Rev. Sharon Wylie – Minister’s Message for December, 2021

The following is an excerpt from Rev. Sharon Wylie’s sermon “Our UU 8th Principle” offered on November 7, 2021:


When we travel somewhere different, not everything makes sense there because the norms and traditions of another culture are foreign to us. And we, the travelers, are slightly uncomfortable, right? Outside our comfort zone, unsure, uncertain. That’s how you really know you’re having a cross-cultural experience. You will be uncomfortable and even a little confused. But that’s okay because that’s why we left home to travel somewhere new.


We are accustomed to thinking of church as a kind of home, somewhere we are comfortable. But the 8th principle reminds us that we actually came to Unitarian Universalism to be called to our best selves, to be transformed, to be inspired to do and be more than we would be on our own. Ours is absolutely an uncomfortable faith tradition. We wouldn’t be here if we were people who wanted to be given simple answers to hard questions, and we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think we really can make the world a better place.


If we adopt the 8th principle and commit ourselves to the work it calls us to do, we will indeed be travelers in a strange new land. Some of us may be excited to go to that new place, and some us may be anxious and even fearful. That’s okay.


I need to be candid with you that I am absolutely passionate about adopting the 8th principle. Before I was your minister, I was someone who came to Unitarian Universalism because I wanted to be part of a religious community where my multiracial husband and I could feel that antiracism work was central. I grieve the ways that Unitarian Universalism has sometimes fallen short of our stated ideals, and I am excited that our denomination may make a commitment to antiracism part of the principles I have treasured since I first read them. Making this change to our principles will be a very big deal.


But let me also be clear: My enthusiasm for adding this principle at the denominational level does not mean I am here to push for what we decide to do as a congregation. What is important to our community is the discussion and consideration we will give to this topic in the coming months. Maybe we’ll vote to adopt it, maybe we won’t. As your minister, I’m invested in us having a good discussion and a good process, and I’m grateful to our congregational leaders who are serving on the 8th principle task force.


I hope you will join me in opening your hearts to the work we have ahead of us.


Blessings and love to you,