in the A2 section of the UUA bylaws. I’ve asked if some folks at my congregation want to consider if we want to post them in a way that shows how we as a congregation feel about them, especially given the work my congregation has done on the 8th principle. I’m in favor of A2 proposed changes and the Wheeler amendment.

I love what one of the surviving members of the 1981-1985 Purposes and Principles Committee that produced our current Article II has to say about the principles here For the First Time in Forty Years, Unitarian Universalists May Adopt New Bylaws


Hmm, disturbing—shouldn’t the board have that important a thing on its calendar in advance, not be surprised by it being overdue?

I think the correct response when there is so much disagreement and division over a big change is to slow down and even restart the whole process. There is no reason things have to be suddenly changed right now.

I remember when I was on my congregation’s board and, for monthly board meetings, my thinking was that scheduled decisions had to be made at that board meeting. A sage congregant said that some decisions did not have to be decided in a meeting, and, for various reasons, it is often wise to put off certain decisions for a later time.

Big disagreement and division over a major rehaul of a church is not good for the church. The changes should bring together UUs, not separate them.


Yes. This is precisely what UUtheconversation is trying to do, get more time and a much greater participation, the kind of time and participation commensurate with the magnitude of the changes. We believe as you do that this is a perfectly reasonable approach to the controversy leadership has fomented.

That article is doing little more than supporting change for change’s sake. Like leadership, it fails to offer anything by way of a decent rationale other than “it’s time.” We don’t believe that change for changes sake is in any way sufficient for the magnitude of these changes.

I loved hearing from one of the surviving members of the 1981-1985 Purposes and Principles Committee that produced our current Article II in For the First Time in Forty Years, Unitarian Universalists May Adopt New Bylaws

“The thing I loved about the process was the actual engagement with theological questions and issues,” recalls Miller. “I loved it and loved that we were doing it as a group, as an Association, not only as a committee group but with the whole movement being asked, ‘What is our faith today?’ To me it’s thrilling.

I learned about this article and more history in the free workshop I took with CLF Article II Learning Workshop: Love at the Center


We have literally been talking about A2 for years. This is not fast to me. In case anyone needs a timeline review Article II Study and Amendment Process | UUA.org

And how much time is being made for discussions is as much as can be (again years) and this is because discussion of bylaw changes is very precisely outlined in the bylaws. There will be bylaws refreshing and maybe after A2 we can update them to be more open and less prescriptive on exact days and timing in the future.

A2SC feedback processes included over 13,000 feedback, thousands of surveys, interviews, open feedback sessions, sessions at GA, stakeholder feedback sessions, workshops at GA, articles in UU world, regional outreach, and hundreds of drafts and for example 21 draft language listening sessions 2022, and more sessions in 2023.


I also have been following this for some time, but it is new to many congregants at many congregations. I’ve heard that even some ministers were surprised by the changes.

The UUA and many ministers have provided only one-sided information to congregations and laity. That has been commented on by others in this forum.

It’s also been documented that there has been much censorship by the UUA, and censorship and coercion at GA.

However, much of the congregations and laity being unaware is not the UUA’s fault. Many congregations have dropped the ball, and apathy about national church affairs amongst the laity is a common problem. Many congregants are simply disinterested in what goes on in the UUA, bylaw rewrites, etc.

“Big disagreement and division over a major rehaul of a church is not good for the church. The changes should bring together UUs, not separate them.”

I’m curious about this argument. Why do you assume that not making the changes will be less divisive than making the changes? I’m honestly concerned about an exodus of progressive voices, which I think will be unhealthy for the denomination.


I earlier wrote that, whatever the vote outcome, many folks are going to be unhappy and may leave.

Redoing the process isn’t not making changes, but delaying it to try to get more consensus and be more inclusive in the process. I’m not against changes.


I love metaphors and analogies. I wonder is this is relevant to revised vs. original 7 thoughts. It is from the book "Moving on from Church Folly Lane, by Robert T. Latham. The subject of the book has to do with church congregation size and dynamics, but somehow it strikes me as a good metaphor here. He asks the question “how many of you have ever owned a cat?”. He is quick to point out that those who think they own a cat do not understand cats. So who in the debate is the cat, and who thinks they own a cat? Is there an analogy to covenant and accountability in the revision?
You cannot own a cat, you can only keep a cat
A cat will not work for you but you may work for a cat
Cats are independent in spirit and self-sufficient in attitude
Cats are basically untrainable. They function off instincts
Cats have nine lives and can survive poor organization, uninspired atmosphere, neglect, and abuse
Cats don’t seek advice and don’t feel like they need training
Cats are not into becoming anything other that what they are
Cats determine when they wish to be stroked
Cats will scratch you if you try to control their behavior.

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I’m about half way done reading “Love at the Center” UU Theologies and it’s pretty fantastic.

