Answering the call to ministry is more than just a career choice. Being ordained into professional religious leadership and accepting a call to parish ministry are both life-changing events. With careful planning, the services of Ordination and Installation are opportunities not only to celebrate these profoundly transformative moments, but also to embody our Unitarian Universalist history and theology in meaningful and just ways. It’s our shared responsibility to create services that reflect the depth and power of our tradition as well as our unique identities and cultures.
An installation service formally celebrates the covenantal relationship between a minister and the congregation that has called the minister.
An Installation service marks the congregation’s successful completion of the ministerial search process—the weeks and months of self-examination and self-promotion as they hope to attract someone who is qualified to be, and who wants to be, their new minister. The congregational vote to call the minister—often held months earlier, during the minister’s candidating week—is the act that leads to the installation, which is a celebration of the joy both parties feel for having found one another, and their agreement to enter into a covenant of shared ministry.
The Installation isn’t something the congregation does for the minister; rather, it honors and celebrates the promises you are making to one another as you knit yourselves into shared ministry. As a result, the Service of Installation is centered around a spoken ritual that lifts up your covenant of shared ministry. As with the Service of Ordination, it’s a worship service that offers an invitation to individual and communal transformation as well as an opportunity to live our faith in the world.
The connection between a minister and a congregation is especially apparent in a service of Installation, as an affirmation of the covenant between them: minister and congregation are accountable to each other, as well as to the larger denomination and world in which they live out their shared ministry.
Yet another relationship exists as the source of call: that between minister and Spirit, the Divine, the Beloved, Humanity, or however you name it. “It is this beckoning from the divine, a desire to do our work and live our lives in constant relationship with the divine that constitutes a ‘call.’”
An installation service—which uplifts covenant and shared ministry—is about more than the match between an individual and the congregation: it’s an opportunity to affirm our covenant to work together to create the beloved community.
In the Act of Installation, the promises focus not on the minister’s lifelong commitment to serve, but rather on the new covenant between minister and congregation. These promises bind us to one another: we choose one another in a radical act of faith.
[Adapted from the UUA Ordination & Installation Handbook]
Your Board would like to share with you some of our thinking following the offer of Emerald Heights Academy to rent the Education Building. The Academy contacted Rebecca Chatfield, our Director of Finance and Operations, in late December and she met with the Staff Leadership Team (SLT) in early January describing the offer. They wished to use the building during weekdays, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., not on weekends, and not during the months of July and August. They wanted a three year contract, which could be renewable, for $80,000 a year. The Academy communicated that they were on a short timeline to find a new place and needed an answer by the end of January.
The SLT members all wrote up their thoughts as to how they thought this tenant would impact East Shore. They felt they had little experience for making this evaluation since the only really long time tenant we have had is the Music School, which takes up the whole Music Building, not really a shared space. The SLT reached out to some constituents for their views. This resulted in emails to the Board from those who had received the information. This was communicated to the Board, which met on January 24. The Board asked that Rebecca continue to pursue a possible rental with Emerald Heights while the Board engaged more of the congregation. Before a process for feedback could be completed, Emerald Heights felt they could not wait to continue their search, and withdrew their offer.
In trying to debrief this experience, Reverend María Cristina suggested that we not debate the merits of the possible tenant, but rather consider the lessons we need to take from this experience, specifically so that we might do this process better in the future. There was considerable discussion. These were the areas identified as needing further consideration:
How to increase a sense of trust between the Board & congregation.
How to proceed when so pressed for time, but without letting the time factor overwhelm a need for process.
How to include the wider congregation so that there is more inclusion.
Do we need further policy? As to process? As to possible tenants?
This was definitely a learning experience for all of us and it is clear we need to continue to refine this process so that we might respond more nimbly should an appropriate renter present themselves in the future.
Your Board of Trustees
Board of Trustee Changes
Ann Carlstrom has served as the Secretary of the Board since last June. Unfortunately, due to Bill’s health concerns, Ann has resigned so that she can use her energy where it is most needed at this time. We thank Ann for all her work for the Board and send all our very best wishes to Ann and Bill.
Maury Edwards, who was our Secretary for the last Board, has consented to come back as Secretary through June. We welcome Maury and are grateful that he already has the background he needs to take up this task. Thank you, Maury.
Have you noticed the new visitor-badge board? We have so many new visitors that I needed a larger board to hold all the nametags! Were you in the Sanctuary last month when we welcomed 20 children into our community in a child dedication? Rev. María Cristina and I are also excited that 46 members and friends are currently engaged in the Transforming Hearts class, and that’s after 95 of you attended the program by Alex Kapitan. East Shore is shining right now and the momentum has us ready for all the joy yet to come.
In June 2022, the congregation voted to transition from a fiscal year (July-June) pledging year to a calendar year (January-December). This spring is our transition!
For the past few years, we have seen an increase in members who are set up for regular monthly giving. This is great because it helps us plan for the year as we can predict giving. Some members are even signed up to be a sustainable giver, meaning their pledge will automatically increase every year by a percent of their choice. This increase will happen every January.
What we need is those members who give by check, stocks, or designated giving to fill out a pledge card and help support East Shore for the rest of this current calendar year. For those new to East Shore, this is also a great time to start your support of East Shore and show your commitment to this community. You can pledge now here.
Please join us on Sunday, March 12, as we pledge our support to East Shore and the work we are doing here.
by Nicole Duff, Director of Membership Development
Your minister *wants* you to call them when you need them. Your minister *wants* to be there for you. You are not a burden.
None of us became ministers because we want to do committee work and answer more emails.
We became ministers for people. We love worship leadership, and being with you.
When ministers are together, we complain that our people *don’t* call us when they’re in the hospital, or something bad happened to them.
We are honored when you trust us with your stories.
So please, please call your minister when you need us. Call us when something terrible happens to you, or when something wonderful does. We can share a phone conversation, exchange emails or texts, or meet in person or via zoom.
The Helping Hands Ministry Team is here to help you when needed and needs your help as well. When you need a little extra help, we probably have members of our church community who can help fulfill a need or provide help with referrals.
Sample of needs include:
Transportation (Healthcare appointments, day surgery, church services or events)
Pet or Plant care while someone is in the hospital
Light yard work
Help with moving
Minor Home Jobs (Ex: Using Ladder to change Fire Alarm Batteries)
Helping Hands also needs Helpers to provide Services!
And of course, in order to offer help, we need people willing to step up and provide some help. If you can volunteer, please e-mail Carol Sinape, your Helping Hands Coordinator. Include your name, contact information, services you can provide, as well as days and times you might be available.
List any expertise you may be able to share such as knowledge of resources (people and services), willingness to make calls to secure helpers or anything else you think might be helpful to others.
Thank you! Working together we can help lighten each other’s burdens.
This year the assembly is in Pittsburgh, PA from June 21-25.
What’s a Delegate at General Assembly?
The UUA organizes an annual event called “General Assembly” or ‘GA’ which is a gathering of congregants from UU churches, ministers, and allied groups to worship, educate, connect, and conduct the business of the UUA. Delegates participate in conducting the business of the UUA as representatives from their congregation. All the delegates represent the member congregations of the UUA.
Who are Delegates?
Delegates are members of their congregations. Each congregation decides how to select them. Delegates could be selected by: volunteering, or by a nominating group that identifies and recommends them, or the Board of Trustees appoints them. At a congregational meeting, delegates can be elected; or a Denominational Affairs Committee helps recruit, train, and orient the delegates.
How Does ESUC Select its Delegates?
The UUA tells each congregation on a proportional basis how many delegates they can send to GA. East Shore will have 7 delegates this year plus a few alternates. East Shore is using a new process this year to select delegates. The Board has asked the 8th Principle Ministry team to develop a list of possible delegates for their approval using criteria already approved by the Board. You can fill out the Delegate Nomination form for criteria at forms.gle/K5GuxAiJFpP2Mah86. Individuals can also self-nominate directly to the Board by emailing Nicole at [email protected].
Why Do People Want to be Delegates?
They have feelings about the items being voted on. They want to represent their congregation’s opinion to the gathering of member congregations. They want to participate in the process that determines the direction UUism will take on various issues.
What Do Delegates Vote On? What are This Year’s Issues?
This year’s big issues are the proposed revision to the UUA’s Bylaw Article II that has our 7 principles and 8 sources. See esuc.org for more info. Also, the referendum election of a new UUA President. There may be other items to vote on, such as a statement of witness, and they will be published closer to General Assembly for delegate review.
How Does ESUC Support Delegates?
This year the 8th Principle Ministry Team will make sure you have what you need to be a knowledgeable delegate, and individual members will be available for your questions. Experienced delegates will be a resource for you to understand the process.
What Are a Delegate’s Responsibilities?
Delegates attend GA either remotely or in person and vote on various topics. Last year, the UUA began moving away from a focus on parliamentary process to the actual issues. What it’s like to be a delegate is changing. Attending online is possible and free if you are only a delegate. Business is done during half-days and not concurrent with other activities, leaving time to attend workshops and other events the rest of the days. Delegates bring back news and information to their congregation. At East Shore, that means writing an article and/or participating in a service about what happened at GA and what your experience was like.
How Can You Become a Delegate?
Just complete the short Google form at the Delegate Nomination form found at forms.gle/K5GuxAiJFpP2Mah86. Criteria for being a delegate and submitting your name is at the link. The Board will also accept volunteers as candidate delegates from the congregation. The Board will make the final decision among the full slate, using the criteria described on the nominating form, during the April 11, 2023 Board meeting.
What Has Other Delegates’ Experience Been?
As an in-person delegate, Grace Colton found 2022 GA to be energizing and meaty. “You experience the energy of hundreds of other UUs in one room thinking about the future of our faith. 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 meaningful topics to vote on and a sense of community living into UUism!”
As an online participant, Maury Edwards says “I would love for more congregants of East Shore Unitarian Church to experience that wider world. And to consider being a delegate to ensure 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 this coming June.”