Great Expectations and New Beginnings

Great Expectations and New Beginnings


Our first month together has been filled with opportunities to connect and to get to know each other. I am so grateful for all the kindness my mother and I have received from this community. I also appreciate being part of a team with a great Staff and a Board committed to support our efforts to live into our mission and vision. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated team collaborating to develop RE programs that are inclusive and rooted in our UU values, meaningful worship services with excellent music and an awesome choir, administrative and technical support, and volunteers who make it possible to offer the kinds of programs and events for times such as these. How wonderful to preach in our beautiful sanctuary and see so many people both in person and via zoom! A very special thanks to everyone who makes Sunday worship happen. I appreciate you! 

It has been a month of intense learning for me. I have been attending regular meetings with the SLT, the Staff, the Board, the Lay Pastoral Ministers, and scheduling meetings with the various Ministry Teams. 

I am looking forward to the UUA Regional Staff leading the Start-Up of our shared ministry on Saturday October 15th. Everyone is welcome! This will be a time for the church leadership and the congregation to review our roles and responsibilities, to receive resources and support, and to articulate our goals.

Here’s an excerpt from a UUA article with some information about the Start-Up:

The search committee has done its job. The new minister [has arrived]. You’re excited, but also a little nervous. You want this new relationship to go well. But how to make that happen?

The most important part of a ministerial start-up is a facilitated retreat, for the congregation to get to know the minister a bit, and vice versa. Ministers need to know the history of the congregation, and congregations need to understand that their experience with former ministers will influence how they interact with a new minister.

During the Start-Up we’ll set priorities and discuss the different aspects of Ministry, who is responsible for what, and how we can collaborate.  I hope you will consider joining us on October 15th. More information about schedules and zoom links will go out soon.

Another exciting opportunity to connect and learn together is the creation of a new book discussion group. The UUA has selected the book Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism by Rev. Nancy Palmer-Jones and Karin Lin as our common read for this church year. Nicole has ordered 20 copies, register here to get your copy. Our first meeting will be on Wednesday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. Meetings will be in person and via Zoom.

On Sunday, November 13, I will be preaching about Mistakes & Miracles and have invited the authors to join us for the service and a Question & Answer session afterwards. What a great opportunity for us to meet the authors!  I hope you will join us on Wednesday, September 28th for our first meeting. Everyone is welcome! 

Beloveds, let us rejoice in this new beginning and let us unite in bringing our best selves to East Shore, our Beloved Community. 

“In the spirit of community and a sense of purpose in our ministry:
Let us commence the discovery of our strengths, our concerns, our grief and our joy.
Let this journey be one of love, authenticity and reverence.
Let us shape our lives, our work and our days as an expression of that joy,
that love and of our commitment to service and to each other.” 
Laurie Stuart

by Rev. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa

Board Buzz: Our Mission:  Practice Love, Explore Spirituality, Build Community, Promote Justice

Board Buzz: Our Mission:  Practice Love, Explore Spirituality, Build Community, Promote Justice

I agreed to join the Board because I care so much about our mission.  I recognize that a Board of Trustees has responsibilities that don’t seem particularly tied to the mission – legal and budgetary tasks that seem tangential, but I have learned that everything is connected to it!  And I want to share with you how intentional our Board is being about our accountability for living the mission and leading from it -and to it!

Usually, Boards have a retreat to prepare for the year ahead – to get to know each other, to learn about our governance structure and tasks and obligations, and to formulate the church goals for the coming year.  Your BOT and SLT have had THREE retreats.  In July, we came together for a full day to get to know each other deeply, build trust, learn about reflective listening, and learn about Policy-based Governance.  (And we shared things about ourselves that we thought others should know – do we talk too much?  Only when nervous?)  In August, we came together again for a full day to participate in a UUA-led workshop on Mission, Strategy, and Goals (and we learned about some meaningful object in each person’s house – silly stories and deep stories!).  In September, we came together for another full day to develop our Right Relations covenant and guidelines and to create our goals (and we learned what we each hope the Board can contribute this year).

