From the Minister: Happy Anniversary

From the Minister: Happy Anniversary

April 23rd marks the one year anniversary of my Installation Ceremony as East Shore’s Settled Minister. On this date, I am filled with gratitude for the Blessing of our Shared Ministry. We have shared many joyous moments, celebrated birthdays and Child Dedications, experienced Sunday worship services with inspiring messages and fabulous music, shared delicious potluck meals, participated in invigorating nature hikes, and welcomed visitors and new members to our vibrant community both via zoom and in person in our beautiful sanctuary. We have also shared sorrows and supported each other during challenging times. Ours is a relatively new and yet profoundly authentic and loving relationship. Every day I am grateful for and proud of our gorgeous campus, our excellent staff, our committed members of the Board, Committees, Ministry Teams, and Volunteers.

Together we have faced tough challenges including the devastating findings of the MFC about the previous minister and our ongoing financial struggles. While we are all committed to our continued communal healing from such a traumatic and unfortunate experience with the previous minister, the work to create a balanced and sustainable budget needs your support.

This past October, we held our annual fund drive to support the operations of our church community for the coming year. Unfortunately, we didn’t reach our goal and even with severe austerity measures, we now have a gap of about $200,000. We need your help.

If you have not sent in your pledge, please do so as soon as possible. If you have already sent in your pledge, thank you! And if you can, please consider sending an additional $1,400 to help us close the gap. If every pledging member gave $1,400 on top of what has already been received, we can close the $200,000 gap right now.

We understand that everyone’s situation is different. If you already gave and can send an additional $1,400 or more to cover for people who are not able to give at this time, we would be so grateful!

We encourage you to give an amount that feels generous to you.

Closing the gap means supporting East Shore’s mission, being able to continue offering Religious Exploration and Music programs, meaningful worship services, urgently needed social justice work to support our LGBTQIA+ and Indigenous communities, our environmental and reproductive rights justice work, and our continued support of Porchlight as we together create a path from homelessness to stable living. Closing the gap also means that we can continue to fairly compensate our staff, to adequately maintain our buildings, and to support our social justice work that extends to the Khasi Hills.

East Shore’s financial health is a responsibility all of us share. Gifts in any amount are welcomed and appreciated! And your gifts of yourself – your time, your energy, and your talent – are as welcome and as appreciated as your financial support. This community has been through difficult times together, and I hope and trust that you have found East Shore to be a supportive and sustaining community. We have accomplished a great deal together and we have much to look forward to. As a pledging member of East Shore, I hope that, like me, you too have had transformative experiences here that inspire you to join me in giving generously to support our East Shore community. Thank you for your generosity. Happy Anniversary!

Relive the day here

by Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa

East Shore Building Reserve

East Shore Building Reserve

I am very pleased to report that thanks to some generous donors, the new Building Reserve Fund now has $136,000 of the initial $160,000 goal!!!

For anyone who has lived in an Home Owners Association (HOA), you will recognize the purpose of reserve funds. This is a way to accumulate funds for major repairs and replacements over time. This is a fairer way to plan for these expenses, rather than a series of special fundraisers when the roof needs to be replaced or the heater has died. We are all using the facilities so the overall replacement cost is spread over all of us, rather than just the folks who happen to be around when the repair is needed.

We are working on a 20 year plan so we can find the best number for future annual deposits that will allow for both growth of the fund along with handling the expenses when they arise. This initial amount is to get the fund underway.

Having this fund will also help reduce and eventually eliminate the need to tap into endowment funds as was necessary last year when one of the sanctuary beams was found to be rotted. That was a $45,000 cost and we had no other choice but to draw from endowment.

We are hoping to achieve the additional $24,000 to be able to reach our goal for 2024 in the near future. Checks made out to ESUC or East Shore Unitarian Church can be sent to the office, please note Building Reserve Fund on the memo line. If you plan to use RMD or Designated Charitable Trust funds, let Rebecca know so she can watch for the checks. These frequently don’t have a note indicating their purpose.

Thank you to everyone who has donated so far and thanks in advance to our future donors. (PS – it would be amazing to actually exceed our goal!)

by Geri Kennedy, Treasurer

The Women’s Perspective 2024 Retreat: A Great Success!

The Women’s Perspective 2024 Retreat: A Great Success!

The 42 women attending the Retreat at Rainbow Lodge declared it a stupendous break from the grind of daily life. At the closing session, appreciations mentioned were the radical welcome, the in-depth personal conversations, the music, the laughter and lazing, and the feelings of belonging to a valued sisterhood.

