As the seasons change we want to welcome everyone back to East Shore this September! On Sunday, September 10 we will celebrate this community with our annual Water Communion and Ingathering Potluck.
At 10:30 a.m., we gather to give thanks for having access to drinking water and for the bodies of water near us that allow us to refresh our bodies and souls. We recommit ourselves to defend, care for, and honor this sacred element on which our very lives depend. Join us as we bring together the waters that we have collected (from rivers, beaches, streams, or kitchen sinks) to pour into a common bowl, symbol of our Beloved Community.
Then, at 11:30 a.m., join us for the annual Ingathering Potluck (also know as Salmon Bake)! Please plan to stay after the service for a potluck and lunch! We will provide salmon and curry chickpea salad (vegan) and we ask you to provide sides and desserts. We also ask you to consider volunteering! We need cooks and people to help set up. We have great directions to follow, so it’s hands and people willing to give of themselves. To volunteer, please sign up here.
by Nicole Duff, Director of Membership Development
As we prepare for the return of the church program year, Water Communion, Salmon Bake and so much more we wanted to update our COVID Policies.
The threat of COVID, RSV, and the flu haven’t gone away, so as we come back we also know the timing aligns with the most likely time of year to catch a bug. We want to ensure all those who come through our doors feel safe in this space, and we want to grow the feeling of community. Beginning September 1, we will be transitioning from masks required to masks ENCOURAGED.
We want do want to share a few other items regarding this.
We continue to remind you about consent and continue to encourage you to talk about comfort in masking and touching.
We ask if someone requests you to wear a mask, especially indoors, that you respect that request.
Staff may have individual requirements for their workspace. We have some staff members who are high risk and may ask that you wear a mask while in their office area, we ask you all to respect that.
Individual groups can make their own decisions. Ministry Teams, Covenant Circles, and more should have a discussion about how everyone in the group feels. Please approach these conversations with care and a sense of community.
We will continue to provide masks to all who wish to wear them.
We ask everyone who has any cold symptoms such as: fever, cough, runny nose, etc. to please stay at home (and join us via Zoom!)
We encourage all of you to get your boosters and flu shot this year.
Air Flow in Buildings
If you are planning to come to East Shore and are not sure if you want to wear a mask, please know we have a lack of airflow in our Sanctuary. We added air purifiers in the Sanctuary to help. We do have a CO2 monitor in the back of the Sanctuary to help you make an informed decision. We have also added air filters to the classrooms in the Education building.
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.
The Outreach Team has been working hard to design a new East Shore t-shirt to wear at rallies, marches, East Shore outings, worship, or even just out and about. In the end, we came up with three designs. Big thanks to East Shore member Katherine Fugitt who works at Buttonsmith for helping to put our vision into reality.
The three shirts tie in with our mission statement. You will have the option of three slogans: “My Faith is Love (with the UUA’s Side of Love heart symbol)” “My Faith is Community,” and “My Faith is Justice” The back will have the East Shore logo and name. All the shirts will be printed on soft navy shirts and there are adult and children’s sizes.
The t-shirts will cost about $20-25. We believe this is a great price and we also made choices which we feel reflects our values. Buttonsmith is a local, union supporting, fair wages paying mom & pop shop. These are all values we want to support and that often means paying a bit more. Those members who have financial hardships can speak directly with Nicole Duff and any member who wishes to buy an extra shirt for someone who may not be able to afford one is encouraged to do so!
Here are some tips to keep it lasting a long time:
Wash with cold water, inside out
Line dry or dry on low heat, inside out
The shirts will be available for pre-order at Salmon Bake on September 10th! We ask for you to pay with a credit card. We will have samples of each shirt plus other shirts for sizing. Shirts will also be available for ordering online through Realm!
We look forward to seeing groups of East Shore members and friends proudly wearing these shirts to spread the good word of Unitarian Universalism and ESUC!
by Nicole Duff, Director of Membership Development
From June 21-25, more than 2,300 Unitarian Universalists traveled to Pittsburgh. Among them were two of our Delegates, Grace Colton and Dave Baumgart, Board President Signe Lalish, friends Cecelia and Julia Hayes, and staff member Nicole Duff. They were joined by our other Delegates online including Paul Buehrens, Maury Edwards, Ryam Hill, Marcy Langrock, and Mike Radow. Other staff members, Rev. María Cristina and Rebecca Chatfield also attended online.
Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt was elected to serve as President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) with more than 95% of the vote. Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt was appointed interim co-president of the UUA in 2017, and was the UUA’s first woman president. Now she will be both the first out queer individual and the first woman of color elected to the role.
“Unitarian Universalism has a vital, liberating message for our time. Our nation and denomination are experiencing challenges in a time of significant division, change and radicalization,” said Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt. “But together, I know we can serve one another, organize for justice, widen the circle of concern, collectively imagine new ways forward in community, and grow spiritually. I am looking forward to the continued work of radical inclusion, faithful witness, and the embrace of a wide range of voices and leaders for our faith.”
Additionally, UU delegates from all 50 states representing 715 congregations participated in voting democratically on denominational business including the new proposed bylaws for the association. Article II of the Unitarian Universalist Association Bylaws – “Principles and Purposes” – is the foundation for all of the work of the UUA, its member congregations and covenanted communities. Delegates voted to advance recommended changes to Article II, which last underwent a wholesale revision in 1987. A final vote on the revised Article II will take place at the all virtual General Assembly in 2024.
East Shore’s own delegates wanted to share about their experiences. Stay tuned for details about a GA Delegate Forum and a worship service. Here is what they say:
Attending GA as a delegate via zoom was actually easy. Attending the program itself was also easy, and more fun by far. I got to hear the main talk to the UUMA about fascism, and it was so meaty I decided to sign up for two follow-up webinars. I also believe the threat of fascism here has never been stronger than it was on January 6, and it’s still a threat. I heard the talk from Imani Perry, author of Breathe, which Jeanne Lamont and I offered to the congregation as a common read if not a UUA common read. It was gratifying to see Article II amendments that were sensible and reasonable, and others fail, and then for the revision to get overwhelming support by 86%. I’m sure it will pass the all virtual GA next year and enter the bylaws of the UUA, while nothing historical is ever lost to our memories! Next year, YOU should consider being a delegate for ESUC!
This was my first GA and my first impressions were: This is a BIG event, it is overwhelming in several respects, and the other participants are very friendly and willing to help me determine how to best participate. The program guide was about a 100 pages, so there were many opportunities to attend workshops that would be interesting to me. It took several hours of review to determine my best response to all the business items, aligned with how I believe the East Shore members would want me to vote. I was surprised to learn there were 3 different processes for processing the business resolution, the AWI’s, and the Article II amendments. My greatest enjoyment came from the wonderful music, and carrying the East Shore Banner with Grace Colton into the Assembly Hall.
I will definitely want to go to the 2025 GA (2024 will be virtual only). Many thanks to my fellow ESUC participants, especially Nicole, Maury, Grace, and Rev. María Cristina for their guidance.
I attended GA as a business only representative via zoom. This allowed me to attend the business sessions and read all the online discussion which helped me with the votes taken. The sessions were informative, and I enjoyed hearing from UU members of congregations all over the country. The processes for amendments, resolutions, being a candidate, etc., go on over months. Keeping up with UUA activities is key to being part of the governing and decision making that will impact all the member churches. I look forward to East Shore learning more about and participating more fully in this larger process, so we are well represented and well-informed on current issues. It’s what we pay our dues to support, and there is exciting work going on that East Shore can be part of. And happily, Article II passed with a large majority.
I attended Disrupting Church: Creating What’s Next and was reminded that taking risks in times of change can have joy in it. Knowing how to deal with conflict, apologize and repair goes a long way toward making lemonade out of lemons. Also, the UUA is continuing to integrate the Widening the Circle of Concern’s recommendations into how it operates and Article II was approved by about 86% of delegates to continue being discussed for the next year before a final vote at GA 2024, which will be all online.
I was struck by how orderly we managed to move through a full agenda. With proper space for celebration, music. Even though the divestment and reparations business item was rejected, I hope the younger UUs keep trying. As always, reaching across divides is the key. What impressed me most was the continual modelling of accountability, as reported and shown by the care team. They admitted mistakes, avowed that “we will do better”, and nicely reminded us to be mindful of everyone’s accessibility needs.
This was my fourth in-person General Assembly and I find them more and more meaningful each year. This year I was thankful for the passionate sermons and wonderful music, but I found myself often drawn to the exhibit hall. In my role with the UU Association of Membership Professionals, I spent time talking to so many ministers, religious professionals, and members from across the country about the future of Unitarian Universalism. And from my view… the future is bright!
