History of Article II and the Study Commission
Article II of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Bylaws, Principles and Purposes, is the foundation for all of the work of our UUA and its member congregations and covenanted communities. It is the covenant to which all of our congregations and covenanted communities pledge themselves when they become members of our UUA.
Our current Principles and Purposes were last revised in 1987. At General Assembly (GA) 2017, there was discussion of amending the Principles to add an 8th Principle, addressing racism, and an amended 1st Principle, addressing non-human life. The 5th Principle was the subject of a report in 2009, which dealt with the ways in which GA and other Unitarian Universalist (UU) gatherings do and don’t embody an inclusive democratic process. The 7th Principle has also been the subject of discussions about possible amendments.
There have been many projects, resolutions, task forces and other strategies that have come from the Board, Commission on Appraisal and grassroots groups which encourage us to take a look at our principles, purposes, bylaws and rules. It is time for us to do a review and make changes so that we are living into the Unitarian Universalism of the future, a Unitarian Universalism that holds us in times of great need and ethical, moral and spiritual crises. We are in one of those times now.
In response to those discussions, the UUA Board committed to establishing this Article II Study Commission to complete this study and offer a revised Article II.
Article II Study Report
The Article II Study Commission has completed its two year study. They submitted their Article II Study Report (PDF) to the UUA Board of Trustees at their meeting held on January 20, 2023. The report includes the Study Commission's initial recommended revisions to Article II.
The Unitarian Universalists Association's Article II Study Commission, Board of Trustees, and Administration and Staff have received a lot of questions regarding the Article II study and proposed revisions. We have curated this list of answers to some of the frequently asked questions.
2023 General Assembly Amendment Process
Following the presentation of the Article II Study Proposal (YouTube) in January 2023, the Board of Trustees developed a congregational engagement and amendment process. The UUA’s goal was to maximize discussion and engagement with the initial Article II Study Commission proposal (PDF), which addresses the foundational values and purposes of our faith community.
The Board of Trustees established a four phase process to support the Co-Moderators in prioritizing amendments on the General Assembly agenda.
- April 2023, Unitarian Universalists were invited to submit suggestions and ideas on how to modifying the proposed Article II, through an online form. All qualifying suggestions were posted on an online forum for public discussion at discuss.uua.org.
- May 2023, the Board's General Assembly Moderation Team, the ModSquad, hosted three amendment discussion workshops. Workshops were open to anyone and focused on areas where multiple amendment ideas had been submitted, to help proposers connect with each other to develop formal amendments where their ideas align.
- June 2023: After the final General Assembly Agenda was published and the delegate platform was open, delegates could submit one (1) amendment per delegate. Amendments were accepted through the Article II mini-assembly at the General Assembly.
- 2023 General Assembly: The ModSquad and Article II Study Commission reviewed the over ninety (90) submitted amendments and prioritized fifteen (15) on the General Assembly agenda as directed by the bylaws. Amendments selected went through the collaborative process and represented repeated themes in the formally submitted amendments. The General Assembly adopted and referred five (5) amendments (PDF) to the Article II Study Commission for consideration and incorporation into the final proposal.
2024 General Assembly Final Article II Revision Consideration
The Article II Study Commission completed the final draft of its proposed revision to Article II (PDF) in October 2023. The Study Commission and the UUA Board of Trustees have shared letters about the final proposal and upcoming processes.
- Letter from the Article II Study Commission (PDF, 1 page)
- Letter from the UUA Board of Trustees (PDF, 1 page)
Amendments to the Article II Study Commission’s proposed revision were submitted by 11:59pm Eastern on February 1, 2024.
Each amendment submitted by congregational petition under Section C-15.1(c)(4) of the UUA Bylaws had a primary congregational sponsor. Each primary congregational sponsor was the primary sponsor of one amendment to the proposal. Amendments met the following standards to be considered:
- only applied to a single section of the Article II proposal;
- matched the structure of the UUA Bylaws and Rules; and
- could not conflict with other rules, bylaws, or adopted statements.
- had the support of at least 15 certified UUA congregations.
The Board reviewed all submitted amendments to ensure they met the standards listed above. All submitted amendments which were received and supported by the deadline and met these standards were publicly posted on the Discussion Forum on February 2, 2024. We encourage you to carefully read and discuss it with members of your congregations and communities.
Continuing the Conversation Resources
New Article II Congregational Resources from the Field
In an effort to support congregations to continue to engage with the proposed Article II revision, UUA staff have collected and commissioned new Article II resources from the field to supplement the original Article II Study Commission resources.
Rev. Dr. Sheri Prud'homme was commissioned to provide this Theological Reflection of the proposed Article II revisions (PDF) to deepen spiritual and theological conversations around the proposal.
UU World Article
On December 7, 2023, UU World published an article, "As Unitarian Universalists Reassess Core Beliefs, Article II Study Commission Reflects on Progress Made," about the work of the Article II Study Commission and where the conversation is right now. We encourage you to read and share it with your communities.The final proposed revision to Article II was completed by the Article II Study Commission in October 2023.
Amplifying the Charge
The Amplifying the Charge (PDF, 33 pages) resource is a multi-layered tool that blends small group ministry and worship resources for congregations as our Association moves into the next stage of the bylaws adoption process. Engage religious professionals, worship team, lay leaders, and others to integrate four weeks of worship resources and four weeks of small group ministry into your spring congregational calendar!
Article II Study and Amendment Process
The timeline and amendment process of the Article II Study, including the adoption process for the proposed revisions of Article II.
Article II Study Resources
The Article II Study Commission invites you into this study. Find below resources for personal and community reflection and discussion. Reading Materials The following documents will be reviewed by the Commission in the course of its work. Some of these discuss specific amendment language; others...
About Article II: The Principles and Purposes of the UUA
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION BYLAWS AND RULES ARTICLE II Principles and Purposes Section C-2.1. Principles....
Members of the Article II Study Commission
list of members of the Article II Study Commission, established June 2020
Charge to the Article II Study Commission
Article II of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Bylaws, Principles and Purposes, is the foundation for all of the work of our UUA and its member congregations and covenanted communities. The Board of Trustees presents this charge to the Study Commission for Article II's periodic review.
Reports and Reflections of the Article II Study Commission
Periodic communications from the Article II Study Commission, providing reports and reflections on the status of the Commissioners' charge to review Article II, Principles and Purposes, of the Unitarian Universalist Association bylaws.