The Seven Promises: a Responsive Reading

When Unitarian Universalists talk about our Seven Principles, we like to think of them as a set of values that define our faith.  We like to note, of course, that there’s little in them that most reasonable people, whether they’re Unitarian Universalists or not, would reject, but we hold them up as, in some way, defining what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.

In fact, the Seven Principles are part of a covenant that Unitarian Universalist congregations make with each other.  As printed in large capital letters on one of the opening pages of our grey hymnal, the Seven Principles are actually prefaced with these words: “We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:”  So these are actually values that Unitarian Universalist congregations promise to uphold.

Of course, those same values can be affirmed and promoted by individuals, too, so in many Unitarian Universalist congregations the language of the Seven Principles has been adapted into what is often called the Seven Promises, a covenant that Unitarian Universalist individuals make with each other.  The Fellowship made its own version of the Seven Promises some years ago, and I’ve adapted it for use as a responsive reading.  I start it with what is essentially an eighth promise, based on our Fellowship’s own mission, and the Seven Promises follow, only in reverse order for reasons that I explain elsewhere.

Let us create a dynamic community that celebrates life and searches for truths,

for we honor minds that question, hearts that love and hands that serve.

Let us live lightly on the Earth, beginning with our church community,

for we respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Let us embrace others both near and far in hope and compassion,

for we lift up the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.

Let us remember that everyone bears responsibility for the health of our congregation,

for we affirm the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process.

Let us remain open to new ideas, knowing that we need not be afraid of change,

for we trust in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Let us respect individual religious paths, even those we do not understand,

for we aspire to accept one another and to encourage spiritual growth.

Let us treat others as we would like to be treated,

for we desire justice, equity and compassion in human relations.

Let us listen actively and speak and act respectfully to others,

for we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Advertisements

7 Comments »

  1. […] Looking down the playlist I noticed one called “I Seek a Principle Within” and the word “principle” caught my eye.  I hadn’t heard of such a hymn before, and I wasn’t familiar with the tune, […]

  2. […] same classical Universalist claim that we are all children of God.  And it’s no accident that the promise that goes along with that Principle is to “listen actively and speak and act respectfully to […]

  3. […] living tradition that is Unitarian Universalism is based on the truth that we are most human when we are in right relationship with one another and with the world around us.  For the fact of our interdependence is manifest in our Unitarian assertion that “We are all in […]

  4. […] before and after the vote.  The right to participate in shared decision-making is inseparable from shared responsibility for the health of the community, whether that community is one congregation or a whole […]

  5. […] https://acmillard.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/the-seven-promises-a-responsive-reading/ […]

  6. http://Www.Bwca.Net

    The Seven Promises: a Responsive Reading | Life's Too Short To Sing The Melody

  7. […] together our UU Principles and Sources with the four developmental threads of spirituality, ethics, UU identity, and faith, […]

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: