What is the proposed 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism?

We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:

… [the 7 Principles]…

8. 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.

That sounds complicated! How can I “accountably dismantle racism” and all the rest?

A great starting point is to participate in a Living the Pledge to End Racism (LTP) training. There will be three trainings this year, on a variety of days, times, both in-person and virtual. Learn more here: firstuucolumbus.org/LTP-registration

If you’d like to get a taste of what the longer Living the Pledge training will be like, join us for a short Racial Microaggression Training on September 25 from 10-10:50am during Community Hour. If you plan to attend, please watch these very short videos before you come:

You don’t have to register to attend, but if you register by clicking here, we will send you a reminder email with the links to the videos 🙂

Why do we need an 8th Principle?

Racism is a key justice concern both in our broader society and within UUism and has had a persistent presence. This means we need to commit to a persistent response to it.

Aren’t the ideas behind the proposed 8th Principle already implied by the 7?

The ideas may be implied, but they have not been applied by our congregation or by the Unitarian Universalist movement as a whole. As a religious community, we really struggle with applying our first seven principles in the area of race, as evidenced by several significant historical events, including the Empowerment Controversy of the 60s and 70s, which resulted in many leaving Unitarian Universalism. The current 7 Principles also emphasize values of individuals. The 8th emphasizes values of a “diverse multicultural Beloved Community,” which require us to “dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

What if we don’t like the wording of the proposed 8th Principle?

  • The current draft of the 8th Principle is supported by Black Lives of UU, Allies for Racial Equity, and hundreds of UU congregations.
  • The importance and urgency of the 8th Principle’s message is greater than that of the precise wording
  • Adopting the 8th Principle as a congregation is likely to be a temporary measure that shows support for the larger UUA process of incorporating the message of the 8th Principle into Article II (which includes UUA Principles, Purposes, and Sources) in a significant way.

There are already anti-racist initiatives happening in the UU universe; why do we need to add an 8th Principle?

Since our founding and history is as a denominationally white congregation, we are constantly being pulled to the comfort of the status quo. We need the intentionality and accountability of the 8th Principle.

Will adopting the proposed 8th Principle require that we all become activists?

The 8th Principle does not require each of us to become an activist by engaging in public protest or joining one of the First UU social justice groups. Just like the other 7 Principles, we each contemplate these and integrate them into our lives individually. Some from our congregation may form partnerships in the larger community, while others may focus on looking within First UU to examine how we truly create a more beloved community for all. And some may provide support from their armchair by gaining deeper understanding and showing solidarity.

We might consider how each of us interprets and lives out the other 7 Principles individually as we think about adopting another principle. At times, First UU groups or the congregation make decisions, prioritize resources, or develop relationships based on one of the 7 Principles. This will also occur if the 8th Principle is adopted. We may establish goals or priorities based upon any one of the Principles, including ways to confront racism within and beyond our First UU community. (adapted from FAQs of University Unitarian Church (UUC) in Seattle, WA)

When were the 7 Principles adopted?

Adopted in 1984 in Columbus, Ohio.

When was an 8th Principle suggested, and by whom?

The 8th Principle was written by Bruce Pollack-Johnson and Paula Cole Jones. Their bios are below:
Bruce Pollack-Johnson is a longtime member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration in Philadelphia, PA and Allies for Racial Equality (ARE.) Pollack — Johnson is also a longtime member and leader in Racial & Social Justice.

Paula Cole Jones is a senior management consultant and former Racial & Social Justice Director for the Joseph Priestley District (now Central East Region.) She is the founder of ADORE (A Dialogue on Race & Ethnicity) and a former president of DRUUMM (Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries.) Jones is the author of “Encounters: Poems About Race, Ethnicity and Identity,” published by Skinner House Books.

What is the UUA process for adopting the proposed 8th Principle?

An Article II Study Commission has been established by the UUA to review the principles and purposes. Paula Cole Jones, co-author of the 8th Principle, is a member of the commission. The Study Commission will present its recommendations related to the 8th Principle and the other UU principles to the UUA Board of Trustees in January 2023 for inclusion in the business of the 2023 UUA General Assembly. It is anticipated that the meaning and intent of the 8th Principle will be reflected in the recommended principles. The 2023 UUA General Assembly is expected to vote on the proposed changes. If that proposal wins a majority of votes at the 2023 General Assembly, it will go before the 2024 General Assembly for a final vote, which will require 2/3 majority for adoption.

What is the First UU process for adopting the proposed 8th Principle?

During the 2022-2023 church year, the Anti Racist Allies will provide opportunities for First UU members and friends to learn about the 8th Principle. These opportunities will include sharing about the 8th principle in Sunday Services, meeting with groups and committees to present the text of the 8th Principle and answer questions, and holding cottage meetings to go into more depth. At the First UU Annual meeting, we hope that we will be ready to hold a vote on whether First UU will adopt the 8th Principle. Having this conversation as a church will also provide direction for delegates to the 2023 UUA General Assembly on whether to vote for adoption of the Article II revisions.

Which Ohio (local) congregations have adopted the proposed 8th Principle?