All of us are feeling a bit over-extended, but what keeps us going is the fact that we are so focused on our mission – living it with each other, developing our capacities to live it ever better, and committing to grounding our work for all of you in our mission.

We are practicing love and building community as we get to know each other, share our authentic selves and our best selves, and create a covenant and guidelines that make clear our promises and accountability to this congregation and to how we hold and treat each other.  We spent over two hours in deep dialogue (What does transparency mean?  How will we be accountable?), and we were so blessed to have Reverend María Cristina add dimensions we had not even thought of.  This work is building our capacity to be a Beloved Community, where we engage with truth-telling, conflict, privilege and power, and compassion, in ways that explore the depths of our spirituality – our deep connectedness with each other and our higher purpose.  And we’re committing actively to promoting justice.  In our decisions, we will analyze what role power plays, whose voices are heard, and lift up all the voices so often left on the outside or unheard on the inside.  The Board and SLT have taken the Intercultural Development Inventory to look carefully at our own tendencies to bias, judgment and centering our own views, and we are committing to work together to develop our openness, curiosity, and understanding of those who experience life differently than we do.  We know this anti-racism work is an inside job.  We are committing to model and lead as we are able in helping create a culture of deep inclusion and welcoming, and an institution built on equity, with diverse voices at the center.  We have begun our goal setting (a very careful process shaped by Grace Colton and Ann Fletcher of the Policy & Governance Committee), and Beloved Community and equity inform these goals.

And I want to lift up the new opportunity we have as a congregation to create ourselves anew.  Reverend María Cristina has shared that she sees so clearly our need for healing – not superficial harmony, but deep healing where everyone is heard, everyone is included, and everyone’s needs to belong – including those often marginalized and possible future members – are met.  This is our defining moment.  We can choose to be leaders in the future of our multicultural faith.  We are ready for a larger vision of who we see East Shore to be in five years – the covenant we have with each other, what we stand for in the community and the world, and who and what we serve.  We can support this vision with a strategic plan and a budget designed to take us there.

Early in the UUA common read, “Mistakes and Miracles,” we find, “Nothing can change at its root until people with power join with marginalized people to choose a new way of being and living.”  Your Board is working hard to change at the root, to truly practice love, explore spirituality, build community and promote justice.

by Louise C. Wilkinson, Trustee

Updated Information for Member Meetings (and Renters)

Updated Information for Member Meetings (and Renters)

Hello, my friends.  As many of you know, we now only have one caretaker to cover all the cleaning, maintenance, and repairs on this large campus. While Celil is a wonder and always willing to assist, the huge volume of work doesn’t allow him to do everything we were accustomed to when we had a second caretaker.  As many groups are returning to meet onsite, I am sending a reminder that you are responsible to set up and tear-down your own events.  Sadly, I did not get any responses following my July Beacon article asking for volunteers to form a set-up team we can call on, but my dream is to have a group of members who are willing to help out occasionally. I would be very happy to hear from any of you who would like to volunteer for the “dream team” of set-up volunteers.  I do want to express my appreciation to all of you who kindly stepped up for Salmon Bake and for the Totem Pole event. We are very grateful to you for offering your time and helping to make the events extra special.

Meeting Set-up/Tear-down Procedures:

  • Complete the Member Room Reservation form, on our ESUC website. Under Additional Comments and Questions, include which types of tables you would like, and you will be informed where to locate them prior to your meeting.  Also note if you would like a TV cart for your meeting.  The carts are first come/first served, so submit your requests early. Instructions for use are located on the carts.  You must bring your own laptop to connect.
  • At the end of your meeting/event, please return the room to its original arrangement.
  • If you have used one of our kitchens, please wash and put away dishes and utensils, including emptying the dishwasher.
  • Wipe tables and counters and clean debris out of sinks.
  • Make sure coffee pots are cleaned and coffee grounds removed.
  • Brooms or vacuum cleaners are located in each space so that your group can tidy up messes.

