ESUC Joins UU Churches at Pride

ESUC Joins UU Churches at Pride

On Sunday, June 30, more than 70 UUs from the area, with about 40 from East Shore, joined forces to participate in the Seattle Pride Parade. The joyful day was filled with love and support for our LGBTQiA+ siblings in spirit. Special thanks to the Welcoming Congregations Team for organizing the gathering and collaborating with University Unitarian Church and Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation. The Outreach Team helped with ensuring the event had finances and great photos. Next year, we plan to continue this new tradition and bring in additional UU churches in the area. Special thanks to Becky Bruhn for putting together this wonderful video of the day.

by Nicole Duff, Director of Membership Development

Article II Revisions Pass the 2024 General Assembly

Article II Revisions Pass the 2024 General Assembly

By-laws are not usually very interesting, really. The UUA has 15 Articles of by-laws, the second of which is where the theological guidance of the non-profit resides. This article is supposed to be reviewed every 15 years. A failed attempt at a small change in 2009, means there has not been changes since 1985 until 2020, when the Board of the UUA charged the Article II Study Commission with making revisions.

For the next two years, the Study Commission sought input from UUs and actually received about 10,000 inputs. They made a report to the Board and in 2023 the revisions were brought to the General Assembly (GA) for a preliminary vote. After passing with about 90%, more discussion and more opposition to these changes were stirred.

Here at ESUC, the 8th Principle Ministry Team took on supporting the revisions after we passed the 8th Principle in 2021 at our a congregational meeting. We continued that work at a lower level of action after the preliminary passage, expecting passage by the 2024 GA. Those opposed worked to get a “no” vote, which would have put any revisions on hold for the next two years, and maintained the 1985 language we are all familiar with, citing the 7 Principles and the Sources. On June 23, the GA vote was counted and the revisions have passed with 80.2% of the vote. These immediately become active for the Board of the UUA and will be next revised in 15 years, according to the by-laws.

You can find a great deal of information at uua.org (searching for “Article 2”) about the four years process and the final results. A description of the legal ramifications of Article II changes can be found here.

The 8th Principle Ministry Team merged with Beloved Conversations Among last year and became a Board Committee entitled Building Beloved Community Committee, or BBCC to insiders. Any of the members – Carrie Bowman, Paul Buehrns, Grace Colton, Maury Edwards, Ryam Hill, Caroline Haessley, Marcy Langrock, Mike Radow, and staff liaison Nicole Duff – can answer questions. There will be further discussion about Article II for the whole congregation, now in the planning.

You can read more about everything that happened at General Assembly here.

East Shore Gets Out the Vote

East Shore Gets Out the Vote

Some of you are already at work postcarding to get out the vote. Here are 4 ways the rest of us can start postcarding to get out the vote for this vital/historic/important election year.

The Earth & Climate Action Ministry Team (ECAM) plans to have a table with information and postcard supplies in the foyer following service from September 8 to close to election day. However, you can still start now on some of the activities below.

Environmental Voter Project (EVP)

Environmental Voter Project (environmentalvoter.org) increases the number of
voters who value the environment using postcard messaging. Since 2015, EVP has mobilized low-propensity environmental voters to vote in 1,918 local, state, and federal elections.

ECAM is supporting this effort and has packets of 10 postcards for you to write and address: pick up a packet on Sunday from Ron Lovell then return the completed cards the next Sunday. The completed cards will be stamped and mailed to Florida primary voters in early August. Contact Ron ([email protected]) if you want a packet left at Pony Express or have questions.

Reclaim Our Vote (ROV)

Reclaim Our Vote (centerforcommonground.org/reclaim-our-vote) is a grassroot campaign that focuses on increasing BIPOC voter turnout through postcarding, texting, and phone banking. Working with local, on-the-ground partners and Democracy Centers, ROV builds effective, respectful, and relevant campaigns that engage BIPOC voters around upcoming elections. In 2021 writing postcards increased Black voter turnout by 3%.

ROV works with campaigns all over the US on varying deadlines depending on the local situation.

