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”
95% of 104 delegates at the Special Meeting voted in favour of the motion.
We celebrate this moment as an act of good faith, an intentional step toward this aspirational future.
Margaret Wanlin, President of the CUC Board of Trustees said, “We respect and give thanks for the hard and dedicated work of many leaders, over many years, that brought us to this moment. We acknowledge the sacrifices, and losses, experienced by those marginalized persons who became disillusioned with, or left, our faith tradition prior to this vote. And we commit to live fully into the lessons of this work, as we learn how to be partners in accountably dismantling racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion.”
Rev. Anne Barker, President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada, adds, “When we look back to this moment in history, what will our next steps reveal? May the story show a determined and continued effort on the part of all Canadian UUs – to live fully into all eight of our Principles and to remain responsive to the growth and evolution of this living tradition.”
CUC Executive Director, Vyda Ng, in acknowledging that Unitarian Universalists don’t always agree and that this path has been challenging, said, “We need to remain in respectful relationship with each other, in covenant with each other, because covenant and relationship is at the heart of who we are and what we do.”
Rev. Shana Lynngood, Minister Observer to the CUC Board, closed the Special Meeting by recognizing that some of us have been committed to the work of dismantling racism for many decades, and for others, it has been a lifetime process. She ended with words by Dr. Martin Luther King from his book ‘Why We Can’t Wait’: “We need a powerful sense of determination to banish the ugly blemish of racism. We can, of course, try to temporize, negotiate small, inadequate changes and prolong the timetable of freedom in the hope that the narcotics of delay will dull the pain of progress. We can try, but we shall certainly fail. The shape of the world will not permit us the luxury of gradualism and procrastination.”
The work of dismantling racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion continues with this endorsement from congregations. Recommendations from the CUC’s Dismantling Racism Study Group are being implemented, which include adopting an 8th Principle, a willed commitment to anti-racism work demonstrated by an investment of resources at the national and congregational level, and creating/assembling anti-racism material for education and worship for congregations.