General Assembly: GA Presentations: Presenter views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the UUA.

An Invitation to Revisit Our Principles and Purposes

General Assembly 2007 Event 4007

Presenters: Commission on Appraisal (COA), Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)

The UUA Commission on Appraisal needs you!

Do you know where your Principles and Purposes packet of materials (PDF) is? Do you know what it is?

The COA is charged with reviewing Article II of the UUA Bylaws, which includes the Principles and Purposes. In mid January, 2007, the COA mailed to your congregation a packet that contains materials for adults, youth, and children.

Are you satisfied with the present version of the Principles and Purposes? If so, the COA needs to know that. If the only feedback demands change, there will be change.

The COA will consider all the information it receives and make a recommendation that will be voted on at the General Assembly (GA), June 24-28, 2009, in Salt Lake City, UT. Save the date!

During the COA hearing at GA, more than 100 people followed the process (as described in the packet) and provided written responses on four colored index cards. There followed an open microphone time of spoken comments on the Principles and Purposes.

Several people said the Principles and Purposes have too many words; they would like them to be their "elevator speech" but cannot remember all the words. In response, a young adult urged us to make the effort to learn them by heart, as he has done; he said the Principles & Purposes impact every decision he makes.

Several people were uncomfortable with the words: "use of the democratic process." As it is usually understood, this suggests that 51% wins over 49% and does not encourage minority opinions. The young adults recommend the process they use: consensus.

Several people suggested that Islam should be included as a source, together with "Jewish and Christian teachings."

Rev. Fred Small (First Church Unitarian, Littleton, MA) said many adult Unitarian Universalists prefer the children's version to the adult version. He has written a version that uses fewer words to say more, and he would be glad to share it.

There were many other comments, ranging from a humanist viewpoint that the phrase "respond to God's love" is not sufficiently inclusive, to an animal-rights viewpoint that "the inherent worth and dignity of every person" is not sufficiently inclusive and should encompass all life forms.

Finally, there were some comments indicating that the present version of the Principles and Purposes is good; don't change it! The COA responded that if that is your opinion, they need to hear from you, too.

Reported by Mike McNaughton; edited by Jone Johnson Lewis.