Your Board is committed to listening and to transparency. The Congregational Meeting on October 24 was the first of three this year. In February, we will hold a discussion centered on church finance. There will be more informational town halls and more bylaws changes to vote on as we try to simplify our documents, make us more flexible and more welcoming. We are starting a Study Group to look at Growth at East Shore. If you’d like to be a part of this effort, contact any Board member.
The Board is creating a group to examine what we might do to grow our membership. What have others done? What does the UUA say? What obstacles are in the way? Recommendations will be given to the Board in the Spring of 2022. To be a part of this critical cause, contact me by November 6.
November 6 at 10:00 am we resume the Board’s First Saturday listening sessions. Bring the kids and let their glorious voices be heard. Zoom info available online.
The Ministerial Search Team is working at an astonishing pace to get our Congregational Record ready for the UUA in a month. Please go out of your way to thank Leta Hamilton, Julie Heise, Connie Hirnle, Martin Cox, Ann Fletcher, David Baumgart, and Dave Langrock.
As part of our search process, almost 50 East Shore members attended the Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop last month. There’s a great article elsewhere in this Beacon, so I’ll only add that the presenter warned against typecasting a minister, seeing them only as their most visible identity. We do them and ourselves a disservice by cubbyholing them. The UUA says we will be doing good work if we “acknowledge and grasp the level of pervasive implicit and overt bias in our system and commit to compassionately and actively challenging bias within the life of the congregation.” Addressing our sexism, and our conflict avoidance is serious work that awaits.
Around fifty years ago Bob Dylan wrote “…you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone. For the times, they are a changin’.”
Of course his words are no less true today. I hear that none of us likes change. We also know it is here to stay. A new minister brings change. The pandemic, the shocks and shifts of climate extremes remind us of larger change and how deeply intertwined our destinies are. We have to adapt and we want your voice in how that happens. Please speak what you need to belong at East Shore.
It’s been hard to feel a feel a sense of community over Zoom. Uncertainty sometimes seems permanent. It’s easy to feel discontented. When I hear about member grumblings (East Shore is too this, not enough that, going too fast, moving too slow) I wonder if we’re just seeing each other too narrowly, focusing on certain parts. At another conference: Risk and the Courage to Bridge, I heard a similar idea. We each hold many identities and yet we overlooking the humanity we share.
Reaching out, bridging across imagined divides, is risky. The risk of not bridging is even scarier. I’ll try to bridge and hope you do the same. We are a community, held by our Eight Principles of aspiration, love, justice, and courage. Given the threats we might feel outside, I’ll close with the words, attributed to Ben Franklin in even more turbulent times, “We must all hang together or we will surely hang separately.”
Yours in faith and in covenant,
Mike Radow, Board President