I keep highlighting sections. This was my latest … in the section on Love and Risk by Robert Spirko from the book …“The more we practice, the better our skills and discernment become. We need to prepare for those moments when we have to take action, when the risks of not acting or greater than those of action. We need practice, especially with institutional risk. Many among us might accept a level of personal risk in our Love work; are we also ready to accept institutional risks? That determination takes careful group discernment, but also collective boldness. We have sometimes sheltered our institutions behind individual risk taking. It is worth thinking about when those relations might be reversed…”

I suppose adopting the proposed changes to A2 might feel risky or bold to some. To me it has had literally thousands of input, actual years of discussion and discernment, and forty years feels like time. I am in favor of the proposed A2 bylaw changes and the Wheeler amendment. Onto the next chapter for me, From Longing to Fully Living by Rev. Mykal O. Slack in the book, Love at the Center.


I’m not worried about that. I consider myself progressive, and I’m not going anywhere, no matter which way the vote goes.

However, I am very concerned about the tone of the debate and the health of interpersonal and organizational dynamics. If this is messy, it will take us longer to feel strong again. Please, let’s widen the circle and draw together.


I spent some time this morning reading about UU congregational polity and one of things I read this morning was that the A2SC couldn’t email every UU they had email addresses for because of congregational polity they had to email ministers and board presidents (then those folks chose to share or not and that was out of the hands of the A2SC.) I am so much more impressed with the outreach that was done with the various open sessions, open office hours, surveys, webinars and articles that were published about A2 process and possible revision.

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@LeilaniDavenberry , thanks for all your significant efforts to bring these issues to our congregation. As we know, there were difficulties for decision-makers trying to prioritize multiple issues and needs (pandemic, right relations stuff, etc.) in getting this information through to some congregations , at least in a way that they understood what was happening.

There were also issues with people who had asked to be on mailing lists not getting updates (as I know). At one of the feedback sessions, some of us said that word was not getting out to everyone despite all these efforts (many of which I had missed when they happened).

After the session where that direct plea was made, I do believe additional outreach was done. When I looked for Article II resources posted by congregations (such as resource pages, discussions, sermons, etc. for our own resource page last year), I found a number of resources dated from around that time.

I think one significant reason this discussion has sort of been moving along on two different legs (the way a French teacher long ago described trying to incorrectly mix two past tenses together in a sentence) is that people’s awareness of and involvement in this issues is very, very different.

I participated in around 10 of these sessions. The format I usually saw was that there were presentations in the group, instructions for how to structure the kind of feedback being sought in that particular session, then we’d meet in breakout groups, and then a designated spokesperson would report back to the main room where recording was taking place. Releasing transcripts of the reporting back, if transcripts already exist, could give people late to the party a clearer idea of the kind of participation that already occurred.

This is a separate issue than whether or not the final results represented a true synthesis of the input in view of the Charge given to the Commission. In my view–based on listening to a lot of different UUs in a lot of different discussion spaces,–this goal has still fallen short, which is why I really placed some hope in a second chance with the four amendments going forward to GA.

The huge swell of interest and proposed amendments during the Amendments process last year to me showed there was a disproportionate surge or groundswell of participation as more people learned what was going on. In my view, incorporating this unanticipated huge expansion of the process was vital to the agency and buy-in of UUs being asked to embrace these changes as “ours.”


I now think because of the rules of congregation polity some folks who might have been more interested missed A2 things if they weren’t reaching for UU events/information channels outside their home congregations.

Rona years really got me reaching way outside our congregational bubble for information, events, and UU connections. I also really didn’t get updates which is fine for me; I went to the sources and read their updates actively - revisiting their webpages, social media pages, UUA pages, and kept updating my A2 notes, sending announcements to our church administrator, and offering ways/dates/events of engagement in the A2 process to our congregation. On my notes, I kept links to all the past GA sessions that spoke to A2 (of course they’re still available on the UUA past GA site) however transcriptions are a nice way of accessibility inclusion that only now seem to be more apart of processes like the AIW listening sessions have them.

I recommend a video streaming right on the CLF facebook page, the VUU that’s a great video on the A2SC and A2 review/revision process that I watched last year so good.

While I am not a moderator and can’t speak for this space or it’s rules, I recommend reading Community Participation Covenant, Tips to Make Most of the Discussion Platform (this is also a place that one could reply-discuss the platform/engagement) and Rules of Engagement on this space that includes being on topic and not diverting a topic by changing it midstream.

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Marnie, I’d be wary of concluding that there is a lot of controversy based on the 50 or so commenters on this board and the even smaller subset who have gotten heated. 86% of the delegates voted yes last year.


It is combined. The UUA communicates with only 1 person in a congregation, there are not ways to sign up as an interested individual. Ideally that 1 person in each congregation would be either an active staff person who distributes the info effectively, or an officer who does the same, etc., but I don’t even know who it is in my society—I have spent years searching out e-mail lists, conversations, and sites. I should not have had to do that; there should be an easy sign-up. Not everyone is as persistent as I, nor should they have to be.