Last month, I was privileged to attend General Assembly, the annual conference and business meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association. GA combines faith, education, activism, and fun into five full days.
GA included detailed presentations and thoughtful conversations about the potential revision of the Seven Principles, the words we often use to describe Unitarian Universalism. The Article II Study Commission is the group charged by the UUA’s Board of Trustees to consider and propose a potential revision. One draft idea that was shared proposed rewriting our principles as a set of value-based actions that we expect from one another, more verbs in our principles, more direction to act.
My heart is nervous and excited by the idea of changing our principles and sources. A lot has changed since the mid-eighties when the principles and sources were significantly adapted. Our faith language should reflect the wisdom we have gained since. These efforts breathe life into our UU claim that we are a living tradition, evolving and not tied to one text, creed, or written set of values.
Any change to our principles will only be made with a strong consensus within our faith in the coming years. The Article II Study Commission has a huge task before them, including gathering input from UU’s across our association. Those who took part in the Article II discussion groups this church year contributed to this process.
The UUA Board and Article II Study Commission assert that our deepest common theological grounding and value is Love. They invite us to examine how Love already shows up in our current principles, such as by naming worth and dignity and demanding justice, equity, and compassion for everyone. Where else can you find love guiding us in our principles and faith movement?
Unitarian Universalism names Love as the centering value among our theological diversity. It is love that holds us together, we are motivated by our love for this world and our hope for a more loving world. Unitarian Universalists affirm unconditional, universal love as a foundation and grounding for our actions in the world.
Our church is the place where we learn to practice the love in the world that we are striving for together. We are not alone. For me, church is a buoy in a fast-moving torrent that can too often forget kindness and misappropriate love. I am grateful to have this faith community to serve and return to again and again to find ways to continue this journey of love.
Rev. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, Minister of Religious Education