The 8th Principle

The Eighth Principle

Adopted by Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster (UUCL)

UUCL Mobile in Archway

On May 16, 2021, UUCL voted at our congregational meeting to approve a resolution presented by the 8th Principle Task Force: to adopt the 8th Principle in our congregation. The resolution recommits us to justice, equity, and compassion in our relationships – and in addition, clearly states our desire to work against racism and other oppressions.

The 8th Principle: We 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.

UUCL now joins the growing list of UU congregations approving the spirit and intent of the proposed 8th Principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

“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.”

Frequently Asked Questions

The Beloved Community 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.”

Doesn’t the first principle of the UUA Covenant already address this concept?

Although the first principle affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person, it does not specifically call us to action to address racism and other oppressions that are harmful to human worth and dignity. This is what the 8th Principle does!

The first principle has existed for many years, and yet racism persists within our minds, within our congregations, and within our denomination. The 8th Principle also asks us to examine the idea that “I can’t be racist, I’m a UU”.

Can we change the Beloved Community 8th Principle wording?

We are being asked to adopt the proposed wording of the 8th Principle as it stands. As of April 2021, over 40 UU congregations (with many more voting in the coming months) have adopted it with the same wording. Individual congregations adopting the 8th Principle with identical wording show unified support for the 8th Principle and preserves the intent and spirit behind it!

It is likely that the exact wording will change before it is proposed by the Article II Study Commission to be voted on at the General Assembly (GA) in 2022. GA delegates may have opportunities to suggest changes to the wording, as well. Since questions about the wording of the final principle will be deferred to the GA, we are able to focus on what the principal asks us to do!

Why is it important for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to adopt an 8th Principle?

The most compelling reason is that members of color have asked the association to adopt the principle to commit us to take action in dismantling racism and other oppressions. Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) and Diverse Revolutionary UU Ministries (DRUUM) have urged the UUA to adopt the 8th Principle. Adopting the Beloved Community 8th Principle makes it clear that all UUs strongly support the long-term work of ending racism and other oppressions while decentering the white perspective.

Why is it important for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster (UUCL) to adopt the Beloved Community 8th Principle?

“If we want to be relevant … if we want to be a life-saving faith … if we are the people who we say we are, then we need to get behind this.” – Rev. Viola Abbitt

The 8th Principle calls us to actions that will welcome, include, and empower our Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) members and friends while committing us all to actively addressing biases and decentering whiteness in our lives and in our congregational life together.

To our non-BIPOC identifying members and friends: Your stories and contributions are recognized, valued, and loved, and the 8th Principle does not seek to erase that. Rather, adding the 8th Principle to our covenant ensures our BIPOC member’s and friends’ stories and contributions are also being shared, respected, valued, and loved.

Our congregation has been promoting and working for racial justice and healing for decades. This resolution will make the ideal and practice of Beloved Community part of our identity going forward and will provide a process for accountability.

Adopting the 8th Principle means that we preserve the spirit and intent of the 8th Principle in our covenant as a congregation now, regardless of how long it takes to be codified by the UUA.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

Can we change the Beloved Community 8th Principle wording?

Paula Cole-Jones and Bruce Pollack Johnson, co-authors of the 8th Principle, have been leading monthly 8th Principle Learning Community Webinars with attendees from all over the country! We invite you to listen to Unitarian Universalist Youth and People of Color about why this cannot wait, and to Ministers and Leaders discuss the impact of the 8th Principle along with some of the unexpected opportunities it’s created. See the link below to access these recordings on our webpage, and to join the next live webinar on May 19th, 2021 contact Michele Capobianco at mrapczyk@gmail.com. All are welcome and we encourage you to attend if you are able!

Unitarian Universalist Church - Lancaster, PA

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