Seabeck 2023, our annual Memorial Day weekend retreat, was an amazing success with 165 folks in attendance from East Shore UC, University UC and beyond. I served as Dean, the nominal leader of a team of a dozen or so leaders who organized a weekend full of activities and community building. I wanted to share with everyone a small glimpse of our retreat.
The weather this year was unusually cooperative. We had cool cloudy mornings and sunny afternoons. Each afternoon the lagoon was full of boaters. Each evening we delighted in the lovely social hour spread laid out by Margaret Hall’s team extending out onto the warm Juniper patio. The clear late night skies made for excellent stargazing opportunities through high-powered telescopes each night inspiring exclamations of awe from young and old and ministers alike.
Saturday afternoon Bill Austin led three dozen hikers down to beautiful Guillemot Cove and they all made it back! And Tim Fitzgerald led a trip at low tide to see all the aquatic life at the beach and in the tide pools. Saturday night we basked in the sun-drenched amphitheater singing along to the tunes provided by the Craig Nelsen trio. Warm sunny weather on Sunday meant a spirited game of Ultimate Frisbee led by Nicolo Gelb, a dry and festive UU Olympics, a bird identification walk through the woods led by Barabara Retelle, a contemplative service at the cathedral in the woods, a fantastic salmon bake on the beach, and a cracking fire with s’mores and sing-a-long on the way back.
And Seabeck indoors was just as lively! Saturday and Sunday mornings, Guy Nelson led a creative play workshop which encouraged a gathering of more than 60 to play, be vulnerable and share our beautiful creativity with one another. Sunday morning, Rev. Justin Almeida and Rev. María Cristina led a beautiful worship service with singing, meditation, a life-centric retelling of the biblical creation story, and a sermon on the importance of creating and sharing joy in community. Afternoons were filled with dozens of workshops running the gamut from fun to educational to reflective to justice work. Every night one could find dozens of folks and especially our young adults playing card games, poker and board games into the wee hours. Friday and Saturday evenings, Cafe Seabeck led by John Chmaj was rocking with individual open mic numbers and extended improvisational jams. Saturday night there was a lively Swing Dance party. Sunday night was capped off by an eclectic talent show featuring our wonderful youth followed by our young-at-heart. There were skits, and songs, comedy routines all cheered on by a fun-loving supportive crowd.
This was but a brief recap of some of the bigger moments over the weekend. I have no doubt there were thousands of small but just as meaningful interactions among old friends and new as we practice however imperfectly being a beloved community. To all the leaders that spent so much of their time and energy making this happen, I am deeply grateful. I am also grateful to the 75+ folks who volunteered either by leading a workshop or signing up to take a shift driving the golf cart or running the boat dock. I also want to thank Nicole Duff, Rebecca Chatfield and Amanda Alice Uluhan who facilitated registration, accounting, insurance, and youth safety for Seabeck 2023. To all of those who were able to come, we were all blessed by your beautiful presence and the spirit you brought, and for this too, I am grateful. We hope you had a great time and that you will come back. For those that didn’t attend this year, we hope you will consider coming next year as we still have plenty of room and we need you to make Seabeck 2024 even better.
Humbly and Gratefully yours,
Seabeck Dean 2023/2024
On Sunday, April 23, 2023, East Shore Unitarian Church officially installed their new settled minister, Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa! You can see parts of the Installation at esuc.org, but here are some selections. Relive the day here.
The Welcome by Connie Hirnle on Behalf of the Ministerial Search Committee:
Welcome to East Shore Unitarian Church. On this very special day we will formally install our new minister, Reverend Maria Cristina.
My name is Connie Hirnle and I use she/her pronouns, and today I am representing the Ministerial Search Committee, many of whom are up here with me today. The Committee includes Ann Fletcher our chair who is not able to be here today, Leta Hamilton, Julie Heise, Dave Baumgart, Martin Cox, David Langrock and myself.
Just over 20 months ago we came together to begin our search process for East Shore’s next settled minister. A little less than one year ago, our congregation unanimously voted to call Reverend Maria Cristina and she accepted that call. Four months later, she gave her first service as East Shore’s settled minister and today we have the honor of celebrating her installation.
As her example leads us, we at East Shore Unitarian Church welcome theological diversity and practice radical welcoming so that every person who comes through our doors or online would know that they are fully valued here for their whole selves.
And on this special day, we especially welcome distinguished luminaries in the larger Unitarian Universalist movement and in our partner indigenous communities. We know many of you have travelled great distances to be with us and we are so grateful to you all for your loving support of our beloved minister and for your presence here today.
