Amendment 27 to Article II - Proposed by Dorothea Wallace

Bold underlining indicate insertion ; [brackets indicate deletion.]

Section 2.2 Covenant, Values, and Inspirations

As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant, congregation-to-congregation and through our association, to support and assist one another in our ministries. [We draw from our heritages of freedom, reason, hope, and courage, building on the foundation of love.] Drawing from our Universalist heritages of love and our Unitarian heritages of wonder, these diverse ministries of our living religious tradition can be thought of as a metaphor of a flower and its environment. The flower’s petals represent our values. Our values are how we communicate and live out our tradition with the ultimate goal of love, which is represented by a flaming chalice in the center of the flower. Our inspirations, represented by the sun, stem, leaves and ground, provide energy, pathways, and nutrients needed for life. Air and water represent our free and responsible search for truth and meaning, that which cannot be named, and the ultimate forms in which we live, move, and have our being.


Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared values. We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values through the spiritual discipline love. Inseparable from one another, these shared values are:

Interdependence . We honor the interdependent web of all existence. We covenant to cherish Earth and all beings by creating and nurturing relationships of care and respect. With humility and reverence, we acknowledge our place in the great web of life, and we work to repair harm and damaged relationships.

Pluralism. We celebrate that we are all sacred beings diverse in culture, experience, and theology. We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love, curiosity, and respect.

Justice. We work to be diverse multicultural Beloved Communities where all thrive. We covenant to dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression. We support the use of inclusive democratic processes to make decisions.

Transformation. We adapt to the changing world. We covenant to collectively transform and grow spiritually and ethically. Openness to change is fundamental to our Unitarian and Universalist heritages, never complete and never perfect.

Generosity. We cultivate a spirit of gratitude and hope. We covenant to freely and compassionately share our faith, presence, and resources. Our generosity connects us to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.

Equity. We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness. We covenant to use our time, wisdom, attention, and money to build and sustain fully accessible and inclusive communities.


[As Unitarian Universalists, we use, and are inspired by, sacred and secular understandings that help us to live into our values.] As a pluralistic, living religious tradition, we draw inspiration from direct experiences of transcending mystery and wonder as well as historical wisdom and grounding which provide many paths to feeling a part of something larger than ourselves. Inseparable from one another our inspirations are:

Wonder . We find energy and joy in the mystery, beauty, and creativity of life. We cultivate wonder by using science to explore mystery and quantify uncertainty, experiencing and creating moral and physical beauty, and connecting physically and emotionally with others. These experiences open our hearts, renew our spirits, and transform our lives.

Wisdom. We make meaning from our experiences which provides courage, hope, and faith needed for our work. We expand our wisdom by practicing discernment and learning from philosophies and religious and spiritual traditions, the creative arts, science, and history. By gaining perspective and humility, we are reassured we are not alone in our efforts to embody these understandings.

Grounding. We practice balance, resiliency, and resurrection during difficult times. We ground ourselves using rituals, mindfulness practices, and sacred rest. By deeply listening to ourselves, each other, reason, and the ground of being, we co-create and re-create our home.

We strive to understand and appreciate the cultures in which these paths were created and are currently practiced. [These sources ground us and sustain us in ordinary, difficult, and joyous times.] Grateful for the experiences that move us, the religious and cultural ancestries we inherit, and the diversity that enriches our community,we are called to ever deepen and expand our paths of connection.

I’d sure like to make this a little stronger. Democracy is under attack all over the world. Democracy should be secure amongst we UUs, and I think we should make this statement a bit stronger with a one word change: Replace “support” with “promote”.

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I agree with the word change to “promote,” but I also would like to suggest striking the phrase “to make decisions” - because democratic processes need to be used in all areas, not just as the final step in decision-making.

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During these difficult times, we need inspiration now more than ever. Yet we feel like the commission’s proposal has made inspirations an after-thought. Our goal was to put inspirations back on equal footing with the values, create an amendment that was truly inspirational, and to breathe life into our bylaws. We built on the existing graphic in the commission’s proposal and focused on three categories of what our inspirations do for us: They provide us with wonder, wisdom, and grounding.