Milly Mullarky’s presentation, “OWL for Women: Sexuality Education as We Age” was sprinkled with humor and meaningful information about how we perceive ourselves and relate to others as sexual beings (and we all are) via the “Five Circles of Sexuality.” Saturday evening was a delightful conversation highlighting Gayle Knoepfler’s life and profession as a sex therapist. Personal time included book sharing, group singing, mountain hiking, hill walking, labyrinth learning, journal writing, meditation, yoga, naps, massage! and sensuality tools and resources discovery. Plus, the happy hours… This retreat was a delightfully fun time!

Save the next Retreat Date April 25-27, 2025!

by Margaret Hall

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

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.

Wear Red on May 5

Wear Red on May 5

Yes, we celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5th. However, did you know that day is also the National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls? Also known as Red Dress Day, May 5th honors the thousands of indigenous women and girls missing or murdered in the US. We encourage you to learn more about the causes, issues and efforts to combat MMIWG and sex trafficking.

Grassroots advocates call on us to wear RED to make visible the indigenous women, girls and other people who have disappeared and been murdered in this country and Canada. The entire month of May is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Awareness month to include in addition to women and girls, two-spirit and gender diverse people. We hope to see a surge of red at the Sunday morning service at East Shore on May 5th!

To learn more about what we can do to address the long standing crisis of MMIWP, visit:

Cultivating Connection: Nurturing Our Partnership with the Khasi People

Cultivating Connection: Nurturing Our Partnership with the Khasi People

During the month of May, East Shore will celebrate our partnership with the Khasi people, who live in the rain-blessed hills of Meghalaya, India. On May 5th we will dedicate our worship service to the bond that East Shore has with these Unitarian friends.

Rev. Morgan McLean, the Global Connection Program Manager for the UUA’s Global Connection and Emerging Community Office, will describe a new approach to global partnerships.

Our Khasi Hills Ministry Team will share how transformational their partnering experience has been.

This is a special Share-the-Plate service, where all donations will be shared with our two partner churches.

Please give especially generously on May 5th to support their community projects and educational programs.

Our Khasi partnership is a truly precious bond that transcends borders and cultures, a bond that embodies the essence of our Unitarian Universalist values. More than anything, this partnership is about deepening relationships between people. Amidst the rolling green Khasi Hills, live teachers, students, and members of the Khasi community—a people who are deeply committed to shaping their own destiny. Their dreams embody their aspirations of self-sufficiency, sustainability, and empowerment. Despite differences in faith and culture, we celebrate their Unitarian beliefs and long-upheld indigenous perspectives.

Our connection with the Khasi People runs deep, rooted in mutual respect and solidarity. From the humble beginnings of our partnership to its evolution over the years, we have embraced cultural humility, setting aside our egos to listen deeply and learn from one another. Trust is central to our partnership… trust that has grown through years of building relationships and honoring each other’s voices.
This partnership is not about charity but about shared humanity and shared dreams. Through this partnership, we expand our horizons, find common ground and discover new ways of understanding the world. Our journey with the Khasi People has been a transformative one. Through deep reflection and cultural exchange, we have gained insights into our own privileges and biases, fostering a spirit of deep humility and empathy.

At the heart of our partnership is a commitment to education, to nurturing the hunger for learning among the youth of the Khasi community. Witnessing their growth and success fills us with profound joy and reaffirms the transformative power of education. Our shared endeavors in education and community development have thrived, creating hope and opening doors to new opportunities. Here at East Shore right now, we have 20 members who are connected with a Khasi student whose education they sponsor. They stay connected through writing and sending letters.

We extend a heartfelt invitation to each member and friend of our congregation to join us in the Khasi partnership. I encourage you to explore new horizons, and to discover the surprising joy that comes from connecting with individuals whose lives may seem worlds apart from our own. Here are some ways you might join in:

  • Volunteer for projects like the upcoming Trinkets and Treasures rummage sale, donate items to the sale, or just come to shop at the sale!
  • You may be able to travel with us on a transformative journey to the Khasi Hills, where you will experience the richness of their culture firsthand.
  • Join a youth pilgrimage to the Khasi Hills in the summer of 2025 — as a youth, a parent, or a youth advisor — or contribute to support the youth service project.
  • Sponsor a Khasi student who is selected from the neediest families by the local sponsorship committee and enable them to stay in school.
  • Immerse yourself in a spiritual journey by studying the history, culture and religion of the Khasis. We have some fascinating resource materials to loan you.

Together, let us recommit to East Shore’s partnership with the Khasi People. Your presence, your passion, and your willingness to engage not only will shape the future of our partnership but also helps widen the path towards a more interconnected and compassionate world.

Please bring your curiosity and enthusiasm and join us at the May 5th East Shore worship service.

Khublei! Doug Strombom and Barb Clagett, Co-leaders, Khasi Hills Ministry Team