The 8th UU Principle at Follen

The 8th UU Principle Guides Our Journey Towards Spiritual Wholeness

At our annual meeting on May 25, our congregation will vote on whether to adopt the 8th Principle, a multifaceted and antiracist commitment that captures the spiritual values of our denomination.

The 8th UU Principle:

We…covenant to affirm and promote: journeying towards spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.

Every part of how this principle is worded has deep meaning. In an effort to unpack its message, a Q&A will appear in this newsletter every other week to explore one concept at a time.

Week of March 31: How do we dismantle racism in ourselves?

The 8th UU Principle highlights our commitment to be aware of how white supremacy culture is a part of us because we live in a culture dominated by white supremacy thinking. Dismantling racism within ourselves is a life long educational journey. While most of us aspire to promote equal opportunities for all, it is more challenging to understand at increasingly deeper levels how much we have absorbed by being part of a culture that has historically valued white ways of being above all others. The following ideas are some of the ways in which we may begin to dismantle racism in ourselves.

  • Take advantage of opportunities to examine our own beliefs 

  • Explore how foundational lies and unjust outcomes of racism harm people of all colors, both practically and spiritually

  • Take courses and workshops on how to identify white supremacy thinking that elevates one group above another

  • Seek out multiple cultural perspectives

  • Understand the significance and importance of our Black Lives Matter banner

  • Work with community organizations to include/highlight the contributions of people of color 

  • Partner with people of color on various projects of similar concerns

Week of March 17: What does it mean to “accountably dismantle racism”?

The mechanisms of racism are deep seated and crushing in our country: dismantling them will be difficult. As UUs, we hold ourselves accountable to do what we can. Our  actions show we do not rest easy while racism poisons everyone, regardless of their color. At Follen we will continue to:

  • Offer programs and courses on dismantling white supremacy and bring our new-found awareness to our interactions and practices as a community

  • Commit to our resolution: Advancing Follen as an Antiracist Congregation

  • Educate ourselves about racial justice through Food for Thought programs, films, book discussions, etc.

  • Hang a banner in front of the church proclaiming “Black Lives Matter”

  • Work with community organizations to understand and publicize the contributions of people of color and to learn about that community’s involvement in slavery

  • Follow the lead of people of color in partner with them in the fight for just and equitable practices

  • Using the “equitable pause” in our meetings

Week of March 3: What is the meaning of “Beloved Community”?

Beloved Community in relationship to the 8th Principle refers to an interdependent coming together of people from diverse backgrounds and experiences where there is love, mutual respect, and care.  It is the reaching out to invite all people into our community.  We would recognize, focus, and embrace the strengths, talents, and skills of individuals and realize the richness that diversity brings to our congregation. It would be a community where everyone feels safe, seen, and loved; where they are free to be themselves and give of their gifts in a safe and loving community. If we can accomplish this in our individual UU communities, there is the hope that it could extend beyond the boundaries of our church into the communities of the world. Ideally, it would embrace the aspirational vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. that the human family could live whole and reconciled, where everyone could share equitably in the earth’s resources. He foresaw a world in which all forms of bigotry and prejudice would be replaced by concern for the wellbeing of all.  Economic and social justice are the two pillars of Beloved Community while Inclusiveness in which all are embraced and none are discriminated against are fundamental to its concept. 

Week of Feb 17: What does “journeying towards spiritual wholeness” mean?

“Journeying towards spiritual wholeness” refers to the recognition that UUs are a spiritual community that seeks to expand our understanding of ourselves, our connections to one another, and the interconnection of all things. The 8th Principle guides our journey toward spiritual wholeness by recognizing that racism disrupts and breaks these connections, requiring us to move towards healing in ourselves and in our communities. It is the understanding that anti-racism and anti-oppression is spiritual work.

To learn more or to get involved with Follen’s 8th Principle working group, please email Paula Mathieu at