Correction: In last Sunday’s service, I said that the 8th principle was proposed to be added to the Unitarian Universalist 7 principles by Black Lives UU (BLUU). The 8th principle was developed and written by Paula Cole Jones and Bruce Pollack-Johnson, and they were to first to encourage the Unitarian Universalist Association to adopt it. It has been endorsed by BLUU and other UU organizations. I apologize for my error.
Several of you reached out after last Sunday’s service to ask about the proposed 8th principle. In case you missed it, here’s the text, which we used to light and extinguish the chalice:
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote journeying toward spiritual wholeness, by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
Many people and organizations have encouraged the Unitarian Universalist Association (the association of covenanted congregations) to adopt the 8th principle, and there are a few individual congregations that have adopted it as well. This will most likely be a topic of the business meetings at General Assembly this June, and perhaps be brought forward for a vote by the congregational delegates.
GA will be all online this year and the cost is much less without travel and lodging. You can find more information here. OUUC can name delegates to represent the congregation at GA. If you are interested in attending GA and being a delegate, please let me know.
I must admit that I was skeptical about why it would make a difference for a congregation to adopt the 8th principle when our other principles were adopted at the Association level. I changed my mind this week when I listened to a webinar of people from congregations that had adopted the 8th principle. They told stories of deep and rich conversations about theology, mission and purpose, and united action to dismantle racism. I was inspired and encouraged by their stories.
Paula Cole Jones and Bruce Pollack-Johnson coordinated and facilitated this webinar. They are the embodiment of commitment to anti-racism work. Bruce offered this observation, “Widening the Circle of Concern” is the curriculum [for anti-racism work in our denomination], and the 8th principle is the commitment.”
There is some controversy about this proposed principle. Some don’t like the language. Some don’t like the focus on racism. Some don’t know why it is needed. There are thoughtful answers to these concerns and more offered by the creators here.
Some of you have asked about adopting the 8th principle at OUUC. At this point, I suggest that we see what happens at GA and take action based on that. It may be that our UUA doesn’t adopt the 8th principle, then we can begin the discussion about adopting it at OUUC. And, if it is adopted at GA, then we can begin the discussion about how to make it real in our congregation and community.
Either way, we will need congregational leadership. If you are interested in working on a Task Group focused on the 8th principle, please contact me. In addition to our commitment, it will take many hands to lead this effort and it will take all of us to dismantle racism.
Blessings on your week,
Our monthly theme for March is Commitment. This month we also mark the one-year anniversary of our first online Sunday service in response to COVID-19. The confluence of these things prompts me to invite us to reflect on these questions:
Have my/your/our commitments (or what you are committed to) changed this past year?
If so, how?
I plan to bring these musings into the Sunday service on March 14 and I’d love to hear from you! Please send your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, 3/10.
Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you!