The Board has been busy with setting goals, forming mutual agreements on how we will govern, reviewing the budget and reviewing suggestions for changes to the Bylaws.
Recently, the major focus has been on the budget. The Town Halls were well attended and folks asked good questions. The Congregation will vote on the 2023 calendar year budget on December 4 at the Congregational meeting. There will also be a vote on a Bylaws amendment to make the number of Board members a bit more flexible, along with the quorum needed to hold a meeting. Hope to see you all there.
The Budget Committee has been meeting at least twice a month since September to bring what we feel are the best numbers that support staff and minimize the amount of money to be drawn from the Endowment fund. The goal for pledges from members and friends is ambitious but we are beginning a new chapter at East Shore and hope you all will consider supporting the budget goals.
A large determinant for the needed Endowment draws is a lack of an operating reserve. Over the past few years there have been a number of unbudgeted expenses – Holly House sale attorney fees, various costs associated with the changing of ministerial staff and transitions, consultant fees and building maintenance costs, all of which have depleted the operating fund cash balance.
We hope to create a long term reserve plans for operating, facility maintenance and ministerial expenses so the Endowment fund can be stabilized, yet available for expenses when needed. A wonderful goal would be to grow the fund so all major facility expenses could be covered by the gain on the funds. That would however require substantial fresh deposits to the fund. While we want our congregants to be around for a long time, it would be great if many of you include a designated donation to the Endowment fund in your trust or will.
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” Maya Angelou
In June 2023, ESUC members will be electing a new slate of Board members and Nominating Committee members. These members are charged with guiding and leading our congregation, as we live our UU and ESUC values. The Nominating Committee is asking you, the members of ESUC, to nominate people you feel have the qualities, skills and commitment to lead us.
We are embarking on an exciting path with our new minister, Reverend Maria Cristina. We are seeing a renewed energy in our community and combined with our need to be together after years of Covid isolation. If you know of someone who would be willing to serve our loving community, please let us know. And if you feel you are that person with the giving heart and spirit, please nominate yourself.
For more information, please look over the volunteer descriptions in the link below. These descriptions will give you an idea of the position and time commitments. We have also included a link to our nominating forms.
If you would like to send something directly to the Nominating Committee, please email us at [email protected] Or contact any member of the Nominating Committee: Ryam Hill (chair), Marcy Langrock, Bill Carlstrom, Elaine Cox and Beth Wilson, with David Langrock as our Board liaison. Any or all of us are more than happy to answer questions you may have about the process or the opportunities available.
General Assembly is the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists, where we conduct business of the Association, explore the theological underpinnings of our faith, and lean fully into our mission and principles. Please join us Wednesday, June 21 through Sunday, June 25, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and/or online for this 5-day immersive experience where we participate in inspirational worship services and informative workshops, reconvene with friends and colleagues, and explore our bustling exhibit hall. GA is an unforgettable experience for the thousands of UUs who attend. Meet us online or in Pittsburgh and you’ll leave with renewed energy and innovative ideas to share with your congregation and community-at-large! Watch this video for more.
This Year’s Theme: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
General Assembly continues to be a time for us to gather, in body and spirit, to honor our history, celebrate who we are, and forge our future together. The General Assembly and Conference Services Team leads the initiative to ensure that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are woven throughout, from planning to fruition.
Over the next several months leading to General Assembly 2023, we will highlight aspects of DEIB through a series of videos. Our hope is that you will embrace the theme and activities and continue discussions, both in and outside of the UU community. American developer John Seely Brown said, “conversation is a catalyst for innovation.” Be an innovator and champion for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility at General Assembly 2023 and beyond.
Be A Delegate
Delegates are very important to the democratic process at General Assembly. It can also be a truly meaningful experience. Here are two testimonials from past delegates:
“Three years ago, I attended GA at the urging of my friend, Manny Brown. The experience opened up a new, larger world to me of Unitarian Universalism. In fact, the experience was so changing for me that I have continued to go as a delegate representing East Shore every year since. I plan to do so again this next June. I would love for more congregants of East Shore Unitarian Church to experience that wider world. And to consider being a delegate to insure appropriate representation. Delegates do not have to pay to attend General Assembly’s business meetings. Delegates can attend virtually which is how I have attended for the last three General Assemblies and plan to again next June. Please consider being a delegate; or, at least, going to General Assembly 2023.” – Maury Edwards
“Attending GA in person as a delegate is energizing and full of meaning. You experience the energy of hundreds of other UU’s thinking about the future of our faith in one room. There are people to talk with, including VIPs. Sessions give you the context and rationale for the issues you are voting on. You can speak to the question being voted on, or not, and amendments that have been approved in “mini-assemblies” are included in the final voting of any particular item. I found I needed to expect preparation before GA. After all, an educated voter makes better decisions. Preparation was worth it for the meaning full topics to vote on and a sense of community living into UUism!” – Grace Colton
If you would like information about serving as a delegate, please contact Nicole Duff.
