East Shore Reunited: Auction 2021

East Shore Reunited: Auction 2021

East Shore holds an auction every year in November to build community and raise money for the church. This year we are aiming to REUNITE EAST SHORE with a live event, if Covid numbers allow! We will still be managing the auction online, including the catalog and the bidding, so that everyone can participate, but we are also planning a free live event in the church for the evening of Saturday November 13th, to help us all REUNITE! Be sure to keep that date free!  A parallel zoom event will be held online for those who are unable or uncomfortable to be there in person.

We’d love to bring the East Shore community together by having every member or friend involved in some way, so now is the time to start thinking about what YOU can contribute.  Traditionally many of us fill our social calendars with events we bid on at East Shore’s auction, and we’re hoping that you can offer an event or service to other members and friends of East Shore as part of this.

Themed dinners and other food-focused events are always popular as they help us to build community by sharing a meal together, but activities such as group bike rides and hikes, family friendly events such as picnics, visits to farms, zoos or other outdoor locations, and online events which enable everyone to participate, can all contribute to the church and the community.

In addition to events, services such as gardening, handyman assistance, and offering rides to the airport are always popular, and physical items such as artwork, food, crafts, gift baskets and gift cards or certificates are particularly welcome.  Here’s a list of Auction Contribution ideas 2021 to help you come up with what you can do.

The Auction Team will be contacting you to see what ideas you have, so start contacting your friends if you’d like to team up with someone, and start planning.  You can complete this Contribution Form when you’re ready, or contact any of the following members of the Auction Team to discuss your ideas.

Jim Shuman, Amanda Strombom, Caroline Haessly, Nancy Bissell

Please enter your donation to East Shore’s Auction here: Contribution Form


Update on Re-Opening: August 25, 2021

Update on Re-Opening: August 25, 2021

We are writing today to share recent developments in regard to in-person participation in services, religious education, and all other activities designed to take place within our congregational buildings and on our grounds as we navigate the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At its August 24th monthly meeting, the Staff Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees discussed the continued surge of the Delta Variant, the results from both Reopening Surveys, conversations with members, information from a medical professional in our congregation, and the site CovidActNow.org. We discussed various activities and have made the following decisions:

Based on this information, the Board and SLT recommend we not open in September for In-person worship. We also note, medical experts do not expect the surge to reverse before October.  Expressed another way, it’s unknown how long this surge will last, but it almost certainly is going to get worse over the next month. Because of this, there will be no large in-person indoor events until further notice. This does NOT mean we are closing! We have so many great events happening, and more to come.

Worship & Large Gatherings

At this time, we will be postponing our in-person worship services. Virtual services will continue, even when in-person services begin. The East Shore staff and volunteers who will make the multi-platform services a reality will require approximately two weeks “lead time”. So, the good news is when we do get the “go” signal, we ought to be able to transition quite rapidly. This may also affect other large gatherings later in the fall, such as the in-person auction, and those decisions will be made based on the information above and changes in models as we near the events.

Small Groups

We have already begun booking rooms and outdoor spaces for small (under 20 people) events. Groups include Covenant Circles, book groups, and some teams. We are using rooms throughout the campus including Spring Hall, the North Room, and the North Room patio. These spaces allow us to have enough ventilation. Please note, masks are still required in all buildings regardless of vaccination status, so any food and beverages may only be consumed outside. If you would like to reserve a space, please fill out this form.

Religious Education

Our kids, especially those unable to be vaccinated are missing in-person RE! After reaching out to a sampling of parents, we will be offering in-person, outdoors RE for all ages, twice a month for the months of September and October. All teachers will be fully vaccinated, and everyone will be masked and socially distanced. Parents will be welcome to sit in on RE classes or have other opportunities during this time including family covenant circle, speakers, etc.

