East Shore Auction 2024: Blossoming Community Bursting Success!

East Shore Auction 2024: Blossoming Community Bursting Success!

Anyone who walked into East Shore’s sanctuary from the cherry blossom-filled driveway last Saturday night would have been dazzled by the conviviality and love on display at the ESUC auction, and the blossoming community inside its doors.

As a brand-new member, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the auction. I was asked to join the core auction team my second Sunday at church last October, and figured why not?  It was bound to be a great way to learn more about the church and its people.  Numerous folks told me that the auction is the most anticipated and popular annual event, and I assumed these were simply well-meaning comments intended to encourage attendance by new members.

Through participating on the auction committee and then the auction itself, I learned that this community, this blossoming community, is dedicated to providing financial stability that will enable the continued momentum of practicing love, exploring spirituality, building community, and promoting justice. Well over $50,000 was raised by just 173 registered bidders on Saturday night, including in the Fund a Need, most of the money needed to complete the planned North Room refurbishment.

On the day of the event, 39 volunteers from ages 12 to 82 united to transform the sanctuary into an event venue, prepare food, serve beverages, provide entertainment, clean up, and restore the sanctuary back to normal for Sunday service the following morning.

This outpouring of generosity shows a congregation coming together in loving support of each other, and looking towards a collective future; a beloved community facing in the same direction, honoring shared beliefs, and working as one towards a common mission.

Kari Leon
Auction Team Member

Repairs Completed to Sanctuary

Repairs Completed to Sanctuary

Last year we noticed a sagging support beam outside of the South side of the Sanctuary building. Closer inspection revealed a major section had rotted away over time due to water intrusion, leaving this critical supporting structure vulnerable to collapse. That would have significantly threatened the structural integrity our wonderful 1950s-era Sanctuary building, so we responded quickly with a plan for repair.

We used an engineering firm to assess load-bearing requirements to decide where to cut away the damaged parts and how to splice in the new beam section. They studied our blueprints and walked around and inside the entire building, marveling at the huge beams that run along the ceilings. Sometime when you are in the Sanctuary, take a moment to look up and see the beautiful wooden beams inside that are a wonder to behold for their powerful size and length! The engineers spent some time discussing just how the original builders managed to bring these huge beams on site and how in the world did they manage to install them!  So now in 2024 we can reflect in a moment in gratitude for the engineering prowess that created this building way back in 1951-1955.

The construction firm went to work, removing metal sheathing and installing temporary support beams.  I made sure the workers saved our metal spiky raccoon-deterrent strips that keep critters from climbing up on our roof and tearing the membrane up there, a feature we installed in 2014. The construction was halted a few times due to supply chain problems and weather, but the crew kept at it over several months. In stages they removed the three sections of rot (2 short rotten areas about 2 feet each, and one longer rotten area about 6 feet long). They brought in a huge beam section, about 18 feet long, and a couple of shorter pieces for the replacement process. I missed the actual day they hoisted it up to the right level, but it did take a number of strong persons working together to accomplish it and probably there was some salty language involved. Permanent vertical supports went in, and the whole thing has metal sheathing over waterproof sealants.  The bolts to hold this whole thing together are huge. It was really interesting to watch the work happen in stages.

I am so pleased to say that our Sanctuary beam repair project is finally done!  The total cost of the beam repair was $42,412, which was within the predicted cost of $40-$45K.  A huge thank you to East Shore folks involved in this project:

  • Celil Cakmak, East Shore’s maintenance lead extraordinaire, who noticed the sagging beam first and paid careful attention to project progress.
  • Dianne Upton, East Shore’s Facilities Manager, who masterfully coordinated campus scheduling with me.
  • The wonderful Facilities Team – Ralph Lutz, David Kappler, Leroy Smith, Bob Weiss, Ryam Hill – who helped install the initial temporary support and handled landscaping changes on the Grounds around the beam.
  • Finance Team and Board of Trustees – and especially Geri Kennedy for her leadership as Board Treasurer for creating and approving the new Building Reserve Fund that will in the future handle these big unusual campus repair and renovation expenses.

