Changes — as UU Pagans, lets flow with them and grow

Changes — as UU Pagans, lets flow with them and grow June 30, 2024


Recently, the delegates at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly passed the newly revised Article II of their bylaws. Having attended the General Assembly since before this review began I was watching the process with a close eye. The vote passed with 2025 (80.2 percent) of the delegates approving it. Now this blog is not a discussion on Article II necessarily, but one on changes. 

UUA General Assembly 2024 final results of Article II Bylaws. SCREENSHOT COURTESY OF ANN TRIP

Many UUs are not happy with these changes, that the UUA is dropping the seven principles and six sources. Or so they believe. This isn’t entirely true. They are no longer part of the bylaws. There is no reason that our own congregations cannot still use them. I think that many will. They are good teaching tools. Especially the eighth principle that mentions dismantling racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions. Our congregation wants us to incorporate that last one in our covenant groups’ charges.

Speaking of changes, the UUA decided to make the General Assembly in person every other year. In a way this makes sense, as it will always be a hybrid event for those who just can’t travel. This change has been incorporated with many events since the COVID-19 pandemic. Probably, it is the only welcomed change from the pandemic shutdown. Voting is easier too. If you cannot sit through the entire meeting, you still have plenty of time to cast your vote online. 

Sometimes these changes are not comfortable, they are hard to cope with, such as having an all virtual General Assembly. We may not be happy with it, but we adapt and make the best of it anyway. Somehow, it usually works out pretty decently in the end.

Trees changing color in autumn along a forested walking path within Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park in Oak Hill, Fairfax County, Virginia PHOTO BY FAMARTIN

First off, if we stay still we don’t grow. Changes happen, that’s the only consistent thing we know. Just like Paganism, as we grow we may decide to travel a different path, one more suitable for our needs. It doesn’t mean we are no longer Pagan, but maybe we decide that Eclectic is not for us. This has happened to me. I was Eclectic for many years and then after a very long thought, I decided on the Druidic path. And again, after 10 years or so, I realized that adding the UU path to that made a lot of sense. 

Changes happen all the time, we sometimes don’t notice them at first. When we cast a spell and send that energy out, sometimes it takes a while to show it is working. Especially, with healings, we don’t know until sometimes weeks after that we have helped. 

Growth and/or change is never comfortable; it’s new and different. Same with these bylaw changes, they do incorporate all our values, just some are more vague than others. Such as the sixth source. It doesn’t mean the UUA has dropped Earth centered traditions all together. They are now baked within the bylaws under different areas such as Interdependence, Pluralism and Equity. Granted, it would be nice to spell it out for those Pagans who may want to join the UU path. However, they will discover it anyway, I am sure.

This is why CUUPs chapters are so important. One thing we can do is get the word out that Pagans exist in UU congregations. Furthermore, not only do we exist, but in some cases are the backbone. We play prominent roles and have voting rights equal to everyone else’s. We serve as delegates, as board of trustee members, as leaders, even ministers in our congregations. No, we are not silent, nor should we be and we chose to be here.

Oak Trees in Winter PHOTO BY JOHN MORGAN

I heard that many UU members are considering leaving their congregations because of theses new bylaws. If they leave, it proves nothing. They will no longer have a voice at the next General Assembly or even in their own congregations. I guess I lucked out as the UU Congregation at Montclair, NJ held deep discussions on these changes. It seems that some congregations only held a

vote or didn’t even discuss them. The Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael, senior co-minister, spent a lot of time over the last two or three years discussing them with us. We broke down each paragraph one by one. Those of us who were not comfortable with the new bylaws understood them better.

There is no reason we cannot be a UU Pagan with these new changes. This is the beauty of our path and the UU one. In my opinion, they blend so very well together. 


The new bylaw changes are not set in stone. It is mandated that are reviewed and possibly revised every 15 years. I believe that we can look  them over sooner, if enough people want it. They will evolve and change again and again. As we grow as a spiritual practice so will the bylaws. We need to be present now more so than ever. Not to put these changes down, but to show that we are here. We can all work together. 

So, as the Brady Bunch sings, “When it’s time to change […], don’t fight the tide, go along for the ride.” That might be a corny tune but some of that song makes some sense. 

Remember, “we all come  from the Goddess, and to her we will return, like a drop of rain flowing to the ocean […]” This reminds us that we are all part of the ebb and flow. The only constant in life is change, usually for the better. Even if it is not the best choice, we take our lessons from the poorer choices, and change again.  

See also: Change Happens — Let It Roll — Go With The Ebb And Flow


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