Widening the Circle of Concern
Widening the Circle of Concern
UUA Governance & Management


  • Copyright © 2020 by the Unitarian Universalist Association. All rights reserved.
  • At a gathering convened by UUA co-presidents Rev. Sofia Betancourt, Rev. William Sinkford, and Dr. Leon Spencer in Atlanta in 2017, UU leaders of color were asked to share their insights into how the Association could continue moving forward in the midst of another racially charged moment.
  • This report was completed in February 2020, prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many aspects of how we are as people of faith have changed, and the economic context we assumed for this report has been altered. Yet as we reviewed the content for publication, we were all unanimous in our belief...
  • The members and staff of the UUA COIC were Chair Rev. Leslie Takahashi, Mary Byron, Cir L’Bert Jr., Rev. Dr. Natalie Fenimore, Dr. Elías Ortega, Caitlin Breedlove, DeReau K. Farrar, and Project Manager Rev. Marcus Fogliano.
  • So many hours of conversation and hours of testimony have occurred during these three years.
  • The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Commission on Institutional Change is charged with supporting long-term cultural and institutional change that redeems the essential promise and ideals of Unitarian Universalism. Appointed by the UUA Board of Trustees in 2017 for a period of two...
  • Components of our work included: Call for Testimony, Focus Groups, Collaboratory, Outside Audit, Surveys, Social Science Research Tools
  • The world around us is different than it was a decade ago. Or even five years ago. The question is, how will our “living tradition” keep up with the times? What choices will we make—or fail to make—and how will that affect the relevancy and the survival of our faith?
  • Unitarian Universalism is a living faith tradition. From its origins in Unitarian and Universalist forms of Christianity,* we have to expand our foundations into an expansive faith community tied together not by dogma but by covenantal relations. Today, UUism lives in our diversity in thought, belief, and practice.
  • When we talk about governance, we are talking about power. When we talk about power combined with prejudice and the centering of the dominant group and their ways of being and doing, we are talking about oppression.
  • Many of our congregations are in trouble, with dwindling membership, participation, and financial contributions. A factor that contributes to this decline is our inability to address issues of inclusion, equity, and diversity.
  • Our work concludes that Unitarian Universalists continue to repel many of the people who would otherwise provide the resources to fuel our continued growth.
  • The work of becoming more equitable, inclusive, and diverse within our congregations is justice work. If we cannot do this well, we cannot be effective as justice partners.
  • When the Commission on Institutional Change was appointed, we were asked to examine the events around the hiring of the Southern Regional Lead in Spring 2017.
  • A growing awareness of the power of unconscious bias is pervasive across many settings. The fact that a vocal minority of Unitarian Universalists continue to deny the existence of unconscious bias is both disturbing and discouraging.
  • We live in a world of change. The pace of change is now at an unprecedented level accelerated by shifts in global economics and demographics as the world adjusts to a world economy and as the US prominence in that economy drops, signaling an “end of empire.”
  • Any discussion on reparations must begin with an acknowledgment of the ongoing genocide, oppression, and exploitation of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color so pervasive in the worldwide Euro-dominant, racist, capitalist system...
  • Many people of color did not wish to share their individual experiences with the Commission because their stories had been told and retold to no avail. Many told of having not seen any change in the systems that had injured them, and of their frustration in and unwillingness to continue to support such systems.
  • In spite of the promise of our movement, we still need to address the bias and oppression within our systems to build resilience in our living tradition for the times we are in and strengthen it for future generations.
  • In our work toward the beloved community, a search for a common language and clarity around the meaning of the words and terms used by those with diverging opinions is crucial. The work of the Commission on Institutional Change indicates that there will probably be no consensus on language, and yet...
  • By Commission On Institutional Change
    When appointed during the 2017 General Assembly, the Commission on Institutional Change was charged with working to identify and propose redress to issues of structural racism within the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Specifically, the charge adopted by the Board of the...
  • Collected recommendations from all sections of this report.

For more information contact administration@uua.org.

Like, Share, Print, or Bookmark