COVID Protocols for 2023

COVID Protocols for 2023

As we prepare for the holiday season and the New Year we are reaffirming the ways we show our love and compassion to this community.

We also are aware of the Tridemic (Covid, RSV, and Flu) and how it is already impacting our community. We want to ensure all those who come through our doors feel safe in this space. With that in mind, we are planning to keep our mask requirements inside buildings into the new year. We recognize not every place is requiring masks, and we hope you can respect this one hour a week request.

We encourage all of you to get your Omicron booster and flu shot this year.

If You Are Sick, Please Stay Home

In an effort to be proactive, we are asking if you or anyone in your household exhibit the following symptoms, please stay home:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing, excessive mucus

If you have been exposed to or test positive for COVID, the flu or RSV, please stay home.

Coffee Hour in the New Year

While we have loved the outdoor coffee hour in the warmer weather, we know many of you don’t like to be cold. We are offering two options for coffee hour in the new year! One option is to grab your coffee in the Sanctuary foyer, and head outside. The North Room patio is equipped with some electric heaters and is a great option for those who still feel more comfortable in a space with good airflow. The other option is to grab your beverage and head into the North Room, this area will be designated as mask optional. One thing to keep an eye on… on the wall by the kitchen we have a CO2 monitor. The monitor will be green when there is still fresh air, but will turn red if it gets too high. We hope this will help those in the room self monitor.

Why Do We Still Require Masks?

While many places are lifting this requirement, we will continue to require masks inside buildings. This is partly because of a lack of airflow in our Sanctuary, but more importantly it is because we are a beloved community. The CDC’s guidance is about individuals. As congregations, our decisions about masking or un-masking need to include the needs of our whole community. We are in covenant with one another to act not just as a collection of individuals, but as a body that works for the good of all.

Because our Unitarian Universalist faith is grounded in values that call us to care about one another and our interdependence, we must continue to make our decisions by centering the needs of the most vulnerable among us. The UUA encourages congregations to maintain a culture of indoor masking when they gather in person.

Practicing Consent and Compassion

Part of being a beloved community is respecting others and showing compassion. When making decisions, always practice covenantal consent—taking time to listen deeply to one another’s concerns and fears before making any decisions that might put members of the community at risk, either physically or mentally.

We need to acknowledge everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to risk. Please remember, these are your fellow East Shorians and we want to respect people’s decisions on how they participate in worship.

We also want to talk about hugging, handshakes, high fives, etc. As we teach our youngest children in Our Whole Lives (OWL), consent is very important. Even those friends who you may have always shared a hug with before may not feel up to it yet. Let’s show our children and each other we understand consent. Before hugging, please ask… AND be prepared to hear “no.” This includes members of the staff. We all love you… and we want to stay safe too.

by Staff Leadership Team

2022 A Year In Review!

2022 A Year In Review!

As we flip the calendar and ring in another new year, we wanted to take time to lift up some of the highlights of 2022… a year to remember!

We started the year by returning to in-person services! While we continue to make adjustments to keep us safe, it has been wonderful to be together in person yet again.

In February, our Caretaker, Joseph Newman left to work for a large tech company, and we continue to wish him well.

In the spring, we Ushered in the Future to a successful Operating Fund Drive, and then members gave even more to continue to keep the current staffing levels, and we thank you! Our Director of Finance and Operations, Rebecca Chatfield brought in a total of $178,000 from the Employee Retention Credit (government grant).

The ESUC Mighty Choir returned to singing for services in mid spring and has become quite adept at singing while masked.

On Sunday, May 1, East Shore history was made with the calling of Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa as our settled minister. It was a unanimous vote. This was after a wonderful Candidating Week when her energy was felt both online and in person.

We celebrated two extravagant Music Services; one on May 15 and one on December 18 where many talented members and friends of ESUC appeared, including the East Shore All Stars – a house jazz band made up of pianist John Chmaj, saxophonist Noel Barnes, drummer George Gatins, guitarists Craig Nelsen and Arthur Knapp and vocalist Eric Horner. Also featured were violist Barb Clagett and the vocal quartet Princess Guy. We also welcomed musical guests Caitlin Kelley and Kevin Krentz who provided wonderful classical violin and cello pieces.

This year we were able to welcome back the return of the Women’s Perspective Retreat and Seabeck!

Over the summer we sent a full delegation and more to General Assembly in Portland. Members were able to learn about the possible changes to the Article II of the bylaws—including changes to our Principles. It was also an opportunity to celebrate Amanda Alice Uluhan receiving her credentialling for a religious educator!

Director of Music Eric Lane Barnes spent four days in Ann Arbor, Michigan with the Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries’ conference in July. It is always exciting, edifying and rewarding to spend time learning what other directors of music are doing in their congregations, and finding new ways to bring music to life in services.

Meanwhile, we welcomed 45 children for a wonderful week long summer camp. Over Labor Day we hosted an Our Whole Lives training for 60 adults who are helping to bring OWL to East Shore and other UU churches in the area.

