The 8th Principle
A New UU Principle
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and UU congregations affirm and promote Seven Principles, which we hold as strong values and moral guides. An 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism has been proposed for adoption by the UUA:
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.
The UUA is engaged in a multi-year formal process to study and eventually vote on a change to the UUA bylaws to add the 8th Principle, probably with wording changes.
In the meantime, more than 200 UU congregations have already adopted the 8th Principle. In doing so, they are not just expressing their support for adding the new principle; they are also committing to take action to dismantle racism and other oppressions.
The 8th Principle at FUUSN
The FUUSN Board of Trustees identified key strategic priorities for the 2020-21 year, and wrote:
The Board is committed this year to initiating a process and a program for integrating the existing seven principles and the proposed 8th principle more closely into the day-to-day life and activities of our community. As part of this effort, we have committed ourselves to supporting the adoption by the congregation of the proposed 8th principle.
The following resolution as was overwhelmingly approved at the FUUSN annual meeting on June 12, 2022:
We, the members of First Unitarian Universalist Society in Newton, 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.
FUUSN Committee for Adoption of the 8th Principle
The Racial Justice Ministry (RJM) Steering Committee formed a team to lead FUUSN through the process of adoption: Brooke Foucault Welles, Judy Friedman, Kevan Hartshorn (chair), Bill Horne, Debra Minard, Naomi Wolfe.
Bill Holland (RJM), Chris Krebs (FUUSN Board), and Rev. Erin Splaine supported their efforts.
Our congregation-wide learning and conversation during 2021-22 included a Sunday service on January 30, a series of listening circles to discuss these and related issues in depth, and discussions by email and at the RJM table during Sunday social hour.
We welcome your feedback on the 8th Principle at FUUSN. All members of our committee are happy for you to reach out to us with questions, concerns, or thoughts.
You can also submit anonymous feedback to us online HERE.
Paula Cole Jones and Bruce Pollack-Johnson developed the 8th Principle, and they invited us to adopt it in its entirety. Speaking about what its adoption would mean for UUs, Paula Cole Jones said:
Building the Beloved Community is a journey of collectively learning to see and overcome the limitations and barriers of historical inequalities and exclusion…. We are saying that we promise to work at being a religious community that is free of racism and oppression, a religious community that is on the spiritual journey of building the Beloved Community…. The multicultural Beloved Community would no longer be implied, as it currently is; it would be explicitly stated as part of our spiritual journey.
(Paula Cole Jones speaks about the 8th Principle – YouTube)
This website answers many questions people have: 8thPrincipleUU.org
Black Lives of UU (BLUU) urges adoption of the 8th Principle HERE.
Bruce Pollack-Johnson speaks about the 8th Principle: In Conversation: Bruce Pollack-Johnson – YouTube
In Putting on Armor, Shannon Lang writes about her experiences as a Black Woman in a UU congregation.
Hear from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in congregations that have adopted the 8th Principle: The 8th Principle Matters to Members of the BIPOC Community | LeaderLab | UUA.org
Ministers at congregations that have adopted the 8th Principle share insights: Ministry and the 8th Principle | Vimeo
How congregations are incorporating the 8th principle into their RE programs: Religious Education and the 8th Principle | LeaderLab | UUA.org
The UUA established the Commission on Institutional Change in 2017 to “conduct an audit of white privilege and the structure of power within Unitarian Universalism, and analyze structural racism and white supremacy culture within the UUA.” It produced its final report In 2020: Widening the Circle of Concern.
Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray writes about the Beloved Community: Our Faith Calls Us to Antiracist Work
At General Assembly 2021, delegates passed this Statement of Conscience: Undoing Systemic White Supremacy: A Call to Prophetic Action | UUA.org
History: How the UU Principles and Purposes were adopted | UU World Magazine
A congregation in Port Townsend, WA, debated whether to adopt the 8th Principle: The 8th Principle – Pro and Con – Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Facebook group moderated by Paula Cole Jones: 8th Principle UU Learning Community