A New 8th Principle

We did it! After over two years of hard work by the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Dismantling Racism Study Group, we have a new principal to add to the seven we’ve had for close to forty years. When the study group presented their final report in May of this year, they included the adoption of an 8th principal.

On Saturday November 27th, 2021, at a Special Meeting, Canadian Unitarian Universalists voted to approve adding an 8th Principle to the current seven Principles:

“We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote: Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions.”

This is an historic moment in our Canadian Unitarian Universalist history! At no other time in our history have we had such spirited conversation about who we are and what is important to us. Yes, there was procedural wrangling that went on. Yes, the process was not perfect. Yes, it was hard work. After all was said and done, 95% of the delegates voted in favour of the motion.

And here we are. Breathing. Taking in the significance of what we have just voted on and what it will mean for our national identity, for our congregation, and ourselves. We have a choice moving forward. We can choose to pay attention to this vote – to take it seriously and to roll up our sleeves and get to work. The other option available to us is to stick our head in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t make much of a difference in our own lives or in the life of our community.

There’s a story of the Shambhala Warriors who emerge when weapons of unfathomable destructive power and technologies lay waste to the world. They are warriors who are armed with only two weapons: compassion and insight. As Unitarian Universalists we have made a choice to communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions. Opportunities to do so exist anywhere where – in our congregations, in the schools, in financial firms we deal with, small non-profits, the hospital. We can use our compassion to open our hearts and insight to choose our battles and discern where we can have the most impact with our actions.

As we engage in our theme packet question of what it means to be a people of stillness, I invite each one of us to take time in the stillness to contemplate this new principle and what it means in your life and in the life of this precious community, South Fraser Unitarians.