The Act of Installation with David Langrock, Board Vice-President
It is a great honor and a blessing for the members of the search committee, the BOT, and this congregation to gather today to celebrate the installation of our dear minister, the Reverend Doctor María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa.
In this past year, Rev. María Cristina has become our beloved Minister and we have witnessed her many gifts. Today, we wish to make public our celebration of being brought together by spirit. We wish to convey our trust, joy, commitment, and love and invite the larger community to bear witness to this precious and holy occasion.
This is a profound event in the life of our congregation. It is with a deep feeling of grace manifest and hope realized, therefore, that we formally recognize the relationship now existing between the people of East Shore Unitarian Church and the Reverend Doctor María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa, whom we have freely chosen and who has freely chosen us as we keep on moving forward building the Beloved Community.
Will the members please rise in spirit and/or body and join me in the following words:
We, the members of East Shore Unitarian Church recognize this installation ceremony as a celebration of a new shared journey. We are a welcoming community that understands radical hospitality as a spiritual practice. We are committed to the spiritual well being of our community and vow to continue to remain engaged in meaningful transformative work. We promise to speak the truth in love and to strive to live into right relationship with our words and deeds. We recognize in Rev María Cristina a compassionate and visionary leader who will accompany us on our journey towards wholeness. We believe that together we can bring much needed healing, compassion, support, encouragement, and love to our congregation, our staff, our community partners, our neighbors, and the friends who have not yet arrived. We are proud to call Rev. María Cristina our Minister!
We cherish our church for what we have done in the past, what we are today, and our ever-changing vision of what we can become. We celebrate its devotion to freedom, its belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, its commitment to social justice, and the care of our spiritual health.
We choose to install the Reverend Doctor María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa as our Minister. In doing so, we choose to journey together in the same direction – and in the name of love.
Church Board Vice-President: David Langrock
In representation of our BOT, it is my honor to express our gratitude and joy for your presence as our Minister. On this holy occasion, we reaffirm our trust and love. We have witnessed your prophetic preaching, your compassionate pastoral care, your welcoming smile and disposition in welcoming visitors and new members, and your delight in supporting our children in their religious exploration. You come to us fully prepared to lead us and fortify us as we strive to live into our mission and vision. You understand the complexities and challenges of both individual and communal spiritual development. Your years of experience as community advocate and organizer illuminate your approach to our developing authentic community partnerships. Your multicultural lived experience illuminates our efforts to deepen our social justice work. Your deeply held cultural values and earth centered traditions are gifts that shape our own commitment to environmental justice. Your experience as an immigrant helps us to understand that building the beloved community is to become sanctuaries and to cultivate hearts without borders. Your pride in being a Two Spirit/Queer woman inspires us to continue to expand the welcoming table. We are grateful for your gifts. … In the spirit of solidarity and true equal partnership, we vow to model speaking the truth in love, listening deeply and with an open heart, being in right relationship, being willing to forgive, supporting your spiritual well being, encouraging your self care, and offering opportunities for continued professional development, so that your ministry may thrive and flourish among us.. We pledge ourselves to remember that the work of this church belongs to us all. As we would ask you to be compassionate towards our short comings, so will we also remember that you are beautifully, imperfectly human and can falter. We recognize that we bear a responsibility in your material welfare and spiritual development. We pledge ourselves to maintain the freedom of the pulpit. We pledge to assist and collaborate with you in our common growth as a community of faith.
Rev. María Cristina, today we solemnly declare our trust and love for you and recognize that this act symbolizes a covenant together. It acknowledges our hope that you would dwell among us preaching the truth in freedom and love. Will you journey with us as we strive to put into practice our principles and together renew our commitment to working for peace and justice in our hearts, in our communities, and our world? Will you recall us to our best selves when we fall short of honoring our covenant of right relationship? Will you lead us in a mutual quest toward a greater understanding of spiritual practices that encourage us to bring our whole selves?
Minister: Yes, I will with your support, love, and solidarity.
Members: We, the members of East Shore Unitarian Church, do install you as Minister of this church and offer you our encouragement, support, compassion, solidarity, and love.
Minister: With a deep sense of gratitude, clarity, and awareness of my responsibilities, I accept my duties. May our relationship promote justice, radical hospitality, inclusion, and unconditional love, among us and in the larger community. Asi Sea! May it be so! And let the people say AMEN!