Navigating Uncharted Waters: A Voyage Towards Inclusivity and Justice


by Antonio Ciolino

A New Chapter in Our Shared Journey
The proposed changes to Article II stand before us like a gateway to a new era in our shared journey as Unitarian Universalists. They are not random scribbles on a canvas, nor are they meant to erase our vibrant history. Instead, they serve as the brushstrokes of our shared future, painting a path in harmony with the evolving world and our cherished values. Our identity, unique as a patchwork quilt, is our strength, and it’s this identity that we seek to reinforce and accentuate as we stride forward.

Through the Prism of Systemic Racism
As Unitarian Universalists, we must recognize that racism is not a solitary boulder but a labyrinthine web that pervades the tapestry of our lives. Our commitment to dismantling this intricate system should be woven intricately throughout our principles, not merely reduced to a single stitch. The proposed changes to Article II recognize this reality, offering a fresh prism through which to view our commitment against racism.

Let’s not forget, Article II is not an ancient relic, but a living testament to our community’s evolution. Born in the 1960s during the union of Unitarian and Universalist churches, it has been a dynamic document, changing with the tides of our community’s needs and values. These principles and purposes were last revised in 1987. The proposed changes to Article II are an extension of this evolution, not a departure from our past, but a bridge to our future.

The Sacred Grove, Not the Marketplace
Our congregation is akin to a sacred grove rather than a business or a marketplace. While business models and market studies offer insights, they do not have the final say in our journey. We are not a corporation with customers, but a community with congregants. The goal of Article II is not to advertise our values, but to define them. It’s about illuminating who we are and who we aspire to be as a community.

Still, we cannot ignore the changing winds of our time. The rejuvenation at Heritage Church, the surge in new members, and the palpable energy in our congregation are signs of our continued evolution. To sustain this momentum, we must be proactive and open to change. We cannot merely tread water in the face of a rushing current. Like any living organism, we must adapt to our environment or risk stagnation and decline.

The Wind of Forward Momentum
Forward momentum is about more than numerical growth. It’s about the growth of our spirit, our compassion, and our collective resolve to make a difference. It’s about harnessing the energy of our congregations, the passion of our members, and the power of our principles to propel us towards a future that is more inclusive, more equitable, and more just. We must resist the inertia of complacency and embrace the wind of change that is beckoning us towards new horizons. The proposed changes to Article II are not about discarding our values but about ensuring they remain relevant and impactful in a changing world. They are about adapting our principles to the current time, so we can navigate change with grace and resilience.

The Journey Towards Personal Accountability and Racial Equity
The proposed changes to Article II are a reflection of our shared commitment to accountability and racial equity. They are the echoes of our collective voice, resonating with the call for justice that is central to our identity as Unitarian Universalists.

In the symphony of our shared journey, these changes serve as an important crescendo, amplifying our commitment to racial equity and accountability. They are not a departure from our Seven Principles, but an evolution of them. They are a recognition that our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every person must include a commitment to dismantling systemic racism.

These changes are not an end in themselves, but a means to an end – a more inclusive, equitable, and just community. They are a call to personal action, a challenge to each of us to live up to our highest values, and a promise of our shared commitment to making a difference.

Into the Uncharted Waters
Just as explorers of old ventured into the unknown with courage and determination, we too must embrace the potential of what lies ahead. We are not just passengers on this journey, but the navigators, charting our course through the uncharted waters of the future. We carry with us our shared values, our collective wisdom, and our unwavering commitment to justice and equity. The proposed changes to Article II are our compass, guiding us towards a more inclusive and equitable horizon.

As we steer our shared ship of principles and values into these uncharted waters, let us boldly embrace the winds of change, harness the power of unity, and set sail towards a future woven with the threads of inclusivity, equity, and justice. Our voyage has just begun, and the horizon promises a journey worth every brave step we take together.

Image courtesy of Antonio Ciolino.