Since September, members of the 8th Principle Team have facilitated 7 learning circles for a total of 35 participants. Participants engaged in thoughtful, candid conversations about what the 8th principle means to them, explored the history of the 8th Principle, and shared their hopes, fears, and dreams for our congregation if it is adopted. The vote will occur at the June 4th congregational meeting. One participant reflected, “Instead of saying what we believe, it [the 8th Principle] says what we do: working to dismantle racism and other oppressions.” This work is a goal of our congregation as stated in the Racial Justice Advisory Council report to the board. It is an aspirational goal to implement over the coming years as we explore personal biases and work collectively to build a more inclusive, welcoming community.

You may be wondering: Racial Justice Advisory Council (RJAC) Report? What’s that? Great question! If UUAvl is to become the radically inclusive and welcoming congregation it is called to be, there is work to do. This work started with an internal assessment led by a board-appointed team of congregants in 2020. Their learnings and recommendations, the RJAC Report, were shared with the congregation and the board. One of the top recommendations was to engage the congregation in learning about the proposed 8th Principle and how it aligns with the work of liberation.

If you are not familiar with the 8th principle, please check out this basic information link. I encourage you to learn about the 8th principle and to consider what you imagine UUAvl will do differently if our congregation were to vote “yes.” Consider attending one of this month’s facilitated Reflection Circles: Sunday, March 19 at 9:30 AM (RE Commons) or 12:30 AM (Sanctuary). There is also a Zoom option on March 23 at 7 PM. Please RSVP to Rev. Claudia if you can participate in any of these circles.

And, please thank the 8th Principle Team that has been meeting monthly for almost a year and a half to organize materials for the circles, facilitate the circles, and offer a worship service focusing on the 8th Principle. Thank you, team, for your commitment and collaboration!

Nancy Bragg
Carol Buffum
Jeff Jones
Jensen Gelfond
Bernise Lynch
Ed Prestemon
Nancy Clark
Mary Alm, board liaison

With gratitude,
Rev. Claudia Jiménez
Minister of Faith Development
8th Principle Team, staff liaison