Ritual Correcting of the Second Source

Hello! My name is ___, my pronouns are ___, and I’m here to conduct the Ritual Correcting of the Second Source.

An open hymnal, most of the text and music blurred.

Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven Principles, which we hold as strong values and moral guides. As we live out these Principles, we draw from Six Sources, which were adopted by the UUA in 1984. The Second Source reads:

Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love

In 2017, the UUA General Assembly was presented* with an amendment to replace the phrase “women and men” with “people.” As you can imagine, a roomful of three thousand UUs couldn’t pass such a simple, obvious change without a half hour of discussion first. Some noted that back in 1984, it was a big deal that “women” came before “men,” and they hated to lose that record of our history of feminism. But considerations of inclusivity carried the day. Not only did the change support and include non-binary people, it also expanded the pool of prophets to include children and youth. Greta Thunberg and Anne Frank come to mind as prophetic sources of wisdom.

The amendment needed to pass twice—and did, in 2017 and 2018. The Second Source now refers to:

Words and deeds of prophetic people which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.

The Second Source has been corrected on the UUA.org website and in new UUA publications. However, existing printed versions of the Sources don’t self-correct. Hence, this ritual.

Please open Singing the Living Tradition, your gray hymnal, to the front, and flip 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 pages from the front. On the left side of the book is the list of the Seven Principles and the Six Sources. The Second Source, the one beginning “Words and deeds,” is still wrong.

You should find a pen on your seat, or a seat nearby. Please use it to neatly cross out the phrase “women and men” and write in “people” just above it. Writing in a book—a hardback book! with pen!—goes against everything we’ve been taught, but now is the time to do it.

Next, open Singing the Journey, your teal hymnal, and flip 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 pages from the front. Make the same correction. I’ll give you a minute.

Of course, not all our hymnals are in use today. In Sundays to come, if you get a hymnal that doesn’t have this correction, feel free to correct it.

And now let us all say: Hallelujah!

*This change was initiated by, and was a labor of love by, Rev. Jami Yandle, a non-binary trans chaplain.

About the Author

Margy Levine Young

Margy Levine Young is a life-long UU and a member of the Champlain Valley UU Society. She has taught the Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality course many times and served briefly as interim DRE. Margy has authored more than 25 computer books on topics from UNIX (Linux) to Microsoft Access to the...

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