Dave Edfeldt has volunteered to put together packets of postcards, addresses, and instruction sheets which you can pick up by emailing Dave ([email protected]). Dave can customize the size of your packet from 20-200 but packets of 30 are most efficient.

The script is simple and pretty quick to write. Postcards are to be mailed in October. You will need to provide stamps but if this is a hardship we have volunteers who have underwritten some stamps. If you don’t want to write and want to help anyway, there may be a way you could help with distribution, just contact David.

Initiative 2117

In November, Washington State voters need to vote NO on Initiative 2117 which would repeal our Climate Commitment Act (CCA) and forever prohibit a price/fee on carbon in our state. CCA is landmark legislation that forces big polluters to pay a fee for emissions. These revenues are then used for investments to improve our environment, like salmon habitat restoration and heathy forests, as well as reduce pollution by investing in electric school buses, new hybrid ferries, other funds go to marginalized communities more severely impacted by climate change.

More than 30 environmental groups have formed the “No on 2117” campaign. (no2117.com/)

Earth and Climate Action Ministry (ECAM) is planning an information session in fall on I-2117. Meanwhile, Kristi Weir ([email protected]) will be getting 500 postcards for the No on I-2117 on late August for distribution. They will be available at the table on September 8. Kristi plans a postcard party in late August or in September.

Vote Forward

Vote Forward (votefwd.org) may be an option if you prefer to minimize the amount of handwriting to only one sentence. This campaign is focusing on sending personalized letters (not postcards) directly to 10 million under-represented registered voters in a mostly swing states variety of states who have not typically voted.

You can download either 5 or 20 preformatted letters with a space to add a sentence for your personal reason for voting (non-partisan). You supply paper, envelope, and stamp. All letters are to be mailed between October 1 and 29. Contact Kristi Weir ([email protected]) if you have questions on how to download letters.

All of these activities are more fun to do with a group, so call some friends and invite them to participate with you. We may be arranging postcarding events, so watch the church eblasts for announcements. This is a great way to connect with other East Shore members and build community, while potentially making a big difference in the upcoming elections!

by Kristi Weir, Ron Lovell, Laurie Wick, Dave Edfeldt‍

Gathering of the Eagles: Canoe Journey Through Ancestral Waters

Gathering of the Eagles: Canoe Journey Through Ancestral Waters

This year’s Gathering of the Eagles Canoe Journey, organized and hosted by Sul ka dub Phreddie Lane of the Lummi Nation, celebrated ancestral wisdom and cultural knowledge and nurtured the paddlers’ physical and spiritual well-being.

Members of the East Shore Indigenous Connections Team were honored to provide transportation support, ground team support, equipment, and lodging for the 4th annual Gathering of the Eagles. Members of University UC, Northlake UUC, and Woodinville UUC provided equipment, lodging, and hosted presentations in the Seattle area following the Gathering.

Canoes launched at Anacortes on May 19, landed at Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island that day, and spent May 20 and 21 on San Juan Island. The Orcas Island community hosted us on May 22 and 23. At each island, well over 100 people greeted the canoes at the beach, where ceremony and wreaths welcomed the canoe families. Oh, the island communities know how to throw a potluck! Each night, the canoe families and support team were offered homemade food; the canoe families responded with protocol that included gratitude, prayer, singing, dancing, and storytelling. Lummi elders and guests from Hawaii, the Puyallup Tribe, Northwest Indian College, South Africa (Khoisan), Australia (Māori), Diné (Navajo) Nation and Hopi Nation offered songs and prayers.

The canoes landed at Lummi Nation on May 24, where East Shore, Northlake, and Woodinville UUs showed up to prep and cook meals May 24-26.

For the first time at a Gathering of the Eagles event, canoes landed at the ancestral fishing site where Whatcom Creek enters Bellingham Bay (now called Waypoint Park). On May 25, Lummi Nation and Bellingham officials welcomed the canoes and volunteers carried two of them to Maritime Heritage Park, where food, native crafts, and fellowship followed.

The spiritual nature of the experience is more difficult to describe. The Gathering of the Eagles Canoe Journey focuses on slowing down and listening to our ancestors so we can learn from them about how to respect our earth, sky, and waters:

“Leave your ego at home” (Sul ka dub Phreddie Lane, Lummi)

“This feels like the right thing to do, even if it doesn’t make any sense” (Litha Booi, South Africa, about a decision guided by indigenous wisdom)

“Seven days of paddling from homeland island to homeland island of Lummi ancestral grounds was like waking in a living dream…we felt the heartbeat of the Salish Sea” (Whaia Whaea, Australia)

The journey overflowed with acknowledgment and appreciation for the contributions of all. The spirit of the northwest potlatch permeated the Gathering: traditionally, indigenous wealth wasn’t determined by how much a person possessed, but by how much they gave away. All guests returned home with gifts.

Our participation in Gathering of the Eagles brought to mind words about “good work” from Rev Karen Van Fossan’s sermon on May 12:
“…prepping food, chopping wood, sorting donations, mediating conflicts, facilitating ceremonies, or otherwise, this work affirmed our dignity and our belonging; in affirming our shared humanity, this work created a context in which we were less likely to resort to interpersonal violence ourselves – most of our deepest needs were met, including the need to give of ourselves with generosity and purpose…”

A video that captures the spirit of the Gathering of the Eagles (thanks to Matt Wickey, a friend of guests from the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society) is available at facebook.com/731096245/videos/984226512808979.

by Carrie Bowman, Indigenous Connections

Dubai to Baku Event

Dubai to Baku Event

The Indigenous Connections Team hosted a wonderful event at the Duwamish Longhouse on April 20. The Duwamish Tribe donated the Longhouse and several members of the tribe attended the event. About 15 current and former East Shore members attended, including Reva María Cristina, who opened the event with a welcome and blessing. Members of other local UU churches also contributed food and volunteer time: University UC, Northlake UUC, Woodinville UUC, and Westside UUC members showed up and supported the event. The Duwamish Alive Coalition worked with us to get the word out and even ended their morning work parties early so that volunteers could attend our event in the afternoon.

Jacob Johns (Akimel O’Otham and Hopi) and Jeff Ferguson (Spokane) honored all of us with moving, inspiring stories, and their energy was infectious. The Longhouse was bursting at the seams: full of people, full of the moving spirit, and full of love for our earth, sky, and waters. We counted 70 people at the peak.

One of the goals of the event was to make the connection between local, hands-on earth-water stewardship and an international presence of indigenous voices, lifting up our earth-water relatives and anchored by prayer, song, and ceremony. Several people noted the powerful message that all efforts matter, whether at COP, along the Duwamish River, or in the Longhouse: All of us moving in the same direction toward climate justice and a more respectful, reciprocal relationship to Mother Earth can shift our world and our planet. As Jacob says, “The future is not yet written.”

by Carrie Bowman, Indigenous Connections

May is AAPI Month

May is AAPI Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and we recommend the following books for adults and children that center and honor the stories and histories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In response to the continuing escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more necessary to lift up these stories and reckon with this nation’s anti-Asian racism. Here are some books to help you learn:

  • We Are Here: 30 Inspiring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Who Have Shaped the United States by Naomi Hirahara and illustrated by Illi Ferandez
  • Asian American is Not a Color: Conversations on Race, Affirmative Action, and Family by OiYan A. Poon
  • We Who Produce Pearls: An Anthem for Asian America by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya
  • Made in Asian America: A History for Young People by Erika Lee and Christina Soontornvat
  • On Gold Hill: A Personal History of Wheat, Farming, and Family From Punjab to California by Jaclyn Moyer
  • The House Before Falling into the Sea by Ann Suk Wang and illustrated by Hanna Cha

You can also learn more at asianpacificheritage.gov

And check out the trailer of Vivien Hao’s documentary “Invisible No More” which was partly filmed at East Shore. We’ll have the documentary premiere in September at East Shore.