Amendment 25 to Article II - Proposed by Howard Tolley

Bold underlining indicate insertion ; [brackets indicate deletion.]

10 Section C-2.2. Values and Covenant.

14 Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared values. [We are
15 accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values through the spiritual
16 discipline of Love.] To dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another, this is our covenant.


I like this language better than what it replaces.

The only problem I still have is with “at the center.”

What do you think of “Love is the power that holds us together and helps us live our shared values”?



Of course, I thank UUA for attempting to include a wide range of Amendments. I’m sure that was a difficult task. And to repeat myself, I do like the replacement language of Amendment #25 in regards to “accountability.”

However, from my reading of it, there was a lot of discussion about not wanting to use the word “center” (especially in regards to “love”), and none of that is captured in the Amendments included in the UUA priority.

I have made this argument when I had more energy in multiple places: If we define a “center,” we take away freedom of belief. I have felt supported in that idea by many. I submitted a very complex Amendment #24 that attempted to express my congregation’s strong belief that “love” should not be at the center.

Unfortunately, I don’t know that there are any stand-alone, simple Amendments that address this concern.

That’s why I earlier suggested a friendly Amendment to #25:
“Love is the power that holds us together and helps us live our shared values”?

On a related note, I hope we vote to remove the graphic. But short of removing the graphic, I hope we can remove the word “Love” from the center of the graphic.

Just to be clear, I personally LIKE the word “love,” but it is not at the center for everyone - some think of “transcending mystery or wonder” in the center, others center interdependence" or “science,” or even God. Or for me, “freedom of belief.”

If UU defines a “center,” it will lose the freedom of belief that drew me to it.


It has been a surprise to me that an image of any kind (which exists between the two numbered lines, 17 and 18) and a verbal description of that image would be included in any non-profit organization’s Bylaws.

"… a nonprofit’s bylaws are considered a legal document that dictates how the organization must be governed. "

So I ask, “how is an image to be used in the governance of the UUA”?

Is it required to be displayed on every official document? On the UUA website? Instead of the current logo? Can it only be used by the UUA? Is it intended to become the registered trademark of the new UUA brand?

“Inseparable from one another, these shared values are:
Image Description: This image is of a chalice with an overlay of the word love over the flame, with six outstretched arms that create a circle around each of the core values and form a six petal flower shape. Each arm is a different color and clockwise they are: Interdependence (Orange), Equity (Red), Transformation (Purple), Pluralism Dark Blue), Generosity (Teal), and Justice (Yellow).”

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I’m not sure why folks are afraid of the word “accountability.” Do they fear punishment?

Accountability (generically) on a personal level means living ones values, paying those values more than lip service.

Accountability is required in any trust relationship. One must be able to speak their experience and name the behaviors that contribute to that experience. And the dialog around that needs to happen for relational repair.

I’ve heard so much “noise” about this word accountability and have seen nothing to support its removal that supports our UU values or principles that isn’t fear-based.

Maybe I’ve missed it. I’d like to understand how accountability is counter to UU, and how the inclusion of this word brings harm (other than fear-based speculation of how it might get used.



I agree. We should hold ourselves accountable to our values. Not everyone reads it this way though, and I have no grounds to say their reading is wrong and mine is right. If we want to include “accountable” here and be clear about the meaning, we will need to include language to specify to whom we (individuals, congregations) are accountable and how our actions are measured to determine whether we are living up to our values.

Rather than try to clarify what we mean by accountability, I much prefer the proposed language.

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FYI, this is the draft UUFMC Statement about Amendment 25:

We support the parts of the Amendment shown on line 16, because: (1) it includes the word “peace,” which, without this or other Amendment, would be completely missing from Article II; (2) it includes the word “love” in a way that is more palatable to us; and (3) it contains the essential part of “accountability,” namely “help one another,” without sounding punitive. It is also poetic (although admittedly a little too poetic for some in our congregation.)

