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I want to tell you today about a movement in Unitarian Universalism called the 8th Principle Project, which is a grassroots part of our faith tradition’s work for collective liberation, and which is encouraging UUs across the nation in our shared work of becoming more free.
In 1984 our association voted to adopt seven principles to guide our shared life together, in which we would covenant together to affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Compelled by the spiritual necessity of work for collective liberation, Black leaders in Unitarian Universalism have proposed an 8th Principle: “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.”
143 congregations in our association have voted to adopt the 8th principle and add the work of collective liberation as a mandate for their spiritual life together. The Unitarian Universalist Association as a whole has a committee looking at the issue, and a vote likely will take place at the General Assembly in 2023.
And this year in a burst of synergy, our Board of Trustees and our high school youth independently expressed their desire to study and work toward our congregation’s potential adoption of the 8th principle. The board has commissioned me to create a series of study and conversation sessions, which we hope will lead to a vote at our annual meeting. And our amazing young people are ready to help lead us.
I would argue to you that we have already begun the work of embodying the eighth principle in our life together, with the help of partner organizations like Missouri Faith Voices, partners in ministry like the Rev. Dr. CW Dawson, and the passion of our members who show up when the topic at hand is racial justice and dismantling other systems of oppression.
And I would argue to you that there is still much to be done to ferret out the ways supremacy systems live on our culture and community and our own selves. We are only beginning to imagine true freedom. And I believe this community knows that this is deeply spiritual work… that we have begun to see the cost to our souls when supremacy systems abide – to recognize that there is freedom and thriving and connection and our very humanity at stake.
I’m excited to study this new principle together. I’m eager to continue this lifelong work together. I’m overjoyed to be on this freedom journey with you. I hope you’ll join me at one of this month’s events!
We will be offering four identical opportunities to learn about and discuss the 8th Principle Project of Unitarian Universalism. Please choose one and join us!
Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 16 at 12 p.m.
Sunday, March 20 at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m.
Please RSVP for your chosen date at https://uucc65201.breezechms.com/form/1b9f26.