Congregational Poll: Results & Questions

On May 19 we held a congregational forum to get feedback from church members as our delegates head to General Assembly. As we shared recently, our delegates will be voting on the proposed amendment of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s bylaws. These bylaws reflect what it means to be UU. So it’s a big deal!

Our Poll

A poll was taken at the congregational forum that is meant to guide our delegates. Here are the results:

  • In favor of the new proposed Article II: 16 Yes, 6 No, 4 Abstain
  • In favor of amendment to add Peace value: 4 Yes, 14 No, 3 Abstain
  • In favor of amendment to add Reason value: 2 Yes, 14 No, 2 Abstain
  • In favor of amendment to change wording in Equity value: 18 Yes, 0 No, 3 Abstain
  • In favor of amendment to add sentence to Equity value: 17 Yes, 2 No, 2 Abstain

If both amendments pass for the Equity value, it would look like this:

“Equity. We declare that every person is inherently worthy and has the right to flourish with dignity,  love, and compassion.

We covenant to use our time,  wisdom,  attention,  and money to build and sustain fully accessible and inclusive communities.
Equity calls us to listen, understand, respect, and respond to one another.”

Article II Changes

If you missed this meeting and still have questions, you can reach out to our delegates. There is also a helpful FAQ webpage from the UUA. These are two questions that came up at our meeting:

What is Article II? Why is it in the bylaws?

Massachusetts General Law Part I Title XXII Chapter 180 Section 17 requires bylaws define the purposes to which the funds of the corporation may be applied. Article II of the Unitarian Universalist Association bylaws defines that purpose for the Association. As a membership organization of congregations, Article II has historically included the purpose for which congregations freely choose to be in relationships with one another through their Association. In 1961, this purpose was a dedication to key objectives, from 1985 to today it has been a covenant to affirm and promote a set of principles. Article II of the bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association, contains four sections. A definition of the purpose of the Association, the Principles and the Sources (currently), an Inclusion clause, and a Freedom of Belief clause. Only the purpose is required by Massachusetts law.

Are there governance changes that will happen for congregations or the UUA because of the changes proposed to Article II? Will these proposed revisions create other changes around congregational polity?

The Unitarian Universalists Association Board of Trustees asked legal counsel to review the Article II Study Commission proposal. Legal counsel found nothing in the proposed changes to Article II, that would change UUA governance nor its relationship to its member congregations. The structure of congregational polity in our governance including democratic practices, congregational call of ministers, the self-governance of congregations and their fiscal independence are delineated in other articles of the UUA Bylaws.

Is This Too Difficult for Children?

With regard to the concern that the new proposed Article II is too long and difficult for children to understand and remember, our Director of Religious Exploration, Tanya Webster, shared the version she worked with for the Age of Reason program the children just completed, including a video she created.

Children’s Overview of Shared UU Values in Proposed Article II by Tanya Webster, DRE

Our UU Values

We respect and value everyone,
and we act to ensure Equity.

We are kind in all we do
and we practice Generosity.

We embrace Pluralism,
seeking truths from one another.

As we Transform together
into the best we can be.

We show up for Justice,
inclusion, and democracy.

We dismantle racist systems and
build Beloved Communities.

We protect our Earth and all beings
from harm and exploitation.

We honor the Web of Life
and all of Earth’s creations.

We are Unitarian Universalists.

Did you know that our Director of Religious Exploration, Tanya Webster, designed this graphic?