Principles and Values

In case you haven’t heard, there will be a second vote this June at the UU General Assembly about whether to change Article II of our Unitarian Universalist Association bylaws.

Currently, Article II contains what we often refer to as our Principles and Sources. It is required that we examine these every 15 years to see if we believe these are still the best articulation of the covenant among our congregations. There have been proposals to change it over the years (it was adopted in 1986), but no substantive changes have occurred in a while. A few years go, there were more voices calling for change, so in 2021, the UUA Board of Trustees established a Study Commission to thoroughly examine it and propose changes. Full timeline and History

The final proposal, that will be voted on this June, is that this be the new “Article II” of the UUA bylaws. (Would you like to be a delegate to General Assembly? Send an email to

PROPOSED Article II Purposes and Covenant
Section C-2.1. Purposes
The Unitarian Universalist Association will devote its resources to and use its organizational powers for religious, educational, and humanitarian purposes. Its primary purposes are:

to assist congregations in their vital ministries,
to support and train leaders both lay and professional,
to foster lifelong faith formation and spiritual development,
to heal historic injustices,
to support and encourage the creation of new Unitarian Universalist communities, and
to advance our Unitarian Universalist values in the world.
The Unitarian Universalist Association will actively engage its members in the transformation of the world through liberating Love.

Section C-2.2. Values and Covenant
As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant, congregation-to-congregation and through our Association, to support and assist one another in our ministries. We draw from our heritages of freedom, reason, hope, and courage, building on the foundation of love.

Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared values. We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values through the spiritual discipline of Love.

Inseparable from one another, these shared values are:

Shared Unitarian Universalist Values

Image Description: This image is of a chalice with an overlay of the word Love over the flame, with six outstretched arms that create a circle around each of the core values and form a six-petal flower shape. Each arm is a different color, and clockwise they are: Interdependence (Orange), Equity (Red), Transformation (Purple), Pluralism (Blue), Generosity (Green), and Justice (Yellow).

[Suggested shift to Rule and recommended edits] The UUA may create visual representations of the values, which put love at the center and interconnect each value, and may periodically update that image. A version of this image shall be included, with image description, after “Shared Unitarian Universalist Values” in the published version of these bylaws.

We honor the interdependent web of all existence. With reverence for the great web of life and with humility, we acknowledge our place in it.

We covenant to protect Earth and all beings from exploitation. We will create and nurture sustainable relationships of care and respect, mutuality and justice. We will work to repair harm and damaged relationships.

We celebrate that we are all sacred beings, diverse in culture, experience, and theology.

We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love, curiosity, and respect.

We work to be diverse multicultural Beloved Communities where all thrive.

We covenant to dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression. We support the use of inclusive democratic processes to make decisions within our congregations, our Association, and society at large.

We adapt to the changing world.

We covenant to collectively transform and grow spiritually and ethically. Openness to change is fundamental to our Unitarian and Universalist heritages, never complete and never perfect.

We cultivate a spirit of gratitude and hope.

We covenant to freely and compassionately share our faith, presence, and resources. Our generosity connects us to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.

We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness.

We covenant to use our time, wisdom, attention, and money to build and sustain fully accessible and inclusive communities.

Section C-2.3. Inspirations
Direct experiences of transcending mystery and wonder are primary sources of Unitarian Universalist inspiration. These experiences open our hearts, renew our spirits, and transform our lives. We draw upon, and are inspired by, sacred, secular, and scientific understandings that help us make meaning and live into our values. These sources ground us and sustain us in ordinary, difficult, and joyous times. We respect the histories, contexts, and cultures in which these sources were created and are currently practiced. Grateful for the experiences that move us, aware of the religious ancestries we inherit, and enlivened by the diversity which enriches our faith, we are called to ever deepen and expand our wisdom.

Section C-2.4. Inclusion
Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories. We pledge to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be an Association of congregations that truly welcome all persons who share our values. We commit to being an Association of congregations that empowers and enhances everyone’s participation, especially those with historically marginalized identities.

Section C-2.5. Freedom of belief
Congregational freedom and the individual’s right of conscience are central to our Unitarian Universalist heritage.

Congregations may establish statements of purpose, covenants, and bonds of union so long as they do not require that members adhere to a particular creed.

To Read More:

Why Unitarian Universalists are Reexamining Article II 

Stitched with Love: A Faith-Based Discussion for UUs on the Proposed Revision to Article II  

As Unitarian Universalists Reassess Core Beliefs, Article II Study Commission Reflects on Progress Made