Article II Study Commission

What Is the Article II Study Commission and Why Is It Important?

Mr. Barb Greve and Elandria Williams, co-moderators of the UUA Article II Study Commission standing at a microphone
Mr. Barb Greve and Elandria Williams, Co-Moderators of the
UUA Article II Study Commission

Our denomination’s bylaws are undergoing a periodic review process that includes a new look at our Seven Principles. The process will be completed during the next two annual Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assemblies, with opportunities for individuals and congregations to provide input.

The UUA bylaws were adopted in 1961 when the American Unitarian Association merged with the Universalist Association. It was challenging to pull together the competing interests of each faith, and there was a mandate to review the bylaws every fifteen years. The last time our bylaws were revised was in 1987.

At General Assembly in 2019, the Article II Study Commission was “hereby charged to review Article II of the UUA Bylaws, and propose any revisions that will enable our UUA, our member congregations, and our covenanted communities to be a relevant and powerful force for spiritual and moral growth, healing, and justice.”

Section C of Article II is the part of the bylaws that addresses our Principles and Sources. From the UUA website: “The Principles guide our actions and priorities, encouraging us to ‘affirm and promote’ core values, while our Sources provide the context and grounding for those Purpose and Principles. This Article states our purpose, our very reason for existing. Section 2.3 commits us to being inclusive, and to replacing barriers that have kept some people and groups from full participation in our faith. Article II ends by ensuring freedom of conscience, and prohibiting creedal tests.”

This revision process is already underway. The Article II Commission consists of six members who have been engaging in extensive study and reaching out across our faith for input into this important grounding of our faith since January 2022. They presented extensively in the business section of the General Assembly (GA) in June 2022 and solicited input in multiple ways at GA.

They will be continuing this process over the fall of 2022, and will present a document for review to the UUA Board of Trustees in January 2023. After the board reviews it, this new document will be placed on the Business Agenda at General Assembly in 2023, and must be passed by a simple majority. The final vote to adopt these revisions will occur at General Assembly 2024, and must pass by a two thirds majority.

It is not too late to provide feedback and suggestions to the Article II Commission. But we first need to educate ourselves and engage with the process that embodies the living tradition of our faith.

There are lots of resources on the UUA website for further study, and we will sponsor more opportunities at UUC starting in October. How we will engage is not yet clear, but if you have questions or suggestions please contact Meta Thayer.

~Meta Thayer, on behalf of the UUC Delegates to the 2022 UUA General Assembly