What’s Next – Building Up the Building Reserve Fund

If you want to help ensure the structural integrity of East Shore’s wonderful campus for years to come, consider donating now to the newly-established Building Reserve Fund. We will need significant funds going forward to help keep our buildings and grounds in good shape. We have a beautiful wooded 4-acre site with four commercial buildings that always need costly ongoing maintenance, repairs, and renovations. Our long-range strategic planning includes the financial component of maintaining our built environment. Right now, we have $131,100 in this fund with a goal for $160,000 by end of 2024. Please reach out to me if you have any questions about donating, my email is [email protected]. Thank you!

by Rebecca Chatfield, Director of Finance & Operations

Campus Aesthetic Team’s April show:  From Treasured Textiles, March 24

Campus Aesthetic Team’s April show:  From Treasured Textiles, March 24

At the tail end of Women’s History month, we celebrated textiles largely created and loved by women with a kickoff event for our Treasured Textiles gallery show.  After church service on Sunday, March 24, East Shore members brought their special textiles to share with the rest of the congregation in Spring Hall.  In case you missed the event, many of these items and related stories will be on display in the Sanctuary gallery during the month of April.

The Campus Aesthetics team (CAT) emerged as an outgrowth of the pre-Covid Gallery Committee. Since Rev. Maria Cristina arrived as our minister, we have hosted several exhibitions.  In 2022, Eastside Fine Arts Association held a show in the foyer, “Mindfulness in Plein Air Painting”.  East Shore member and painter, Barbara Van Dyke Shuman, had a solo show of her beautiful NW and SW landscapes.  We also displayed the work of Afghan artist, Abdul Habibi, who sought asylum in this country.  Although his visa to the US was denied, we are happy to report that he has rece tly been accepted by the German government’s Federal Humanitarian Admission program.  He and his family will be moving there shortly, insha’allah.

Along with members of the Indigenous Connections team, we arranged for the mural created during the 2021 Lummi Totem Pole journey to hang in our sanctuary on a temporary (thankfully extended) basis.

In 2023, our “Invisible No More:  Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and People” show highlighted the issue by featuring faceless felt dolls created by the Women’s Perspective in a workshop here led by Carolyn DeFord, a Puyallup tribal member.  This exhibition was subsequently displayed at Mercer Island, Kirkland and Issaquah libraries.

We subsequently showed the work of ceramicist and East Shore member, Warren Maruhashi.  This was a fitting tribute to honor his devotion to art and whimsical spirit.  Many of you undoubtedly treasure some of the pieces you came away with from that exhibition.

Just last month, on March 24, we held a kickoff event for this month’s GALLERY SHOW:  textiles created, inherited, designed, or purchased by our congregation’s members.  Textiles reveal elements of our lives and values that we are prepared to share with the world.   We hope you will enjoy these textiles now or soon to be on display in the Sanctuary building throughout April.

We also hope you will be inspired to consider ways your team might show East Shore members and visitors the love you have and the work you do.  All teams are invited to think about how you might want to display your work or the themes important to you:  Sacred Stitches, climate action, indigenous connections, grounds, Women’s Perspective, men’s groups, our youth group, children, families—everyone is welcome to share your ideas and together we can work out future displays.  Please share your ideas with us!

Contact any of us:  Barbara Van Dyke Shuman ([email protected]);  Marilyn Mayers ([email protected]);  Kathie Moritis ([email protected]); or Doug Strombom ([email protected])

What is the Right Relations Committee?

What is the Right Relations Committee?

We are a Board Committee that works for East Shore’s Board of Trustees and the congregation to improve relationships within the community of East Shore.  We do this in a number of ways including the 3 C’s – covenant, communication and conflict resolution.


The entire congregation is responsible to create, practice and uphold the Covenant.  The Covenant is the collective commitments that provide the landscape and inspiration for us to be our best selves in the ESUC Beloved Community.  In 2018, the congregation adopted a Church RR Covenant that is below and is a living document to be revisited and revised as needed.


Right Relations support/facilitate a range of communications that include emails, meetings, listening circles, town halls and restorative events.  We support direct communication and deep listening – individuals, pairs, groups and congregation wide.  Creating a space where all voices and perspectives can be heard is often at the heart of these communications.

Individually and as a group, RR continues to seek out relevant trainings with the goal of improving our own skills and sharing those knowledge/skills with the congregation.

Conflict Resolution

Tandi Rogers, UUA minister says “conflict is a faith formation opportunity and part of religious community and the human journey”.  RR hopes to normalize conflict at ESUC and help our congregation recognize, name and lean into discomfort, impact and harm.  The UUA RR training says “conflict that occurs within Covenant, means that we are prioritizing restoration of relationships over being proved right or wrong.”

Practicing with small conflicts helps us develop the skills and be prepared for larger conflicts if/when they occur.  Goals for conflict at East Shore:

  1. Direct communication with other person about conflict (no triangulation)
  2. Bring a friend if needing support to communicate with the other person directly
  3. Come to any RR member to get additional support

Upcoming Opportunities to Learn More About RR
April 28 Worship Service
Join members of the RR team after service for an informal discussion to learn more about what we do at ESUC including communication and conflict resolution.

Right Relations Committee
Susan McDonald
Milly Mullarky
Mark Norelius
Maury Edwards
Nancy Barnes
Amanda Strombom
Karin Elofson

Covenant of Right Relations, East Shore Unitarian Church (2018)

We respect and honor our beloved community, ourselves, and others when we:

  • Enter this space with a spirit of gratitude for this community and share it openly.
  • Hold this community as sacred, balancing our personal spiritual needs with those of others to preserve a brave and safe space.
  • Openly share our real selves, being vulnerable and trusting.
  • Seek the joy and richness of diversity of people, experiences and culture. Embrace the voices and leadership of marginalized people in all areas of the church.
  • Listen to others to discover their deepest needs and intent, with a willingness to be changed.
  • Speak our perspective with honesty and respect, recognizing and caring about the possible impact on others.
  • Commit to personal life-long learning of skills to help resolve and restore relationships through healing and forgiveness.  
  • Support the success of our staff, minister, board, and our congregational groups and committees.  
  • Strengthen and promote the values of our beloved community and Unitarian Universalism and carry them into the future and the larger world.
Dubai to Baku:  A Wisdom Keeper Delegation @ UNCOP

Dubai to Baku:  A Wisdom Keeper Delegation @ UNCOP

The Indigenous Connections Team* invites you to the Duwamish Longhouse (4705 W Marginal Way SW / Seattle) on April 20, 1pm, to hear about the work of the Wisdom Keepers, an international team of indigenous leaders and activists.  This is an opportunity for adults and youth to learn more about an indigenous perspective on climate change and the urgency combined with optimism that guides indigenous efforts worldwide. Please join us!

The Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center opens at 10 on Saturdays – come early to explore exhibits and browse the shop!

Please register for this free event at https://bit.ly/WisdomKeepers4-20-24
For more information, email Carrie at [email protected]

Jacob Johns (Akimel O’Otham and Hopi) and Jeff Ferguson (Spokane) will share stories and media related to their work as part of the Wisdom Keepers Delegation at the 2023 United Nations Conference of the Parties in Dubai (UNCOP28).

The Wisdom Keepers are pushing for the inclusion of indigenous perspectives in global climate policy discussions.  The delegation asks governments to prioritize the active participation of indigenous peoples while recognizing and respecting traditional knowledge and practices in climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.  The Wisdom Keepers promote holistic approaches that consider the well-being of workers, communities, and the environment.

During COP28 In Dubai, the Wisdom Keepers collaborated with peers in US Climate Action Network (USCAN), participated on panels, graced event openings, and brought spiritual depth to closings with their unique mix of song, dance, and prayer.

The Indigenous Connections Team is especially grateful to the Duwamish Tribe for their collaboration and for sharing the Longhouse with all of us.

This event is sponsored by JUUstice Washington (JUUstWA), a network of Unitarian Universalist congregations, organizations, and partners.  Local churches are participating, including University UC, Northlake UUC, and Woodinville UUC.

* Submitted by the Indigenous Connections Team:
Kristi Weir
Lynn Roesch
Marilyn Mayers
Erika Jackson Kirkendall
Donna Johnson (Woodinville UUC)
Kari Ann Hailey (ESUC and Northlake UUC)
Maury Edwards
Carrie Bowman

Khasi Hills Partnership Will Feature on May 5th Share the Plate

Khasi Hills Partnership Will Feature on May 5th Share the Plate

We in the Khasi Hills Ministry Team are excited that East Shore’s partnership with Unitarians in the Northeast of India will be featured at the upcoming Share the Plate event on May 5.  Rev. Morgan McLean, who heads the UUA’s international partnership program will present.  We will learn how the UUA is using inclusive methods to redefine our faith’s approach to international partnerships.

We also thought it would be helpful to tell East Shore’s friends and members some basic information about our partnership.

First off, who are the Khasi people?  The Khasis are an indigenous people living on a high plateau between Bangladesh and Bhutan.  The Khasis live in an autonomous state in India called Meghalaya with other indigenous peoples.  The Khasis are related ethnically and through language to SE Asian peoples.

Why are there 10,000 Unitarians in this remote hill country of NE India?  For over 140 years, there has been a thriving and growing union of Unitarian churches in the Khasi Hills.  At that time, their founders created a new religion based on a mixture of traditional and progressive values.  When they discovered British and American Unitarianism, they chose to call themselves Unitarian and associate with international Unitarian churches.

How did East Shore get involved in a partnership with Khasi Unitarians?  In the 1990s, our emeritus minister, Rev. Dr. Leon Hopper, became a founder of the modern UUA partnership movement.  He and other East Shore members traveled to visit the Khasi Unitarians.  We formed a church-to-church partnership with the Unitarian churches of Kharang and Smit, a village and town, respectively.

Why does East Shore focus on education?  The short answer is because we were asked to!  In early visits to Kharang, the Khasis participated with us in Community Capacity Building workshops.  The Church Council of our partner church in Kharang then asked East Shore to focus on education, and to help them build an English-medium primary school.  Watch this 5-minute video for perspectives on why education is so important to them and the history of the Friendship Unitarian School of Kharang.

Is our Khasi Partnership still thriving? Yes, definitely!  Over time we have built up an enormous amount of trust, mutual understanding, and ability to cooperate to achieve great goals together. Our relationships have never been stronger, and we are in constant communication through WhatsApp, Facebook, and regular conferences.

What are you planning for in 2024?  After the May 5th Share the Plate, our focus will turn to raising funds to support seven teachers’ salaries at the Friendship School.  We do this by holding a community-wide rummage sale in East Shore’s sanctuary called Trinkets and Treasures (July 19-20th).  It’s a lot of fun and helps East Shore members clear out their closets!  We also have a student sponsorship program for over 20 of the most economically challenged students in the village.  Our East Shore sponsors have one-on-one relationships with these young students.  Exciting news: East Shore’s Youth Group is starting to plan a visit to the Khasi Hills in the summer of 2025!

All of these programs are exciting and serve others.  We gain so much of value from our association with the Khasi people. Please attend the May 5 service to learn about why this partnership is a precious asset to East Shore, and to provide your moral support to our hard-working ministry team.
– Doug Strombom and Barb Clagett