Love at the Center: New UU Statement of Values Passes after Momentous General Assembly Delegate Vote

Love at the Center: New UU Statement of Values Passes after Momentous General Assembly Delegate Vote

The years-long democratic process culminated with debate and the GA vote. A two-thirds majority was required for approval.

Elaine McArdle
detail of a colorful art quilt with a flaming chalice design in the center
© Peg Green


However we vote, we put love at the center, unflinching, insistent: this free faith we so cherish reveres the past and trusts the dawning future more. We believe in evolution—unfolding always, not unraveling—and revelation is not sealed.

Rev. Victoria Safford, in a reflection
before the final pre-vote discussion of Article II at General Assembly

After a democratic process involving thousands of Unitarian Universalists discussing the faith’s values and core theology over the past three-plus years, delegates at General Assembly 2024 voted decisively to approve a new statement of values and beliefs for Unitarian Universalism.

“This is a historic moment for Unitarian Universalism, as we move our living tradition forward to focus on shared values that will help promote liberation, radical inclusion, and communal care both within our church and across society,” said UUA President Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt.

“Thousands of UUs put in countless hours of hard work to discern, discuss, and debate the direction of our faith tradition. This work was done carefully, thoughtfully, and thoroughly. And that is something that all UUs can and should be proud of. Additionally, this demonstrates how functioning democratic processes can be used to create change that is just and equitable. Everyone who wanted to be involved had the opportunity to provide input and make their case. This language of shared values is all the stronger and more reflective of who Unitarian Universalists are today because it was a shared process. Thank you to all who were a part of this process.”

"This language of shared values is all the stronger and more reflective of who Unitarian Universalists are today because it was a shared process."

The faith’s new expression of shared values was adopted by a vote of 2,025 (80.2 percent) to 499 (19.8 percent) with 21 abstaining at General Assembly 2024, held online June 20-23.

The new values are Equity, Generosity, Interdependence, Justice, Pluralism, and Transformation, centered around Love.

A two-thirds vote was required to approve the changes. Four amendments were also voted on, but only one was ultimately incorporated. Two amendments would have added additional Values: "Reason and the Responsible Search for Truth and Meaning” and “Peace as a UU Value,” but were voted down. The other two were proposed edits to the description of the Shared Value of Equity. One would have added “Equity calls us to listen, understand, respect, and respond to one another” but failed to gain enough votes.

The only incorporated amendment changed the Equity description to read, “We declare that every person is inherently worthy and has the right to flourish with dignity, love, and compassion.”

UUs at congregations across the country engaged with the proposal over the past several years, including through GA workshops, small-group meetings, board workshops, board meetings, and the Amplifying the Charge program, launched in early 2024 to prompt dialogue and intentional study about the proposed bylaws changes. The UUA offered several resources for congregations as they considered what was most vital to the faith.

The Shared Values flower appears in the final proposed revision to Article II, which will be voted on during GA 2024.
Shared Values Flower
© Tanya Webster (

The statement of values reflects changes to Article II of the UUA Bylaws, which include its “Principles and Purposes” as the foundation of all the work of the UUA, its member congregations, and its covenanted communities.

Reviewing core values is a faithful act that expresses Unitarian Universalism as a “living tradition,” said Carey McDonald, executive vice president of the UUA.

Unitarian Universalist Association bylaws mandate that Article II be reviewed every fifteen years. It has been revised numerous times over the history of the UUA, with the last wholesale revision in 1987.

In 2020, the UUA Board of Trustees appointed an Article II Study Commission, which received input from thousands of UUs around the country before presenting, in early 2023, a proposal for changes to Article II. An overwhelming majority of delegates at GA 2023 voted to advance the proposal for more study and reflection by UUs (a simple majority was required under the bylaws) and to create the opportunity for UU congregations to propose amendments to the proposal, before a final vote at GA 2024.

Individual UUs and their congregations are welcome to continue to hold and value the Seven Principles and Six Sources, which were adopted in 1984, as a meaningful part of the faith, just as some have adopted the Eighth Principle on their own, McDonald said. The Eighth Principle specifically calls out antiracism and anti-oppression as central to congregational life and UU values.

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