  • Akron, Youngstown, Cleveland, Kent (Cleveland and Kent adopted it on May 22, 2022)
  • SouthWest UUs in N. Royalton adopted on June 12, 2022
  • West Shore UU Church in Rocky River, OH (6-19-22)
  • Maumee Valley UU Cong., Bowling Green, OH (fall 2021)

Where can I find more information on the 8th Principle?

Go to https://www.8thprincipleuu.org for more information. The private Facebook group 8th Principle UU Learning Community has up-to-date information on happenings with the 8th Principle. To request to join the group and be approved to be able to view the content in the private Facebook group, click here: facebook.com/groups/8thprinciplelearningcommunity/about

How many congregations have adopted the 8th Principle?

As of June 16, 2022, according to the 8th Principle UU Learning Community private Facebook group, the 8th Principle has been adopted by 218 UU congregations or organizations. They are listed here:

1. Restoration. Phil, PA
2. Honolulu, HI
3. All Souls, DC
4. Annapolis, MD
5. Goodloe, MD
6. Richmond, VA
7. Rockville, MD
8. UU Washington Crossings, NJ
9. Frederick, MD
10. Cedarhurst, MD
11. Gettysburg, PA
12. UU Ministry for the Earth UUMFE
13. BLUU
14. ARE
15. Arlington, VA
16. Media, PA (UUCDC)
17. Germantown PA
18. Lubbock TX
19. 3rd Church of Chicago
20. Boise, ID
21. Lexington, KY
22. Berks Co, Reading, PA
23. Akron, OH
24. UULM-MD
25. Columbia MD
26. Summit, NJ
27. Coastal Virginia Beach
28. Olean, NY
29. Cherry Hill, NJ
30. Baltimore, MD
31. Davies, Temple Hills, MD
32. Brookfield, WI
33. Princeton, NJ
34. First UUC Nashville, TN
35. Yarmouth, ME
36. White Plains, NY
37. Rockton, IL
38. Ginger Hill UUC, PA
39. Shreveport, LA
40. JUUstWA (WA State Action Network)
41. Fullerton, Ca.
42. Monmouth Co., NJ
43. MUUSJA (MN UU Social Justice Alliance
44. UU Congregation of South County, RI
45. UU Church of Savannah, GA
46. Bloomington, IN
47. Shelter Rock, NY
48. Monterey Peninsula, CA
49. Tucson, AZ
50. St. Cloud, MN
51. Lancaster, PA
52. Evanston, IL
53. Bloomington, MN
54. Salt Lake City, UT
55. Pocatello UU Fellowship
56. Sacramento, CA
57. FUS of Minn, MN
58. FUNJ, Fanwood, NJ
59. Foothills, CO
60. Long Beach, CA
61. Queens, NYC
62. UUC Midland, TX
63. Lakeland, FL
64. UU Massachusetts Action Network
65. Youngstown, OH
66. First Unit. Portland, OR
67. Central Delaware
68. FU Rochester, NY
69. NW UU, Southfield, MI
70. Accotink, VA
71. Danbury, CT
72. River Road, Bethesda, MD
73. Morristown, NJ
74. Fairfax, VA
75. North Shore, Deerfield, IL
76. Blacksburg, VA
77. Las Vegas, NV
78. Urbana Champaign, IL
79. South Fork, NY
80. Church of the Larger Fellowship
81. San Francisco, CA
82. Paint Branch, Adelphi, MD
83. Montclair, NJ
84. Lexington, MA (FPLex)
85. 4th Universalist Soc., NYC
86. Cambridge, MA
87. Huntington, NY
88. Amherst, MA
89. UUCC Glen Allen, VA
90. Summit UUF, Santee, CA
91. Cedar, Lane, Bethesda, MD
92. Eugene, OR
93. UUs for Justice in the Middle East
94. East Shore in Bellevue, WA
95. Phoenix, AZ
96. Poughkeepsie, NY
97. Silver Spring, MD
98. Ridgewood, NJ
99. Berkley, CA BFUU
100. Palomar in Vista, CA
101. Hudson Valley
102. Rockford, IL
103. UURISE
104. Brewster, MA
105. Taunton, MA
106. Franklin, MA
107. Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem, PA
108. FUU San Diego, CA
109. First Unit. Louisville, KY
110. New River UUF, WV
111. UUs for Social Justice (UUSJ)
112. San Dieguito, Solana Beach, CA
113. Long Beach, CA
114. Unitarian Church of Charleston, SC
115. Columbine UU Church of Littleton, CO
116. First Unitarian Society of Denver, CO
117. Olympia Brown, Racine, WI
118. St. Croix UU Fellowship, St. Croix Falls, WI
119. Westport, CT
120. UU Young Adult Revival Network
121. Tennessee Valley UU Knoxville, TN
122. UU Action Network New Hampshire
123. Neighbourhood UU Congregation in Toronto, Canada
124. First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, Canada
125. Waynesboro, VA
126. UU Church of Las Cruces, NM
127. Hamilton, Canada
128. Statesboro, GA
129. Unitarian Church of Montreal
130. First Unitarian Church of Toronto
