A year ago today, the Ministerial Search Committee was on pins and needles as the names of the ministers who were considering East Shore had not yet been released to us. Think of that, no one on the committee knew the name, Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa this time last year. To those who are so new to our community that you didn’t know that you are only slightly newer than our amazing minister, we say “Welcome! We are thrilled you are here!” To everyone old and new, staff, members, and visitor co-conspirators, we add “Well done!” As the year comes to an end, we have much to celebrate with joy. And no one person, nor one committee, but rather we as a community have collectively made this amazing year at East Shore happen. (See pg. 6 for more examples!)
On the Board, we have just completed our first four months in our current composition. You read that right: just four months. Yes, the elected members of the Board along with Nicole and Rebecca have been together now since late June, but it wasn’t until mid-August that we became whole, welcoming back Amanda Alice from paternity leave and welcoming Rev. María Cristina officially to East Shore. During these short four months as a complete Board we have made productive use of our time. Most important to me has been in building our relationships within one another and as a Board. These relationships that we are building have been and will continue to be fundamental to everything we do. Relationship building is hard and heart work. We have experienced joy and sorrow, celebrations and healthy conflict. We are a work in progress, but only in intentional relationship can we do the important planning and collaborative governance work that are our collective duty. Only on the foundation of our relationships will we be able to support the work we have ahead of us as a community to achieve our church goals for 2023.
As we move into 2023, I anticipate many opportunities for the congregation to grow in relationship with one another; working toward our goals, having conversations about our big open questions, and in our many ministries. I invite everyone in the East Shore community to engage deeply in these opportunities. As just one example starting on January 15 is our series of Transforming Hearts which is directly connected to our goal around establishing deeper connections with LGBTQIA+ work in our community. Whatever work you engage in this coming year, may it bring you joy, and may you humbly and courageously do the hard and heart work that will grow the foundational relationships that will serve you and the community for years to come!
With Love and Gratitude,