On the other hand, we cannot accept an Amendment that does not take out the words “foundation” and “center” in lines 13 and 14. Love is NOT necessarily the foundation or center for everyone. We recommend the list on line 13 delete the words “[building on the foundation],” leaving the words “freedom, reason, hope, courage, and love.” Then the next sentence could be “Love is the power that holds us together, allowing us to dwell together in peace, seek the truth, and help one another live our shared values. This is our covenant.” Then line 17 would also need to be modified to read “Inseparable from one another, [these] our shared values are:”

We also want to delete either part of or the entirety of the graphic. We want to delete the word “love” at the center because it is NOT the center for everyone. We prefer to delete the entire graphic because a graphic does not belong in the bylaws. Whether or not the graphic is removed, it might be appropriate to modify line 17 to read: “Inseparable from one another, and with no one more important than another, our shared values are:”


May love be the spirit of this congregation;
May the quest for truth be its sacrament;
And service be its prayer;
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
And to help one another in fellowship.
This is our covenant.

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I still feel there is confusion about what love means in this language: “Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared values.” Isn’t love our shared values in action? Love is not a feeling or belief or a power but living our shared values!

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I agree! I fear that people oppose it because they associate it with anti-racism and other anti-oppression efforts (work which I wholeheartedly support). But even if people fall in the anti-woke camp, accountability is a concept that exists outside of that movement. It’s about making sure we actually do what we say we will. As I understand it that’s a big reason why the concept of covenant is being incorporated into the new Article II.

Upon reading this one I immediately disliked the wording and felt that it was watering down for the comfort of white folks. I wholly disagree with the removal of accountability. I strongly agree with the con speakers. As a BIPOC UU, peace and safety are words that immediately bring to mind the prioritizing of white comfort and the policing of Black and brown people, our bodies, our words or tone.

I understand your desire to improve the Covenant, and I love that you are making this attempt, but I am confused by the suggested changes.
Let love be the spirit of this congregation… Is not love already central in this statement? Why does it need to pointed out twice.

…To seek the truth in LOVE…
Are we seeking truth within LOVE…
or are we seeking TRUTH using love?

“This is our living Covenant: To dwell together in peace…” leave at the beginning.

@tolleyhband others commenting on these and other threads of amendments that were voted down and/or not prioritized, I have been told that this part of the Discuss site will be locked on Tuesday.
The lay-led public Facebook group, Blue Boat Passengers, for discussing Article II and GA, will remain open for commenting a couple weeks longer. It will still be visible for viewing as a public record afterwards.

Note: While it is still open for commenting, people who want to do the 15-congregation amendment process may use the group to coordinate.

Anyone who wishes to comment there may, but please be sure to review the rules and the announcement about the planned suspension of the group before commenting. Thanks very much.
Blue Boat Passengers: Info & Constructive Discussion re Article II, etc. | Announcement: This group will soon be suspended | Facebook

Here are some comments about the 15-congregation amendment process, from someone who used to be on the GA Planning Committee:

"“Unlike how the amendment process was run for this GA (ie at the discretion of the moderators and board), the process you’ve mentioned is bylaw and subject to little to no interpretation. I wouldn’t wait however. You need to get the petition from the UUA Board Secretary in the next couple weeks, and you have to have it turned Into the Board before February 1st.”

“If one congregation has a thought, send an email to 50 others and say “we are discussing X. What do you think?”
That is also the kind of thing that we have District and Regional assemblies for, both in person and virtual.
That is also the type of thing your religious professionals should be talking about at their regular meetings with their colleagues like minister Association chapter meetings.
It is the responsibility of your board president and other trustees to be deeply aware of the affairs of your closest congregations.
You discover by being in relationship and talking to one another.
You coordinate by email and phone call, same as we have for the last quarter century.”

“You don’t even have to have a congregational vote. You just have to get their board to sign off.” ETA: You must check this–rules vary by congregation. Also, look for the UU Governance Lab group on Facebook to connect with Donald Wilson directly.

Also, a comment from another member who was participating on Discuss:
“Some of us are connecting on Slack, mainly to remain in contact with others interested in specific amendments or the amendment process in general at GA 2024.”…/zt-1y0pvelub-YVxUFoPpTrZ…