A substantial portion of the business meetings at this year’s General Assembly (GA) in June were devoted to the discussion of the Article II Revisions Proposal. A large number of amendments to the proposal were presented, discussed, and voted on by UU delegates from around the country during GA week. Several of the proposed amendments did pass, which made small but meaningful changes to the wording in the proposal.
After this process, the General Assembly voted to give preliminary approval to the Proposed Article II Revisions. Of the 2,109 delegates online and in-person who voted on this matter, 1,816 (86.3%) voted to approve, and 289 (13.7%) voted against the revisions.
Because the Unitarian Universalist Association by-laws specify that changes to Article II must be voted on in two separate General Assemblies, this vote does not actually change Article II this year. This vote initiates a year of further study on the proposed changes, where more amendments can be proposed. In June of 2024, the General Assembly will make the final vote for or against this revision package, and if it passes with a two-thirds majority (67%), then the changes will actually be made.
The Article II draft below was prepared by a UU minister colleague of Reverend Kate to help congregations understand where the text of Article II stands right now as we enter a period of further study and consideration. While the Study Commission has not yet released the full text of what was approved in June 2023, with the amendments from this year’s GA inserted, after combing through the Amendments that were passed, this is a likely, not definite final text:
ARTICLE II PURPOSES AND COVENANT
Section C-2.1. Purposes.
The Unitarian Universalist Association will devote its resources to and use its organizational powers for religious, educational, and humanitarian purposes. Its primary purposes are to assist congregations in their vital ministries, support, and train leaders both lay and professional, to foster lifelong faith formation and spiritual development, to heal historic injustices, to support and encourage the creation of new Unitarian Universalist communities, and to advance our Unitarian Universalist values in the world.
The purpose of the Unitarian Universalist Association is to actively engage its members in the transformation of the world through liberating Love.
Section C-2.2. Values and Covenant.
As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant, congregation-to-congregation, and through our association, to support and assist one another in our ministries. We draw from our heritage of freedom, reason, hope, and courage, building on the foundation of love.
Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared values. We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values through the spiritual discipline of Love.
Inseparable from one another, these shared values are:
Interdependence. We honor the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
With humility and reverence, we covenant to protect Earth and all beings from exploitation, creating and nurturing sustainable relationships of repair, mutuality, and justice.
Pluralism. We celebrate that we are all sacred beings diverse in culture, experience, and theology.
We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love, curiosity, and respect.
Justice. We work to be a diverse, multicultural Beloved Community where all thrive.
We covenant to dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression. We support the use of inclusive democratic processes to make decisions within our congregation and the society at large.
Transformation. We adapt to the changing world.
We covenant to collectively transform and grow spiritually and ethically. Openness to change is fundamental to our Unitarian and Universalist heritages, never complete and never perfect.
Generosity. We cultivate a spirit of gratitude and hope.
We covenant to freely and compassionately share our faith, presence, and resources. Our generosity connects us to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.
Equity. We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness.
We covenant to use our time, wisdom, attention, and money to build and sustain fully accessible and inclusive communities.
Section C-2.3. Inspirations.
As Unitarian Universalists, we proclaim that direct experiences of transcending mystery and wonder are a primary source of inspiration. These experiences open our hearts, renew our spirits, and transform our lives.
We draw upon and are inspired by sacred, secular, and scientific understandings that help us make meaning and live into our values. We respect the histories, contexts, and cultures in which these understandings were created and are currently practiced. These sources ground us and sustain us in ordinary, difficult, and joyous times. Grateful for the experiences that move us, aware of the religious ancestries we inherit and enlivened by the diversity which enriches our faith, we are called to ever deepen and expand our wisdom.
Section C-2.4. Inclusion.
Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories. We pledge to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons who share our values. We commit to being an association of congregations that empowers and enhances everyone’s participation, especially those with historically marginalized identities.
Section C-2.5. Freedom of belief.
Congregational freedom and the individual’s right of conscience are central to our Unitarian Universalist heritage.
Congregations may establish statements of purpose, covenants, and bonds of union so long as they do not require that members adhere to a particular creed.”