On Mystery

by Laura K. Secor

This week’s entry is a quote from the Touchstone materials for “Mystery”

Oh Divine Spirit by Rev. Tess Baumberger 

     Oh Divine Spirit,
healer of our hurts,
consoler of our sorrows,
vibrant light of happiness,
birther of all life
and gentle way of death,
hear our prayer.
We raise our hearts to you
as do the ancient redwoods,
rooted in the ground,
swaying in the wind.

     We praise and thank you for …life,
gifts of body and essence,
strength to bear life’s burdens,
grace to dance life’s joys.

We praise and thank you for …life,
gifts of eyes and heart
that fill with beauty smiling,
or with pain and sadness weeping.

     We praise and thank you for …life,
gifts of ears to hear
words of grace and wisdom,
to listen to and lighten
the burdens of others.

     We praise and thank you for …life,
our voice to sing out praises,
to speak our truths and visions,
to share our selves with others.

     We praise and thank you for …life.
gifts of all our senses,
rhythm of our heartbeat,
rise and fall of our breathing,
the will to live with passion, serenity, joy.

     Spirit, guide us to a deeper knowing
of your presence in the world.
Show us the deeper meanings
of the patterns of our years.
Help us regard ourselves and others
with eyes of calm compassion.
Teach us to learn patience
with their failings and our own.
Help us accept the mold and fashion
of our lives through marching years.

     In the names of all who perceive
your transcendent presence
in trees and brooks and mountains,
in work and play and resting,
in all moments and places between,
amen and blessed be.

Embracing an 8th Principle

by Rachel Keyo and Evan Wilson

Our Unitarian Universalist values call us to believe in a world where justice, equity, and compassion are possible. With eyes wide open to the ravages of a global pandemic, war, poverty, and hundreds of years of systemic racism and oppression, we can also see that much is needed to live out these UU values and create the world we covenant around. 

With the goal to build beloved community here at UUCW, as well as in our world at large, a taskforce of UUCW members is eager to add the 8th principle to our UU values here at UUCW. For more information, we invite you to read the announcement below that was made at church on February 28, as well as review more details in a proposal developed by the 8th principle taskforce

On February 27, members of the taskforce joined with hundreds of other UUs from across the globe to discuss the work of dismantling racism, oppression, and white supremacy within our Unitarian Universalist faith. The conference, called “A New Day Rising,” reminded participants and all Unitarians, that a new day is rising when it comes to reconciling with racial equity. We need to look back to the days and nights that have preceded, while courageously and accountably working towards justice in this new day and days to come. 

We are eager to engage with you and our faith in this journey.

~8th Principle Taskforce Members

Rachel Keyo, Mara Pentlarge (Side with Love Co Chair), Karen Stephenson, Dave Showalter, Evan Wilson (Side with Love Co Chair)

Announcement at 2/28/2021 UUCW Services

For those of you who may not know me, my name is Rachel Keyo.  I am here today to share with you the details of a discussion that has started to grow momentum within our congregation.  That is, the adoption of the 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism, which seeks to build a Beloved Community, by dismantling racism and other oppressions.

Our 7 principles, which are familiar to most, are our common belief and agreement on how we choose to be together in community.  The 8th Principle would be evidence that we are committed to dismantling systemic racism and holds us accountable to implement this into our practice.

The 8th Principle is as follows:

“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.”

In 1997 the General Assembly passed a resolution to integrate this commitment of the 8th Principle into our practices, thus creating a movement and urged congregations to do the same. To further this work, the 8th principle was introduced in 2013 for consideration by congregations and the Association, which are now preparing to consider adoption in 2022.

As UUs are rooted in social justice, we have a duty to take the time to understand the systems that may have been shaped by white supremacy and find ways to dismantle them. We have to address our own prejudices in order to get past them.  This will mean having uncomfortable and difficult conversations during this period of growth.

Some may say that because UUs are rooted in social justice and already believe that dismantling white supremacy and systemic racism is inherent in our faith, then why must we choose to adopt the 8th Principle and explicitly state this in our covenant? Well it is because the 8th Principle is evidence that we are committed to doing this work.  As explained on the 8th Principle website, 8thPrincipleuu.org, a person can believe they are being good UUs and following the 7 Principles without even thinking about or dealing with racism or other oppressions.  The 8th Principle corrects this by holding us accountable to our commitment.

Over the next several months, we will hold conversations, watch films, possibly hold a speaker series, partner with community organizations to provide educational opportunities to discuss, grow and learn.  We will then present the adoption of the 8th Principle as a congregational vote in June 2022 during our Annual Meeting. We invite your questions, comments and concerns.  

Please feel free to contact me, Karen Stephenson, Mara Pentlarge, Evan Wilson and Dave Schowalter to share your thoughts.

Thank you.

7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism:

1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

8th Principle: “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 accountability dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”