Reactions to including a graphic in the bylaws has been mixed, but we strongly feel that metaphor is the best way to articulate concepts that are this complex while still allowing room for future spiritual growth of our living tradition. We have succeeded in showing that we can have specificity without prioritizing one source over another or creating laundry lists. We have tried to incorporate ideas from all other inspirations amendments into ours. Additionally, our amendment addresses other amendments that deal with definitions of love, decentering of love, and the current flower graphic. If others feel that our amendment is too different from the commission’s proposal or that specifics need more discussion, we ask that the board create an interdisciplinary team of professionals and lay people that focus on the inspirations, as the commission suggested in their proposal, so we can further these inspirational conversations

# Name Delegate Congregation City, State
1 Dorothy Wallace Delegate/Sponsor First UU San Antonio San Antonio, TX
2 Terry Palin Delegate First UU San Antonio San Antonio, TX
3 David Sherwood Delegate UU Church of the Hill Country Kerrville, TX
4 Terri Chadwick Delegate First UU San Antonio San Antonio, TX
5 Rev. Mark Skrabacz Delegate First UU San Antonio San Antonio, TX
6 Maggi Joseph Delegate First UU San Antonio San Antonio, TX
7 Stacy Craig Delegate/Minister Chequamegon Unitarian Universalist Fellowship/Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Ashland, WI and Houghton, MI
8 Rev. Nell Newton Delegate/Minister First UU San Antonio San Antonio, TX
9 Mary Barad Delegate First UU San Antonio San Antonio, TX

While I don’t generally support the idea of a graphic representation of UU values to be included in the Bylaws, I do think that what you have offered is more inclusive, thoughtful, creative, and artistic than the one provided by the Article II Study Group. If we have to have a graphic, I hope we choose this one.

One of the issues with offering any graphic is that it essentially offers a second version of the values statement that will create unnecessary confusion. We will have one too long version with explanatory words, confusing as they are, and one too short version without any explanation of the words. Potential congregates who see only the short version will be headed to their dictionaries to figure out for themselves what UUs value.

Second, the graphic offered by the Study Group struggles aesthetically. Since the chalice is arguably one of the only revered religions icons of Unitarian-Universalism, using it as the centerpiece of an unattractive graphic might be considered disrespectful. Overwriting it with the word “LOVE” in black letters and all caps doesn’t make it art.

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For additional history of this amendment, we started with a series of RE classes at First UU San Antonio. We then did a congregational wide survey. Following that feedback, we came up with what we felt was a mostly comprehensive list of where we find wonder, wisdom, and grounding. We proposed this intial list of 18 bullets in the May UUA workshops with multiple congregations. (#290 | Jennifer Courtwright | Proposal is too Generic to be Meaningful - #2 by courtwrightj01). Based on continued feedback that our amendment was too long we condensed the list of bullets into the above statements and added the graphic. Additionally, we sent out a google survey to other individuals working on inspiration amendments to find common ground. Where common ground existed, we tried to incorporate exact verbiage from other amendments (i.e. #5,#51,#53). For example, we did not have strong opinions on statements some felt were problematic such as the “respecting the histories, cultures, and contexts” statement from the original commisions proposal. We sought to align our verbiage for this section with amendment #51 but the verbiage was actively changing at the time we had to submit our amendment. We remain open to alternative specific wordings to this last section.

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I’m curious about why you have two sections of your graphic that relate to creativity. It seems to me that that gives it additional weight that is a bit loaded.

@Hank this is a good question and something we struggled with. We are very much open to alternative word choices or reorganization of these concepts. Both the creative arts and science could be considered as sources of wonder or wisdom so we struggled with where to put them. In the text we try to nuance this but in the graphic the nuance is more difficult. Creative arts can be a source of wonder but can also express sorrow and help us understand that which we cant express in words. Science is driven by wonder and asking questions with curiousity but its insights can help us understand our relationships with the world around us. In the end we decided to refer to creativity in a general sense as a key source of wonder, while the creative arts such as music, visual arts etc felt more like how we process our experiences of wonder and make meaning. Very much open to other thoughts though!

I love this graphic! I hope it gets in.

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