Formation of First Parish COIC

2021 COIC Charge

The First Parish Standing Committee charges the Commission on Institutional Change (COIC) to:

  • Assess congregational policies, practices and procedures for their alignment with our UU values of equity, inclusion, and diversity.
  • To engage First Parish members, friends and staff in identifying opportunities for systemic change that will help FPC realize itself as a place of radical welcome and anti-oppression work. 
  • To recommend action(s) that serve to dismantle white supremacy within the culture, practice, policies and procedures within FPC. 

Laying the Groundwork for a First Parish COIC (2020-21)

Team: Jan Power, Darien Smith, Holli White-Jones, Carl Proper, Lois Suarez, and Wendy Holt. This group worked to

  • Inform the entire congregation about the UUA COIC and their Widening the Circle of Concern report by meeting with FP groups, speaking with individuals, and expanding the content on this website.
  • Introduce language and nomenclature about systemic racism and social injustice.
  • Respond to any questions and concerns parishioners have about the proposed work of a FP COIC.
  • Generate interest in serving on a FP COIC.

2020 UUA Virtual General Assembly

GA (June 2020) was devoted largely to the Commission’s Report and related racial justice topics. Follow this link and scroll half-way down the page to view the Commission on Institutional Change Presentation to the General Assembly

First Parish’s General Assembly delegation of 14 met during and following GA. They reached a consensus that it is important for the First Parish congregation to learn about the UUA COIC, and that First Parish could benefit from undertaking similar self-examination. Most delegates worked together to formulate an approach for a First Parish Commission, and submitted a proposal to the Standing Committee and Howard to appoint and charge such a commission.

The Standing Committee has approved the proposal, and Howard and the staff are on board. 

2017 – UUA Commission on Institutional Change

At the New Orleans General Assembly in 2017, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Commission on Institutional Change was established and charged by the UUA Board of Trustees to conduct an audit of white privilege and the structure of power within Unitarian Universalism, and analyze structural racism and white supremacy culture within the UUA. The Commission was in place for three years through the Virtual General Assembly in June of 2020.

A report entitled Widening the Circle of Concern summarizes the UUA Commission’s findings and recommendations. The UUA also prepared a Study Guide to accompany the report. That guide, Widening the Circle of Concern Study/Action Guide guides Congregations through a similar process.