What’s On The Ballot? New UUA President and Changes to Article II!
For a few years now, there has been an investigation of our national bylaws as is required by those bylaws every fifteen years. Included in that study are the Seven Principles voted in at General Assembly in 1984. Also included in that study is the language of the Eighth Principle that East Shore voted to adopt in 2020. After an intensive and exhausting study, the Article II Commission, the body responsible for making recommendations for bylaw change, is ready with its recommendations. Those recommendations can be found in this report, that will be presented at General Assembly in June of 2023 for a vote by delegates from across the United States. A history of how the Seven Principles were adopted in 1984 can be found here: How the UU Principles and Purposes were adopted. If the report has a 50% approval vote by those delegates, there will be a one-year discussion period. At General Assembly 2024, the recommendations will be put to a vote for approval by that year’s delegates. If the approval reaches a 66.67% approval vote, our bylaws will be amended to reflect the report’s recommendations.
We also will be voting in a new UUA President. Rev. Susan Frederick Gray has been a wonderful leader, but her term concludes in June. In November, the UUA nominated Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt. You can read more about her and the announcement here.
The Annual Giving Tree is wrapping up this Sunday, December 11! Bring those gifts back by that Sunday! All new, unwrapped gifts with tags securely fastened should be returned to the foyer and delivered to one of our eager elves! We have generously provided over 220 tags with gifts for our six agencies: Childhaven, Friends of Youth, Hopelink, Youth Care, Sound Mental Health, and The Sophia Way.
From infants to seniors – you have given a bit of joy this holiday season that will be treasured throughout the year! If shopping is not your thing, you may also contribute money and the eager elves will gladly take care of the shopping! Thank you one and all for your generosity! The Giving Tree ministry team of Kathi Moritis and Janice Pock (co-chairs) Nancy Bissell, Marian Hayes, Ralph Lutz, Milly Mullarky, Peggy Phillips, Elaine Richlie and Trish Webb thank you one and all!
On October 21, over a hundred children, teachers, and parents gathered to celebrate the devoted founding teachers of the Friendship School in Kharang, Northeast India. Kong Rophimai Kharbithai and kong Throida Shylla retired from lead teacher roles after 15 years of sustaining the growth and development of the English medium primary school they conceived in 2007. We have partnered with the sponsoring Kharang Unitarian Church ever since. Rev. Darihun Khriam, Minister to the Kharang church, unveiled a large portrait of the school and its founders commissioned by the East Shore Partner Church Ministry team. There was lots of dining, dancing, and singing – more than just a ceremony, our partners held a party! Friendship School classes are to resume in February, after the worst of the rainstorms and winter cold, with two newly appointed teachers joining the five continuing faculty.
Khlanhiwot Lamare, a beekeeper, entrepreneur, and longtime mentor of Khasi Unitarian youth, is the new President of the Friendship School Managing Committee. Bah Khlan reports they’ve established a new source of supplementary income to supplement contributions from East Shore members. They are asking Kharang Unitarians to donate two kilograms of rice per family monthly, with proceeds from the sale to be split equally between the Friendship School and other needs of the Kharang Unitarian church. They have also obtained some additional land from the Village Committee, and Bah Khlan has financed recent improvements to the school compound.
In his most recent WhatsApp messages to us, bah Khlan wrote “We are blessed to have you as our overseas family….I need you all, your encouragement, help, and support…. Please be by my side”. Among all the things we’ve gained through our years of friendship with the Khasi Unitarians, the appreciation, loving welcome, and joy they share as they host us in their homes or we exchange news and photos on WhatsApp is truly exceptional. May it inspire us to do the same!
We are pleased to announce that Women Helping Women is now joining with the ESUC Women’s Perspective Ministry Team! Here are continuing and upcoming activities:
We were able to keep up support of The Sophia Way homeless women during Covid by having two teams cooking and delivering monthly meals from their own homes. The Community cooking for Sophia Way MAY start up in January IF we find someone to take the lead. We are hoping to resume cooking together, using the North Room kitchen.
We are also joining the Giving Tree project organizing holiday gifts for Sophia Way residents. Look for more information soon; the project gets underway in November.
We are resuming our tutoring sessions at Lake Hills Elementary, which we did for 3 1/2 years pre-Covid. We already have 10 ES members who have expressed an interest in joining this rewarding and helpful project. Lake Hills school is located 5 minutes from East Shore. It is a low-income school with 60% of the students whose native language is not English.