131. Don Heights Unitarian Congregation (Toronto)
132. Canadian Unitarian Council
133. Peoples Church UU in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
134. UUs of Coastal Georgia (Brunswick)
135. UUCQC (Davenport, IA) (2021)
136. Oakland, CA
137. Wildflower Church in Austin, TX
138. Ames, IA
139. Plattsburgh, NY
140. Unit Society of New Haven
141. UUC of Utica New York
142. Pacific Southwest District (PSWD)
143. Medfield, MA
144. DRUUMM – one of the early endorsements
145. UUC of Tippecanoe County, IN
146. UU Peace Ministry Network (10-2021)
147. Inland Northwest UU Community, Spokane, WA (6-2021)
148. UU Class Conversations
149. Prairie UU Church, Parker, CO (1-23-22)
150. First Parish Cohasset, MA (12-2021)
151. Community Church of New York (1-30-22)
152. University Unitarian Church/Seattle (1-30-22)
153. UU Church in Idaho Falls (1-30-22)
154. UU Church of Montpelier, VT (2-13-22)
155. Unitarian Society in East Brunswick, NJ (2-13-22)
156. UU Area Church in Sherborn, MA (3-7-22)
157. UUC Swannanoa Valley in NC (4-3-22)
158. Clearwater, FL (4-10-22)
159. Northlake in Kirkland, WA (4-10-22)
160. Baton Rouge, LA (4-24-22)
161. Channing Memorial Church, Ellicott City, MD (4-2022)
162. River of Grass UU Congregation, Davie, FL (5-15-22)
163. Main Line Unitarian Church (5-15-22)
164. UU Church of Columbia, MO (5-15-22)
165. UU Meeting of South Berkshire (5-15-22)
166. First Parish in Needham, MA (5-15-22)
167. Winchester Unitarian Society, MA (5-15-22)
168. UU Church in Desert Rancho Mirage, CA (5-15-22)
169. UU Church of Fresno, CA (5-15-22)
170. UU Church of East Aurora, NY (5-15-22)
171. UU Fellowship of Athens, GA (5-15-22)
172. Texas UU Justice Ministry (5-14-22)
173. UU Church of Manchester, NH (5-22-22)
174. First Univ. Church of Southold, NY (5-22-22)
175. UU Church of Tallahassee, FL (5-22-22)
176. First Univ. in Denver, CO (5-22-22)
177. Tapestry UU Church of Houston, TX (5-22-22)
178. UU Church of Ellsworth, ME (5-22-22)
179. Edmonds UU Congregation, WA (5-22-22)
180. Neighborhood UU Church, Pasadena, CA (5-22-22)
181. UU Congregation of Cleveland, OH (5-22-22)
182. UU Church of Kent, OH (5-22-22)
183. Birmingham Unit. Church, Bloomfield Hills, MI (5-22-22)
184. Albany UU, NY (5-22-22)
185. First Unitarian Church of Austin, TX (5-22-22)
186. First Unitarian Society of Ithaca (5-25-22)
187. Follen Church in Lexington, MA (5-25-22)
188. UU Society of Coralville, IA (5-29-22)
189. First Parish of Watertown, MA (6-5-22)
190. UU Cong of Central Nassau, Garden City, NY (6-5-22)
191. First Parish in Concord, MA (6-5-22)
192. Second Unit. Church of Chicago (6-5-22)
193. UU Fellowship at Stony Brook, NY (6-5-22)
194. First Univ. Church of Minneapolis, MN (6-5-22)
195. First church in Jamaica Plain, Boston (6-5-22)
196. Westside UU Congregation, Seattle (6-5-22)
197. Mission Peak UU Congregation, CA (6-5-22)
198. UU Community Church of Southwest Michigan (6-5-22)
199. UU Society of Burlington, VA (6-6-22)
200. Unitarian Church of Staten Island, NY (6-5-22)
201. UU Congregation of Grand Traverse, MI
202. UU Fellowship of Topeka (12-2019)
203. The Unitarian Church of Hinsdale (6-12-22)
204. SouthWest UUs in N. Royalton, OH (6-12-22)
205. Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation (6-12-22)
206. UUs of Southern Delaware (Lewes DE) (6-12-22)
207. First UU Society in Newton, MA (6-12-22)
208. Towson UU Church in Lutherville, MD (6-12-22)
209. Chalice UU Congregation in Escondido, CA (6-12-22)
210. UU Church of Davis, CA (6-12-22)
211. UUs San Luis Obispo, CA (6-12-22)
212. Unitarian Church of Sharon, MA (6-10-22)
213. Oaklandon UU Church, IN
214. UU Church in Bowling Green, KY (May 2022)
215. West Shore UU Church in Rocky River, OH (6-19-22)
216. All Souls UU Church, Greefield, MA (6-19-22)
217. Maumee Valley UU Cong., Bowling Green, OH (fall 2021)
218. High Plains Church – Unitarian Universalist in Colorado Springs, CO (June 2022)

219. UU Church Canandaigua, NY (June 2022)
220. Stewardship for Us team of UU stewardship consultants
221. UU Church of Indianapolis (May 2021)