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Reimagining the 7 Principles of UUism

By Rev. Carol Bodeau

Dear friends,

Probably the most commonly heard and understood statement about what Unitarian Universalists believe is the list of our core 7 Principles. They are stated on our websites, our orders of service, and our promotional materials. They are the way we articulate what holds us together as a faith community that has no formal ‘dogma’ or shared theological (ie statements of belief) framework. These Principles, along with the 6 Sources of our tradition, are located in Article II of our UUA Bylaws. Every few years, this section of our Bylaws, by order of the Bylaws themselves, goes under review. And this year, the Article II Study Commission is asking us to consider revising the 7 Principles and the 6 Sources themselves.

The Article II Study Commission has been working for a number of months to review and revise this section of our basic governing documents, and they are now ready to receive feedback from individuals and congregations (via representatives to our annual General Assembly in June of 2023) regarding their proposals.

It is extremely important for us as a community to read and reflect on these proposed changes. They represent a significant shift in Unitarian Universalism, very much connected with the conversations we have been having about becoming a ‘church’ for the 21st century.

In the place of the existing 7 Principles, the proposed changes offer us the following values:

Love, at the center of all the other values.

Justice, Generosity, Evolution, Pluralism, Equity, and Interdependence surrounding this core of love. The specific statements about each value ask us to covenant to a range of accountable actions, ways to live out these values.

The list of 6 Sources is replaced with a much more inclusive, broader statement about inspiration which avoids a limited naming of particular traditions or religions.

These changes are significant, and a vote regarding these changes will be taken at this coming year’s General Assembly, in June of 2023. You can find more about this at the Article II Study Commission website, and a side-by-side comparison of the existing Article II and the proposed version is available in paper copy in our sanctuary, and also in the members’ area of our website.

Soon, we will be holding a discussion about these proposed changes at Westside, so we can reflect together on how our denomination, as a whole, is responding to a changing world. And on how we can engage directly with the growth and evolution of the movement we all cherish.

In faith, gratitude and curiosity,

Rev. Carol Bodeau

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