The summer also brought us a chance to prepare for our new minister and beautify the campus.

Big thanks to those who participated in the religious education coordinated multigenerational community mural project in the Education Building! We also have been fortunate to be able to display the mural from the Red Road Totem Pole Journey. This mural includes paintings by some of our members and Rev. María Cristina, while she was with her previous congregation, connecting us even before she was called.

We also took time to vote to change a few bylaws, including the fiscal year. In December we voted in the 2023 budget as we transition to the new year.

In the fall, we fully welcomed our new minister and her wonderful mother, Mama Lily. It was a joyful celebration that included the return of the Salmon Bake, an East Shore tradition. Other returning traditions, flower communion, water communion, the Margaret Fuller Tea, the Thanksgiving potluck and the BBQ!

We are excited to welcome back OWL with two junior high sexuality classes taught, with more coming in 2023. More in-person activities returned including the Auction which was multiplatform. It was not just a success financially, but also for community building. Thanks go to all who donated, bid, and participated!

Our social justice actions didn’t stop! We continued to write postcards to voters in areas with low-voter turnout. We also fully welcomed our guests with Congregations for the Homeless, and the tags for the Giving Tree. The Women’s Perspective Team has begun collecting items for aftercare kits for women after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This work will continue into 2023.

The last few months of the year have given us a glimpse of the joy ahead.

Reverend María Cristina sang ‘Todo Cambia Todo’ with the Mighty Choir when our scheduled soloist Lassie Jordan had to stay home due to COVID. Lassie was able to sing the solo a few weeks later (the first solo she’d sung in her life) when our two visiting ministers requested the song for their service. The Mighty Choir along with the East Shore congregation has been learning and singing several new songs in Spanish, including ‘Las Posadas,’ ‘Gracias Por el Amor’ and ‘Gracias a la Vida,’ which Mama Lily sang along with Reverend María Cristina at her celebratory service in September.

In November, we welcomed all the new members (24 in total) who joined since the pandemic with a celebration during worship. Thank you to Rev. María Cristina for a meaningful Día de los Muertos service at the end of October. The alters she created were beautiful and healing. We also enjoyed a new tradition with Las Posadas!

Our need to go virtual has been a blessing. We continue to see a large number of guests logging in each week, and since 2021 our worship attendance numbers are up from an average of 98 last fall to 150 in 2022! And our Zoom circle of attendees has increased; we added a new group of remote East Shore fans at Murano Living, who gather each Sunday thanks to new member Betsy Gelb.

Here’s to a new year with more memories!

RE-Flections: Nourish the Roots of Family Ministry

RE-Flections: Nourish the Roots of Family Ministry

Our Family Ministry programs in Winter Quarter are engaging with two Our Whole Lives classes, re-establishing a High School Senior Youth Group, expanding and renovating our Little UU’s Nursery room, and establishing a new Spirit Makers faith development curriculum for elementary students. Our charge in all of these diverse and worthy programs is to model and guide the spiritual practice of holding space for the wholeness of our children and youth. We are blessed with so many families – including yours! – who bring their joys, curiosities, struggles, and creativity into our learning community. By focusing on building and nurturing a substantive partnership between East Shore staff, volunteers, and families, we feel that we can more authentically offer the mentor relationships we believe so deeply in. We envision the Unitarian Universalist East Shore community to be a lifelong spiritual home for many.

And precisely because we want to nurture the basic foundations of these hustling and bustling programs for the years to come, we would like to invite you to participate in and work more closely in this shared ministry with our Religious Education staff.

Volunteer in an event or classroom to support multigenerational, intergenerational, adult programs, or family ministries. These could include seasonal events, worship for all ages, childcare, or Sunday school programs. We love including folx who are excited to bring their unique skills and passions into our ministry.

Volunteer on a team of folx reviewing the administrative foundations of family ministry programs. These could include our volunteer handbook, our parent handbook, our safe congregation’s handbook, and our programs guide. We love including folx who have an eye for detail, safety, and inclusivity.

Volunteer on a CORE team to support Family Ministry. These Community Organizers of Religious Education are the cornerstone of a strong Family Ministry Program. We meet in a small huddle quarterly to map out our annual calendars, ask the big questions, and tend to the many threads that make up the pathways of future generations and leaders at East Shore.

by Amanda Alice Uluhan, Director of Religious Education

Winter Holidays at East Shore

Winter Holidays at East Shore

Join us this holiday season for any or all of our wonderful winter holiday services and programs! We offer a variety of traditions to enjoy and celebrate with your family. All are welcome to join us and make East Shore part of your holiday traditions!

Las Posadas: December 4, 10:30 am
In many Latin American countries we celebrate Las Posadas, a pre-Christmas tradition recreating the arduous journey of Mary and Joseph fleeing from violence and seeking refuge. In the United States, many churches incorporate this tradition as an expression of solidarity with all immigrants and refugees. We are reminded that we are a living sanctuary and a welcoming congregation.

