February brings us to the Soul Matters theme of “Widening the Circle.” While I often prefer one word rather than a phrase for our theme, I am enjoying thinking about how we can explore widening our circle as UUs. One way is to take a look at Widening the Circle of Concern, a report put out by the UU Commission on Institutional Change in 2020. (Remember that year?) In the 2020 report, the Commission recommended engaging in an Article 2 study. Since then, an Article 2 Study Commission has been formed – not just because of the Widening the Circle report but also because our denominational bylaws call for it. While all this talk of commissions and reports might make it sound like boring denominational policy work, this is actually an exciting and important event in the life of Unitarian Universalism!
If you have been in Unitarian Universalist circles for much time at all, you know about Article 2. In fact if you ask any random UU to explain Unitarian Universalism, they will tell you about that article, even if they never mention it by name. Article 2 is the location in the Unitarian Universalist Association bylaws that include the 7 Principles and the 6 Sources of our faith tradition. Every ten or fifteen years, if we haven’t made any significant changes to the principles, the UUA board is called to commission an examination of the Principles and Sources. Our Principles have not changed since the addition of the 7th principle in 1985. This requirement to examine them gives us an opportunity to respond to changes in our tradition and in the world around us.
The task of the Article 2 Commission right now is to talk to as many people as possible. They want to know about the heart of what keeps us together as UUs, what are our values, what is our purpose. I encourage you to read more about them and even respond to their survey at http://uua.org/a2sc
When we think about what it means to be UU, broadly and as members of Tree of Life, we can more clearly understand what it might look like for us to “Widen the Circle” of our faith tradition. I invite you to join me in exploring these ideas this month.
Rev. Jennifer Gracen
Interim Minister Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation