To say I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and generosity you all showed for East Shore in the last weeks would be an understatement. I hope you have seen the new proposed budget for 2022-23 which takes advantage of that love and generosity to provide Rev. Maria Cristina with a solid foundation to get off to a good start. Thank you.
In four days, on June 5, we will celebrate the four-year tenure of Reverend Steve Furrer at East Shore. The pandemic greatly hampered Steve’s need to connect personally and get to know us. Still, despite the lack of human contact so central to his ministry, Rev. Steve helped calm our troubled waters and get us ready to call a settled minister, just as he was supposed to. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Please stay after worship on June 5 to join the festivities. Also, you may leave a virtual memory for Steve here .
This is my last Board Buzz article as your Board President, many thanks are in order. First, to the Nominating Team for putting my name forward, and the congregation for trusting me to lead. This role has given me a chance to grow, by turns, braver, more humble, more honest, more awed, more tolerant, more grateful. This is my exploration of spirituality, gained through service to the East Shore community. If you think your heart is too faint for Board work, think again. It grows on you, as you grow into it. This year, Sheridan Botts and Leta Hamilton are completing two years of service with distinction. It isn’t easy hearing no so many times. It isn’t easy trying to assemble a team which reflects varieties of age and viewpoint among our congregation. (This isn’t us, but one UU church in the state has no board members under 70!)
And thank you to the other Board members who have put up with my bossiness, my annoying use of Robert’s Rules of Order, my railroading of the agenda, the calling of many extra meetings. Through it all we disagreed well and agreed well.
And thank you my fellow Eastshorians and friends. We have undertaken many initiatives and ministries to spread our mission and the Eight Principles of the UU movement. Many of you have made sure I know how you feel about things. Just the way you are supposed to. I appreciate the vibrant, hopeful energy behind all your suggestions. There’s always a danger in leaving someone out, but even so, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention two folks especially: Ann Fletcher, who has seemingly been everywhere, Policy and Governance, head of the Staff leadership team review last summer, then immediately heading the Ministerial Search Team, and Grace Colton, master of the bylaws. Those two always made sure we met deadlines and didn’t run afoul of the law.
And thanks to the staff. I’ll say more about Steve this Sunday. To Nicole, for working with me on innumerable eblasts and Beacon articles and extended deadlines and last minute edits and re-edits. To Eric for his creativity and humor, to amanda alice, for her passionate advocacy for the younger people among us. To both of them for adding texture and sensory elements to worship. To Rebecca for speedy and thorough reports on any subject I ever asked for. LeAnne’ bejeweled fingers adding substance to our joys and sorrows. And to Dianne, Vanessa, Celil, Jenny, LeAnne for answering all my many, many questions with grace and accuracy.
This is an impressive community. We have done much and are poised to do so much more within and without East Shore. Let’s. And let’s take care of each other, while we do those great things, in a spirit of mutual help and camaraderie. We need each other.
Let the celebration begin! East Shore has voted to call Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa and she has accepted! Let us all take time to sing, laugh, cry, dance, breathe, meditate, pray and whatever else our spirits move us to do as we live through this moment.
After accepting our call, Reverend María Cristina had this to say at our congregational celebration, “This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I know that we’ve only just begun, but I have a deep abiding love that will continue to grow for this beautiful community.”
How did the vote turn out? During the week of April 24 through May 1, 2022, 222 East Shore members voted 100% unanimously in favor of calling Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa. This was well above the minimum votes needed for a quorum and of course bypassed the 90% approval required by our bylaws.
We hoped and believed we were ready for a new called minister and put our faith into action. Collectively we shared our whole selves throughout the entire process. We formed a Search Committee and generously provided input through surveys, cottage meetings, focus groups, and attendance of Beyond Categorical Thinking. We waited patiently and through the first three months of 2022 as the Search Committee did their very best to discern among the many candidates who would be the best match for East Shore. Only with the love, trust, encouragement and faith that the East Shore community continually showed, could the Search Committee have been able to execute their duties so well.
And finally, during the Candidating Week so many of you participated in worship, discussion forums and social events. During that time, we got to know and love Rev. María Cristina and Mama Lily, and just as importantly, they got to know and love us. We showed up with curiosity, practiced loving hospitality, and shared our deep commitment to our mission. In return, they engaged deeply with us and brought their wonderful passion and spirit into our presence. And now we have welcomed Rev. María Cristina and Mama Lily into our East Shore family.
Rev. María Cristina and her mother will now head back to their home in Hayward, California to tend to her duties as the minister of her current congregation. They will be back in Late Summer 2022 to begin her tenure. Until that time, the Search Committee will act as the communications channel between the congregation and Rev. María Cristina.
Getting To Know Us
While we await her arrival let’s welcome Rev. María Cristina by introducing ourselves. Women’s Perspective Team is creating a binder filled with individual profiles written by each of East Shore’s members and friends– in our own words! Your contributions will be a huge help as Rev. María Cristina gets to know her new flock. To assist you we have a form with a few questions and where you may include your personal narrative and photos as well. Copies of the form are available in the office.
Please complete and return it by June 15 by:
Dropping it off in the office – there will be a locked box to put it in.
Mailing it to Women’s Perspective at the church office.
Please remember to add a recent photo or two – they will be especially helpful to Reverend María Cristina!
Ultimately the binder, both in physical and electronic forms, will be presented to María Cristina for her use in getting to know us. Completing this small project is, of course, entirely optional but as a gift of sharing ourselves, the Women’s Perspective Steering Team hopes you will participate.
Thank you to all in the East Shore community who participated in Candidating Week and the Congregational Vote as we begin this new era in our journey.
In faith, David Baumgart, Martin Cox, Ann Fletcher, Leta Hamilton, Julie Heise, Connie Hirnle, David Langrock, the Ministerial Search Committee
Voting members will elect a new Board and adopt a budget for 2022-23. More information will be available in the coming weeks, but please mark your calendars. The meeting will be on Zoom in the same room as worship and in the Sanctuary. Please keep an eye out for details about voting which will be sent in mid-May.
2022-23 Slate of Candidates
The East Shore Nominating Committee has completed the slate of candidates for next year’s Board of Trustees and Nominating Committee positions. This slate will be voted on at the June 12 Congregational Meeting.
The positions in bold print are up for election. The others are informational, to provide a complete list of members who will serve during the next church year.
In addition to the slate of candidates from the Nominating Committee, our church bylaws allow Nominations by Petition. Members in good standing may nominate themselves or others for any position up for election. To do so, signatures of at least fifteen members of the congregation must be presented to the church office at least 21 days in advance of the Annual Congregational Business Meeting along with a signed statement from each prospective nominee of willingness to serve if elected. The deadline this year is May 22, 2022. No additional nominations will be received after the stated period.
Questions about the election process may be directed to the current members of the 2021-2022 Nominating Committee: Leta Hamilton, Sheridan Botts, Marcy Langrock, Ann Carlstrom, Ryam Hill.
Please join us in thanking all our candidates and current Board and Committee members for their dedication to our church!
The past six years at East Shore have been one helluva time. We’ve seen the departure of a long-time minister, a year with no minister, an interim minister, and a developmental minister. We’ve seen changes in how we come together, we’ve embraced Right Relations and circles and we have become a more mutually supportive community. Even through Covid, we have stayed together. Now, in just two months we will be voting on a new settled minister… someone to join us in ushering in the next, exciting phase at East Shore.
What do we want that phase to look like? We have done so much work towards making East Shore more accessible with Zoom services and multi-platform events, more inclusive with the passing of the 8th Principle and our soon to be renewed Welcoming Congregation certification. We continue to strive to be more equitable and diverse and to always lead with our mission: Practice Love, Explore Spirituality, Build Community and Promote Justice.
We have not let Covid stop us, in fact, we had numerous achievements even as we were separated. These two years apart have revealed to us once again that, East Shore is so much more than just the campus and its buildings, it is a COMMUNITY. A community that loves and supports one another through the darkest times. Now that we’re beginning to see the light at the end of this oh-so-long tunnel, we can start to imagine the extraordinary things we can accomplish as we begin meeting, once again, in our beautiful sanctuary.
East Shore is an amazing church for any minister. At least we think so and hope you do too. And it’s why we are asking you to pledge your support, and to pledge early. Let’s show the new minister just how excited we are to look forward together into a shared future! We hope to meet our goal of $650,000 before Candidating Week, scheduled for April 24-May 1. Please return this pledge card early!
As you think about your pledge this year, we hope you will think about the extraordinary goals YOU want for the future of East Shore. Give generously! We also want to encourage you to sign up for automatic withdrawal and to consider becoming a Sustainable Member. Each year, your donations will increase by a percent you choose, to help keep up with increases in costs. Let’s all ensure that East Shore is ready for a bright, vital future!
With love for our beloved East Shore community,
Bill Chappell & Cathy Falanga, Mission Fund Drive Chairs
On September 11, 2001, on the way home from work, I stopped at a traffic light next to a stranger in a pickup truck and felt this totally unexpectedly wave of love and connection. I imagined we all had some shared experience and needed a giant group hug. I feel the same way now as Covid drags on with no foreseeable end in sight. On some level, we are all going through the same thing, even if our own circumstances and impacts differ a lot; we are all having to adjust and adapt in uncertainty, continually. People are grumpier, there is more road rage. Mental health challenges for students are skyrocketing. Teachers, nurses, many others are leaving their jobs in droves. We no longer speak of the silver linings we may have felt two years ago.
Change has come and will keep coming. Rapid change and forced readjustment may well be the new normal. If there is ever a time when we must accept that there is no “business as usual”, it is now. At the MLK March a couple of weeks ago I heard the refrain, “what we can’t do alone, we can do together”. It reminded me of these words from the most excellent book Lost Connections, by Johann Hari. He writes, “When people belong to a tribe they have an incentive to treat people well. A strong impulse in favor of connection simply produces better outcomes for survival.”
As we share the disappointment of not yet having a grand re-opening of our beloved church, Hari’s work offers some hope; this is the core of my message this month. “Don’t be you, be us, be we. Be part of the group. Make the group worth it, let yourself flow into other people’s stories and let their stories flow into yours…Be connected with everyone around you. Be part of the whole.”
That’s all I’ve got. Reach out, across, between, among. Come to a book study, a grounds work party, or coffee hour, meet and talk with people (even on Zoom, especially on Zoom) and let yourself be dazzled by their sparkling humanity.
Is East Shore important in your life? Can you give some of your time and energy in service to this community? Are you interested in learning more about leadership positions that might match your skills? If so, we invite you to have an exploratory, no-pressure conversation with one of us on the Nominating Committee. Even if you just know someone else whom you think should be in leadership — the Nominating Committee wants to hear from you with your suggestions.
We invite all members who are willing and able to give a part of themselves to serve in leadership roles at this church. You don’t have to be a long-time member and you don’t have to have special experience. You do need to have a genuine interest in the well-being and future of this church, and a willingness to listen deeply, and with respect, to people who may not share your opinion. The Nominating Committee wants to learn more about you, to discover what skills and life experiences you have, then match you up with potential opportunities to serve on the Board or in one of our many terrific teams and committees.