Cookies & Carols: December 9, 6:30 pm
Announcing the return of Cookies & Carols! On Friday evening December 9, come to the sanctuary with some cookies to share (home-made is great, but store-bought are tasty too.) We’ll pass around carol books and sing carols near the piano with music director Eric Lane Barnes. After we’ve sung our fill (about an hour?) people are invited to share cookies and bring all leftovers home. (It’s sort of like Flower Communion, but with cookies.) Please bring containers to cart your pastry treasure home in. This is a very family-friendly event!

Winter Pageant: December 11, 10:30 am
Participate in the intergenerational pageant presented by the RE children and teachers. The skit, “A Holiday for All,” was written by East Shore members Luna Jubis and Sunshine Glynn. Volunteers and families please email the Director of Education, Amanda Uluhan to participate in the pageant. Please join us for this seasonal celebration.

Music Sunday: December 18, 10:30 am
Join the East Shore Mighty Choir under the direction of Director of Music Eric Lane Barnes for a wintry mix of traditional carols, classical pieces and brand-new holiday songs. Special musical guests will add flair and spice to this engaging, meaningful and very merry program.

Winter Solstice: December 21, 7:00 pm
Please join us for this wonderful gathering to celebrate the return of the sun on the longest night of the year. With worship, ritual, music, stories, and a circle dance, followed by a soup and bread potluck. Please join and bring soup, bread, cookies, or juice to share.

Christmas Eve: December 24, 4:00 pm & 7:00 pm
4:00 pm: Enjoy the unique, rousing peace of Christmas Eve in this service crafted for children of all ages. Come at 3:30 for cocoa and a story walk!
7:00 pm: Join us for a lovely candlelight service with carols and readings that convey the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas Day: December 25, 10:30 a.m. (Online Only)
Join us on December 25th, Christmas morning, for an informal contemplative Sunday service. Dress casually, PJ’s or even your favorite ugly Xmas sweater. Let’s connect in a relaxed atmosphere to share stories, joys & sorrows, and inspirational music. All Welcome!

New Years Day: January 1, 10:30 a.m.
Join us this morning for an all ages service celebrating the start of a new year. We will celebrate with stories, songs, and learn how to prepare for the coming year like mother earth does. We will sit quietly and rest and dream.

Las Posadas

Las Posadas

Las Posadas is a Latin American Christmas tradition that has been adopted in the U.S. by many churches. As Unitarian Universalists, we stand on the side of love, justice, and human rights. By re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s perilous journey, we recommit ourselves to defending the rights of immigrants to flee from danger and to seek refuge. During Las Posadas, the people dressed as shepherds and angels (and reindeer too!) processed through the neighborhood singing Christmas carols, carrying candles, and wearing jingle bells around their wrists and ankles. They stop to knock on doors asking for shelter and they are told “There is no room at the inn.” Finally, they knock on the church door, and they are welcomed with joyous songs, “Welcome pilgrims! Come in! Our home is humble, but our hearts welcome you with love!” Once inside, everyone enjoys a communal meal, dancing, decorating the tree, playing games, and enjoying being together. Perhaps next year we can give this tradition a try at East Shore? Wishing you and your families Feliz Navidad and a Blessed Holiday Season.

by Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa

Preparing for Rev. María Cristina!

Preparing for Rev. María Cristina!

It was only two months ago when we voted unanimously to call Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa to be our next settled minister. At the time we did not know any specifics as to when she was going to be moving and beginning her position at East Shore. We would now like to provide an update as we are sure that Rev. María Cristina and Mama Lily have been on your minds and in your hearts.

Rev. María Cristina’s First Worship Service

Let’s start with the date that may have the greatest significance to many of you, her first worship service. You will want to be sure to mark your calendars with our annual In-Gathering service which this year will take place on Sunday, September 11. This is always such a special event for East Shore as we celebrate the ways many of us return to various rhythms of our lives. And this year the service will mark our embarking on a new chapter with Rev. María Cristina as our minister. It should be epic!

Official Start Date as Minister

Another important date to be aware of is the day Rev. María Cristina will officially start her position as minister. That day will be August 15. We expect her first days and weeks will likely be occupied moving into her office, getting set up in our IT systems, and attending meetings with staff, Board, and certain groups. As that date approaches, we will coordinate with Rev. María Cristina to communicate with the congregation how to get in touch with her directly and when her office hours will be.

Rev. María Cristina and Mama Lily are Moving to the Area this Month

Finally, we are very happy to announce they have found a wonderful place to live in the area. We do understand they will be able to move into their new place sometime in July. Out of respect for their privacy we’ll leave out details of precisely when and where and let them share more as appropriate.

Help Rev. María Cristina Get to Know Us

If you haven’t already, please consider contributing to the Getting to Know Us project. 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 an online form with a few questions and where you may include your personal narrative and photos as well. Copies of a physical form are available in the office. Stay tuned for details on opportunities for support and for updating your database profile!

We remain as thrilled as ever that we are so shortly going to be building our future with Rev. María Cristina. We will certainly continue to be in touch with her as needed and share more news over the summer.

by David Langrock, Ministerial Search Committee