Update on the Eighth Principle

by Ann Carden

The 8th Priciple of the Unitarian Universalists

In May 2022, our UU Marin Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the proposed eighth principle.
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

They did this because:

  • they fully support its intent,
  • they recognize that racism continues to divide and negatively impact our nation and our UU congregations, and
  • they respect the wisdom and honor the experience of those who have drafted the principle and have asked us to adopt it as part of our covenant with one another.

The board plans to bring the proposed eighth principle to the entire congregation for a vote at our June Congregational meeting. They are hoping for a similarly unanimous vote of approval from members.

To date, 220 UU congregations have decided to be in covenant with this principle. For most, it took a year or more of soul searching and heartfelt conversations before their decision to adopt it as part of their covenant with one another and to put it into action within their fellowships and surrounding communities.

The current UUA common read, Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism, by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin, tells the stories of five UUA member congregations of different sizes, located in different parts of the country, serving different demographics, as they grappled with accepting this principle and establishing task groups to implement it the most realistic way for that particular congregation. We encourage you to read it and, if possible, to join us in discussions (to be announced) of its meaning for our congregational decision.

Last year, our Adult Spiritual Development team offered a number of workshops and discussions introducing our congregation to the 8 th principle. These are some of the questions and concerns that were voiced in those sessions.

  • Why do we need another principle? Don’t the current principles include all forms of oppression?
  • Haven’t we done enough on racism?
  • What about all the other forms of oppression that need our attention and commitment?
  • The wording is clumsy and convoluted.

The questions and concerns of every member need to be respectfully heard. The issues are complicated and emotionally meaningful. They deserve deep discussion. Whatever your position about adopting the proposed eighth principle as part of our UU Marin covenant with one another, but especially if you have reservations, please, please reach out to one another, or to someone on the board, to discuss your concerns.

And when you do, please do so with

  • Deep listening to one another,
  • Authentic sharing of your perspectives,
  • Nonjudgmental acceptance of others whatever their perspectives,
  • and, of course, confidentiality.

Our hope is that we will find common ground to build the beloved community we all desire and deserve.