Many thanks for your cooperation. Contact [email protected] with additional questions or updates.

by Dianne Upton, Facilities Manager

Join the Share the Plate Team

Join the Share the Plate Team

Share the Plate Team is welcoming new members!  Who are we?  Well, nine or ten times a year, we collaborate with the Worship Team and other Ministry Teams to feature the work of non-profits and service organizations during worship.  Our selections connect to stories and themes presented during the service and encourage contributions to organizations during the following month or so.  We invite a representative to speak during worship about an organization’s work and members have a chance to hear and ask questions after the service.  We also try to organize events during the month so members can learn more about the organizations we choose.

The Team takes a close look at the work of an organization and talks with its leaders in the process of making a selection.  Share the Plate recipients may provide direct services or focus on systemic concerns, addressing needs at the local, national, or international level.

Recent organizations selected include:

In October we will lift up the Lhaq’temish Foundation. The Foundation’s purpose is to build a healthy community “by strengthening our people through cultural, social and economic abundance.” Their work supports Lummi students and artists, the work of the House of Tears Carvers (featured in recent totem pole blessings at East Shore), and other needs that are community driven.

Please contact any member of the Team with questions or if you would like to join us. Current members are Trevor Hall (chair), Marty Wilhelm, Cathy Barich, Marilyn Mayers, and Carrie Bowman. We meet on the third Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m.  Our meetings generally last one hour.

by Carrie Bowman

Congregations for the Homeless Volunteers Desperately Needed

Congregations for the Homeless Volunteers Desperately Needed

Congregations for the Homeless is coming to East Shore in October. Support of the shelter is one of the main ways East Shore fulfills “service is our prayer,” but not enough people are volunteering! You can sign up right now!

Congregations for the Homeless (CFH) is our October ministry, where 25-30 homeless single men stay in our Spring Hall from 6:45 p.m.-7:00 a.m. They are served a hot dinner, breakfast, and can utilize our shower facilities, laundry, and receive life-coach counseling, basic personal health care advice, and may select donated good-condition clothing.

These men have often spent months to years of their lives feeling the judgment and shame of being homeless. To have a volunteer bring a warm meal and offer a smile and a kind word is powerful; to sit down and share a meal with these men is a true gift for you and them alike. Eating and chatting with them allows them to feel a part of society, and it allows you to see they aren’t so different from the rest of us. Sharing a meal sends a clear message to the men that they are lovable and loved; you too will enjoy a much more genuine experience from this brief interaction. You don’t need to be pressured to solve any of their issues during dinner; all you need to do is care about them, and be interested in what’s happening in their lives.

Right now, we need 6 groups to provide dinners, 20 people to host (greet the clients and represent East Shore), 7 to shop for supplies (using a provided list), and 23 to create sandwiches (using provided fixings).  You can sign up at  If you would like more information, call Dean Dubofsky (425-495-3328) or Peggy Phillips (425-417-1366)

Auction 2022: We Need Your Contributions Now!

Auction 2022: We Need Your Contributions Now!

East Shore’s Auction 2022 is coming up on November 5, 2022.  We already have some fabulous offerings, including an Indonesian Satay Dinner, tickets for “Hello Dolly” at the Village Theater, a Salmon Dinner for 10, and six nights at an Alpental condo.

We invite every member and friend of East Shore to participate in whatever way you can.  We’re especially looking for dinners and events we can do together to build community, but artwork, gift certificates, gift baskets and homemade food are also always popular.  Can your Covenant Circle, or Book Group come up with a shared item to contribute?  We need your contributions no later than by October 9.

To contribute an item to the auction, fill out our Contribution Form

OR if you want to offer an item you’ve offered before, just email Rachel Herbert, our catalog coordinator, or Auction Chair Amanda Strombom.

18- Month Auction – Due to the financial year change, there will not be another East Shore Auction until the Spring of 2024.  So please consider offering two of each item, one for 2023 and one for 2024, to help spread out the auction benefits over a longer period.

To learn more about this year’s auction, watch this video: