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
Introduction of East Shore’s Candidate for Settled Minister
After a thorough search process within the Universal Unitarian Association minister search system, your Ministerial Search Committee (David Baumgart, Martin Cox, Ann Fletcher, Leta Hamilton, Connie Hirnle, Julie Heise, and David Langrock) is thrilled to announce the identity of our Candidate for East Shore’s next settled minister – Rev. Dr. Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa!
Getting to Know Reverend Maria Cristina
The Rev. Dr. Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa is originally from Chile. Her approach to Ministry is collaborative, deeply rooted in unconditional Love, and intentionally engaged in transformative Social Justice. Rev. Maria Cristina’s rich multicultural background as a proud Latinx/Immigrant/Two Spirit/Queer/Indigenous person informs her spiritual practice of radical welcoming of people from diverse theological/religious/spiritual beliefs, ages, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientations, genders, and gender expressions.
Rev. Maria Cristina received a Juris Doctor degree from the City University of New York School of Law, with a specialty in Immigrants’ Rights. She received her Master of Divinity and Doctor of Theology degrees from Harvard Divinity School. She received her calling to the Ministry while working in the AIDS Law Clinic in Boston. During her Ministerial Internship, she was the Youth Minister at First Parish in Needham. She later served First Parish in Brookline as Assistant Minister. She has served Starr King UU Church in Hayward, California, for the past six years. She is the past President of DRUUMM (Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries) and currently serves the UU Ministers Association as a Dedicated Good Officer. She is on the Faculty of Starr King School for the Ministry where she teaches Eco-Feminism and Indigenous Wisdom, Decolonizing UU Worship, Queer Latinx Liberation Theology, and Spanish for Social Justice.
Her son Erick lives in Boston and she lives with her mother, Lily, and their cat Rafiki. Rev. Maria Cristina loves teaching and enjoys walking meditations, nature photography, sewing, and cooking.
Rev. Maria Christina made this introductory video for us:
For more information about Rev. Dr. Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa’s ministry and to listen to some of her sermons, we encourage you to visit her website. Also, we believe you will enjoy this slideshow that she put together especially for East Shore.
If you would like to know more about Rev. Maria Cristina, please don’t hesitate to contact the Search Committee directly or at the e-mail below.
Invitation to our Beloved Community
Congregants are invited to participate in Candidating Week April 24 – May 1, where there will be multiple opportunities for East Shore members, friends, and staff to meet and get to know Rev. Maria Cristina —and for her to meet us and get to know our congregation.
Our newly settled minister will need time to understand East Shore as a whole, and gain a sense of its organization as well as its strengths and challenges before making commitments or decisions that affect the resources and future of our beloved community.
For more information about Candidating Week, please see the updated details here.
Thank You East Shore
The Search Committee values the trust and confidence you have placed in us to make this momentous decision. We reviewed a number of applications, checked references, interviewed candidates for many hours, and discussed the candidates in depth as a committee. At every stage, we held in mind the hopes, dreams, and concerns of our East Shore congregation.
We are so thankful to everyone at East Shore who participated in the ministerial search process through the congregational survey, Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop, focus groups, and cottage meetings.
You can contact the Ministerial Search Committee with any questions at [email protected]
David Baumgart, Martin Cox, Ann Fletcher, Leta Hamilton, Connie Hirnle, Julie Heise, and David Langrock
Ministerial Search Committee
Save the Date. May 1. Right after the worship service on Sunday, May 1, we will have the joyous opportunity in a Congregational Meeting to call a settled Minister. The Search Team will have finished their work and chosen a candidate to present for our approval. The candidate will be delivering sermons on April 24 and May 1. The candidate deserves a large turnout, and it will give us the chance to express our gratitude to the search team. A subsequent mailing will explain how you can vote absentee either electronically or on paper, but we hope you will come in person to celebrate this important moment in the life of our church. This is a rare and special event. We haven’t called a lead minister in this century While our bylaws call for a minimum 90% yes vote, both the UUA and your Board of Trustees are hoping at least a 95% yes vote, if not a unanimous vote.
If you haven’t been back to church yet, please consider making this your first trip back.
Let’s welcome our new minister by introducing ourselves. Women’s Perspective plans to create 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 the new minister gets to know their new flock. To assist you, there will be a form with a few standard questions and where you may include your personal narrative and photos as well.
Ultimately the binder, both in physical and electronic forms, will be presented to the minister for their use in getting to know us. Completing this small project is, of course, entirely optional but as a gift of sharing ourselves, we hope you will participate. Technological help will be available so watch for an announcement when you may access this opportunity.
Here is a brief timeline for this project:
May 2nd: In the Beacon and on the website, there will be specific instructions of how to submit an online bio (link to website), as well as a physical copy of the form, and when to complete them by.
June 7th eblast: Reminder will be sent out that everyone has one week left.
June 15th: close the survey and then the work begins on collating and building the online and/or physical copy of the welcoming bios binder
Early August: Completion of the Welcoming Bios Binder and delivery to our new Minister.
Once again, we are so excited about our new minister candidate, and we look forward to making their arrival the best it can be with your help!
Save the Dates: April 24—May 1: Meet and vote for the Candidate Minister
If we reach a mutual decision with a candidate minister in April then they will lead the worship services at East Shore on April 24 and May 1. On May 1 the congregation will have the opportunity to vote to affirm them as our new Minister immediately after the worship service.
The Hopeful Home Stretch
Our Search for a new Settled Minister for East Shore is drawing toward its close. We are halfway through our pre-candidating period of February and March, during which time, each of our precandidates will spend significant time over a weekend meeting with the Search Committee, learning more about East Shore, relaxing over shared meals, participating in more in-depth interviews, and giving a sermon at a Neutral Pulpit. Beyond the fact the precandidate process is currently ongoing according to plan, everything else about the process is entirely confidential.
By the end of this month, we surely hope to have selected the minister we believe is the best fit to lead our congregation into the future. If that minister were to be mutually inclined, we would announce the candidate to the congregation in the first part of April. Then the candidate would visit us for 8 days, scheduled for April 24-May 1. They would be on campus to meet our congregation and lead a service at either end of their time. Immediately after that last service, the congregation would vote on calling them to be our next settled minister.
Should the congregation vote to affirm the calling of our new minister, the Women’s Perspective ministry team will be compiling a binder wherein our members and friends can each introduce themselves in their own words. As always, we will provide an update in the next Beacon. Meanwhile, you are welcome to contact us by emailing [email protected].
Our Search So Far, By The Numbers
We thought it might interest you to see some of the numbers we’ve gathered from our congregation and the UUA.
357: members of East Shore Unitarian Church
7: number of Ministerial Search Committee members
1: number of MSC retreats
20 (since September when Julie joined): number of chalices we have lit during our MSC meetings since our first meeting – not counting the cottage meetings, focus groups, minister interviews, etc.
85: members and friends who took the Ministerial Search survey.
4: cottage meetings for East Shore members and friends
14: focus groups for East Shore members and friends
48: participated in the BCT workshop.
24,011: Words used to capture the history, character and desires of our church in our Congregational Record
24: UUA congregations in search for a full-time settled minister this year; 2 of those in Washington.
May our hearts be open, our minds keen, and our spirits welcoming as we evaluate all our potential next ministers and move to our final number — One — our new settled minister.
Welcoming the New Minister
Let’s welcome our new minister with a binder filled with pages which introduce ourselves to the minister in our own words! These contributions could be a huge help as the new minister gets to know their new flock. Women’s Perspective has created a form that will be useful and you may add your own narrative and photos as well. We will announce when the form becomes available. Ultimately the binder, both in physical and electronic forms, will be presented to the minister for their private use in getting to know us. Completing this small project is, of course, entirely optional but as a gift of sharing ourselves, we hope you will participate.
On January 2, the UUA Transitions Office released the names and Ministerial Records of the ministers who submitted applications to become the next Settled Minister at East Shore. Although we cannot share anything about the applicants, we thoroughly read their records, combed through their websites, listened to and watched their sermons, and researched their social media presence. The work was truly inspiring!
Together we discussed our ratings of each candidate in a number of areas important to East Shore and chose those with whom we conducted one-hour live team interviews over zoom. In addition, we checked references. On January 22, we deliberated and picked our top choices for precandidates. On January 23, we contacted them directly and to our delight, we got prompt confirmations of their willingness to move forward with us!
During February and March, each of our Precandidates will spend time over a weekend meeting with the Search Committee, learning more about East Shore, participating in more in-depth interviews, and giving a sermon at a Neutral Pulpit. The precandidate process is entirely confidential. Search Committee members will not provide any information about these candidates or the neutral pulpits. Part of the reason for confidentiality is that ministers generally do not inform their current congregations they are leaving until they have an offer from another congregation.
During March we will have the difficult job of selecting the minister we feel is the best fit to lead our congregation into the future. If the minister is mutually inclined, we would announce the candidate to the congregation in the first part of April. Then the candidate will visit us for 8 days, already scheduled for April 24-May 1. Back up dates are May 1-8. They will be on campus to meet our congregation and lead a service at either end of their time. Immediately after that last service, the congregation will vote on calling them to be our next settled minister.
We will provide an update in the next Beacon. Meanwhile, you are welcome to contact us by emailing [email protected].
Review of Completed Steps Toward a Settled Minister
Minister Search Committee (MSC) is voted in by the East Shore’s congregation – June 2021
MSC retreat with Transitions Coach – August 2021
Congregational Survey – September 2021. This helps ministerial candidates get a feel for who we are and helps guide the MSC in selecting a settled minister.
Cottage and Focus Group Meetings – September/October 2021 At these small group meetings, the MSC listens to the congregation’s concerns, hopes and dreams.
Beyond Categorical Thinking: a workshop to enhance our congregation’s inclusive thinking and prevent unfair discrimination in our search – October 2021
Neutral Pulpits selected, where ministerial candidates will preach – October 2021
Complete Congregational Record and supporting documents – detailed summary of congregation’s history, present and future aspirations based on information collected from the Congregational Survey, Cottage Meetings, and Focus Group Meetings – December 2021
Congregational Record available for review by ministerial candidates – December 2021
Ministerial candidates submit their Ministerial Records to MSC – January 2022
MSC researches the Ministerial Records, minister websites, and listens to sermons. Virtual interviews are conducted. Reference checks are done. – January 2022
by David Langrock, member of the Ministerial Search Committee