the OUUC spark
January 26, 2023
Proposed Changes to our UU Principles and Sources - Rev. Sara Lewis
There are big things happening in Unitarian Universalism!
Just last week the Article II Study Commission of the UUA released its report with a recommendation for a new Article II of the UUA Bylaws. Now, I know “bylaws review and revision” sounds super boring, but this particular article of the UUA bylaws is a fairly core piece of the identity many of us feel as Unitarian Universalists. Article II lays out the purpose of the UUA, and also currently includes the 7 Principles and the 6 Sources. So this proposed revision to Article II is a big change to some statements of who we are as UU’s.
It’s important to realize that this process comes as part of a timeline of UU identity documents. We have not always had 7 Principles - in fact the current 7 Principles date to 1985, before that there were 6 Principles and the language was very different. We have, in many ways, always been in an ongoing process of dialogue and discernment about who we are and what we share as core values - this is a big part of why we call ourselves a Living Tradition. So this current proposed change is part of a line of change and transformation going back hundreds of years.
If you want to explore the history of UU theology and values, you might review this video I made for our New Member class.
UU History in a nutshell!
I think this ongoing dialogue and evolving identity is one of the real strengths of this tradition, allowing us to learn and grow and stay relevant to the real lives of people today. It also keeps our values and faith statements from becoming something rote and easy to take for granted. No matter how beautiful or meaningful something is, if it sits in front of you everyday you may begin to not really see it or to glaze over the specifics. Just engaging with Article II on a regular basis is a bit like moving all the furniture around in your living room - a good chance to get to the cobwebs, get to ask “is this really working for us anymore?” and then see things anew that you were possibly taking for granted before.
One of the features of this most recent reexamination of Article II that seems very important is that this was the most inclusive and diverse process we’ve ever had. This study commission took its time and engaged with as many UU’s as possible, particularly folks on the margins who have often not been part of the process in the past. While the 1985 process was spearheaded by women who were seeking greater gender equity and inclusion within our faith tradition, this time around we are hearing the voices of people of color, trans and gender diverse folks, people with disabilities, young people, and others who have brought a different point of view to the question of what do we value most. This is important as we look to our future, a future that I hope will be more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
But it’s also a big change, and big change can be hard. We’re going to have some chances to talk about all of this at OUUC, and to engage with the process as it moves forward, including sending delegates to General Assembly to vote on this. If you are interested in being a delegate to GA, talk to me or Rev Mary. And I hope you all will plan to join us on Sunday Feb 5th at 11:30 for a forum and chance for small group discussions about Article II.
- Find resources I’ve gathered about Article II here:
Article II (padlet.org)
- And resources about General Assembly are gathered here:
General Assembly (padlet.org)
And please feel free to reach out to me or to Rev Mary if you’d like to talk about any of this or have questions.
Opportunity to Support a Black UU Seminarian and Leader
As we discussed in the recent forum on UU Ministry, it is quite the process to become a Unitarian Universalist minister. It is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. And I believe it is important that this path is wide enough to allow diverse people from diverse backgrounds to answer this call, to be our leaders and our ministers. The prophetic voices and examples of ministers from diverse backgrounds has been moving our faith forward in important ways.
JeKaren Olayoa is already a leader within our faith tradition - a religious educator and a member of the UUA Board of Trustees. She is a black leader and educator helping to lead us forward. She is also a seminarian who is almost to the finish line - currently completing her unpaid internship and unpaid clinical pastoral education. And she just lost her source of income and is asking the community for help. I invite you to support JeKaren, as an act of moving our faith toward that future of diversity and inclusion and equity that we hope for.
January Volunteer of the Month!
If you were even a little bit aware of the book sale this fall, you’d have been aware of Sally Brennand putting in hours and hours sorting books and moving books and organizing tables for books, and more. Sally is also a mainstay of the OUUC crews volunteering at the Community Kitchen and helping with the Thursday Night Community Dinners at OUUC this year. Sally first began volunteering at OUUC on the coffee crew and with setting up for the book sale. Both were fun because of having something to do during coffee hour before she knew a lot of people at OUUC and for the book sale “well you get to look at books. What could be better”.
Sally finds that giving makes her happy, and classifies herself as a “baby catcher”, referring to the parable of the babies in the river. While others may go upstream and identify root causes and implement changes to stop the babies getting into the river, Sally will avoid all those meetings and keep on taking care of the babies that are already in the river. In the past she’s struggled with working on some types of teams, and now realizes you should look at your fellow volunteers and the organization’s leadership before jumping in to volunteer “because life is too short” to spend it with unsupportive people. The staff and volunteers at the Community Kitchen and at OUUC meet the bill and Sally enjoys hanging out with them while doing good work.
It’s been challenging to meet the needs for volunteers post-covid, and Sally shares that “The hungry did not go away at the Community Kitchen. After Thursday’s OUUC Community Dinners, the food doesn’t put itself away and the dishes don’t wash themselves. Staff at non-profits have heavy lifts bringing programs back after COVID and we need to do our part every week too!”
Thank you, Sally, for taking care of the babies and being a supportive volunteer!
P.S. Would you like to help feed the hungry at the Community Kitchen with Sally? Her Wednesday dinner team could use more folks. Contact Sally to learn more or to volunteer.
Masks Optional at OUUC!
The OUUC Health & Safety Task Force this week decided to move to masks optional at OUUC. This means that each person has the choice to wear a mask or not and masks are welcome. We remind you to please join us online if you have any symptoms.
Thanks for your care for our community.