Amendment 49 to Article II - Proposed by Julie Welch

Bold underlining indicate insertion ; [brackets indicate deletion.]

This proposed amendment is based on the Principles and Covenants section of Submission #486, submitted by Kara Stebbins of the UU Fellowship of Madison County, and subsequently edited with the author’s permission.

This amendment adds back and modifies the current 7 Principles by incorporating action verbs and adding a modified 8th Principle to dismantle systemic oppressions.

10 Section C-2.2. Principles and Covenants.
11 We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, affirm these
12 principles, and promise our mutual respect, trust, and support as we enter into and live
13 these covenants:

  • 14 We recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every person and celebrate the
  • 15 diversity and uniqueness of all life;
  • 16 We acknowledge and respect our place in the interdependent web of all existence;
  • 17 We encourage a free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • 18 We support the right of conscience and the use of democratic processes within our
  • 19 congregations and in society at large;
  • 20 We practice justice, equity, and compassion through loving action in all our
  • 21 relationships;
  • 22 We commit to understand and learn how to dismantle systemic oppressions,
  • 23 including racism, in ourselves and our institutions;
  • 24 We give generously of our attention, time, talents and resources, as we adapt with
  • 25 the changing world;
  • 26 We seek to build a world community with the goal of peace, freedom and justice for all.

27 Section C-2.3. Values [and Covenant.]


To clarify this amendment: This inserts the 7 principles, plus an 8th, (modified slightly with action verbs) into the proposed revision of Article II right after “C-2.1 Purposes”, and shifts the “Values and Covenant” section from C-2.2 to C-2.3, leaving the proposed Article II revision otherwise intact. I deleted the words “and Covenant” from the title of newly renumbered Section C-2.3 because my new Section C-2.2 (the reinsertion of the familiar Principles) uses the word “Covenant” in its title. I am not otherwise amending Values, I just included it at the end of my inserted section to show the modification of its title.

I hope this helps clarify - this is basically just an insertion of the 7+1 Principles between the Purposes and Values section of the proposed revision.

I’m glad Julie, that you found something useful in my congregation’s work.

I feel I should clarify that my congregation chose not to officially submit the version of this Suggestion that existed before you edited it (#486). Our original goal was to change Article II as little as possible while still trying to meet the Charge of the Commission. It seems from your clarification that you may not share this goal - which is fine!

I would note that my congregation’s Amendments, # 22 and # 24 do start from the Commission’s language. The strategy is to focus on advocating for the kinds of changes my congregation wants and then decide whether there are enough changes to vote “Yes” on the whole Revision.

(Oh, and I see now that Linda Richardson submitted my congregation’s suggestion 486 as Amendment #83! Thanks!)

Yes, I love the idea of a compromise amendment. You did beautiful job of wording it.

Kara, I’m torn thinking about how to address the proposed revision to Article II. On the one hand I would be perfectly happy to keep the current version, and I am unhappy with the process that was used to generate and reveal the revised proposal to the general UU population. On the other hand I hadn’t actively thought deeply about the meaning of the words until the proposed revision generated so much conversation and analysis on this discussion forum.

The guidance for submitting amendments was to limit them to one section, and I felt the best compromise was to somehow retain the principles which carry so much meaning to so many UUs, myself included, yet also honor the hard work that was done by the Commission and has meaning to many others. Thus, I worked with the C-2.2 section from your #486, and thought the Commission could work out the duplication with parts of the new values section, which I feel lacks the weight of the 7 principles.

None of this is really satisfying, but I put retaining the principles at the top.

The following fifteen amendments also seek to add the current Article II, Section C-2.1 “Principles” (with some modifications) to the Proposed Revision:
#2 - Kenneth Button
#3 - Eric Burch
#9 - Merridy McDaniel
#29 Jim Hall
#41 Dick Burckhart
#44 Nancy Henley
#58 Patrick Deak
#59 Lurine DeVos
#61 Jan Radoslovich
#66 Pablo deVos-Deak
#78 Marsha Bates
#79 Chris Stotler
#83 Linda Richardson
#84 Becky Sandman
#49 Kara Stebbins

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Julie, I certainly agree that this process has been both beneficial and difficult!

I’m glad you have had the chance to - and have obviously taken the time to - figure out your priorities.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to think about piecemeal changes when I have a vision of a whole.

I’m thinking about what Eric Burch suggested, that we consider the following 3 Amendments:

  • Do we want to add the existing Principles into the proposed Article II before the Values and Covenant?
  • If the Principles are re-added, do we want this list after the Values and Covenant section, rather than before?
  • If the Principles are re-added, do we want to add some additional historical context wording? (and the exact wording will be the subject of additional debate)

A 4th Amendment I might propose is this:

  • Do we want to modify the Principles to contain the ESSENTIAL elements of the Covenants, then DELETE the Values and Covenant section and/or edit it to be only about Values (and keep it as the Values section)?
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I like this amendment. Thank you.

Julie, you did a great job at creating a middle point between the Values and the original list of Principles. Your writing gives the Principles a stylish update that brings them more tonally in line with the language used in the revision. My one concern is that you incorporated the Values so thoroughly into this list that readers who go on to read Section C-2.3. afterward may find it redundant. (In fairness, I made a similar comment about Amendment 2; I don’t know if there is any good way to incorporate both lists without things getting repetitive.)

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I do not see the current 3rd principle here.

I completely agree - the newly proposed Values do duplicate much of the current Principles. For those hoping to retain the current Principles the available amendments offer (1) removing the Values section altogether, or (2) inserting the Principles back and leaving the proposed Values section and letting the Commission do the hard work of smoothing out the language in Values. I wanted to leave that latter option open.

Thank you for pointing that out. You are right. In the whirlwind of grasping the proposed changes and reading through the many, many comments in the discussion pages, I tried to piece together a section that kept the Principles AND incorporated what I saw as the key additional issues: (1) address systemic racism and other systemic oppressions, and (2) address the topic of accepting change, which has been a major theme for accepting the proposed revised Article II. That attempt led to adding:

22 We commit to understand and learn how to dismantle systemic oppressions,
23 including racism, in ourselves and our institutions;

24 We give generously of our attention, time, talents and resources, as we adapt with
25 the changing world;

I felt, and should have noted, that the current 3rd Principle “Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations” was subsumed into:
We encourage a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and
We practice justice, equity, and compassion through loving action in all our relationships

Delegates musing about the best approach to retaining the 7 Principles, or their essence, have the wealth of amendments listed above by @MerridyMcDaniel.

Thank you for your comment.

I like this approach as it explicitly recognizes the need to reconcile and include language from both the principles and values/covenant.

But it is not on the list to be discussed, is it? The people choosing really do not want to consider amendments that would fully kept the principles, it looks they are only willing to allow for the idea that we historically used these, not that they are still important.

Interesting. I have not found the “historically” language of those other prioritized amendments to diminish the importance of the principles. Instead, I read it that the principles have been so central in UU that they continue to be a core part of how we define ourselves. Thus, I find the historical basis to support and assure ongoing centrality of the principles.


What I find difficult in the prioritized amendment (#61) is the sentence, “These principles remain important … for many Unitarian Universalists,” which suggest they are not important or dismissed by others. Perhaps that is true, but I know many members of my congregation, including me, would feel dismissed by that statement. Certainly they are no longer central to our collective identity if they are important to some but not all UUs.

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Rick, I so appreciate exchanges with you… I understand what you are saying – the ‘many’ indeed states either not important or not all. And that is true, that there are those who see the principles as old or inadequate or or or. For me, I am just dearly hoping that the principles in some form STAY IN as a section. I will definitely vote in favor of this amendment because it seems to be the only prioritized one that puts the principles IN.

Thinking about ‘many,’ I realize that the sentence would have been much more affirming if it had read “These principles remain important … for Unitarian Universalists…”

I guess it is understandable to me that some people do not see them that way. I sure do – take the principles as core to my Unitarian Universalism…

thank you and hope to see you here at GA

Note re amendments that weren’t prioritized or presented: This forum is closing for comment tomorrow, but our lay-led public Facebook group, Blue Boat Passengers, will remain open for another few weeks for commenting (and still be viewable after that).

People who want to find others to coordinate about the 15-congregation amendment process may use the group to do so while it is open. There’s now a specific post for this in the group (“A post for those wishing to do the 15-congregation amendment process to coordinate”). Please read both the rules and the pinned post before posting or commenting there.