Outdoor Events

Based on the survey results, we see many of you would like to get back in person for small outdoor gatherings! We are excited to see these events happen and are looking for members to take the lead in planning some social gatherings to allow you to see our beloved community. Staff is available to help with logistics and more, and we hope the inspiration comes from YOU! Please keep an eye on these events and note that we may require registration to keep the numbers manageable. If you would like to plan one of these events with some staff assistance, please contact Nicole.


We know 15% of our income comes from rentals, with many of whom we have a long-standing relationship. We will begin welcoming renters into the space following state guidelines as well keeping groups to less than 20 people. Please note, a regular Wednesday night renter is the Polish school which may include children ineligible for vaccines. If you prefer to not be in the RE building during this time, please inform Dianne when making room reservations.

Staff & Office Hours

While the staff is all vaccinated, we also want to make sure we are keeping our staff safe and healthy. We are keenly aware when the building reopens, members and friends can choose their comfort level of certain activities and participate accordingly. The staff is being asked to assist in running events and classes and would not have the same choice. On behalf of the entire staff, thank you for your support these past 18 months and your continued care.

The staff will begin returning to the office more regularly! We will be slowly returning all to our full hours. We will have facilities staff onsite daily and we will have office hours with a staffed front desk every Thursday and Friday from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Other staff may also be available during these times and are available by appointment for in-person meetings. Please reach out directly to a specific staff member for their availability.

In Summary

  • Staff will begin returning to campus for more access to the buildings
  • Small groups (<20) OK inside if masked, fill out the form here.
  • No eating or drinking inside until further notice (which limits some types of gatherings)
  • Larger groups outside also OK, works as long as weather permits
  • So…. this means sorry! no in-person worship on Sundays until further notice

Looking Forward

We will continue to provide updates as needed, and greatly appreciate your patience and support as we continue to navigate the impact of Covid-19 challenges. We will continue to talk to medical professionals and will likely send more surveys to obtain member input.

We thank you for your steadfast support, responses and understanding while these quick decisions need to be made.


Steve Furrer, Rebecca Chatfield, Nicole Duff, with the full support of the Board of Trustees

Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey Blessing Celebration

Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey Blessing Celebration

On Sunday, July 11, East Shore was honored with members of the Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey who arrived in the afternoon for a blessing celebration of this year’s 20th anniversary journey. The 5,000 pound, 25 foot totem pole was carved from a 400-year-old cedar by members of the House of Tears Carvers in Bellingham. At the end of the journey across the U.S., the totem pole will be gifted to the Biden Administration and stand outside the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian before being transferred to a permanent location.

This year, the carvers have dedicated their travels to bringing awareness to social justice issues such as the need to protect indigenous sacred lands, the threats of the climate crisis and extractive industries, the impact of centuries of generational trauma, and the power of healing strength and community. Images represented on the totem pole depict Native heritage, stories, and mythologies. For example, the full moon at the top signifies Grandmother Moon as she watches over the earth’s waterways. The eagle symbolizes power and strength, and the Chinook salmon signals its important role in the lives of the indigenous people throughout our region.

At about 3:00, an audience of approximately 140 people burst into applause as the Red Road to DC crew pulled into the north parking area. As the crew organized their display, people were able take a close look at the totem pole and talk with other attendees. Mural painting, music and song, picture-taking and writing cards to the Biden administration added to the afternoon of inspiration and celebration!

The two-hour blessing celebration opened with a welcome to all by Rev. Steve Furrer as well as Board President Mike Radow. At the close of the event, Rev. Jennifer Alviar offered another blessing to send the Lummi off in a good way.

Duwamish elder, Ken Workman (Yayustubsh) then welcomed the Lummi onto Duwamish land in English, Lushootseed, and other languages spoken by Pacific Northwest tribes.

Lummi participants, Freddie Lane (Phreddie Xwenang Lane), Doug James (Sit Si Kadem) and Siam’ewlit, spoke eloquently of historical trauma and the need to protect indigenous sacred sites as well as the land, air and waters.  Elected officials Lynne Robinson (Mayor of Bellevue), Patty Kuderer (WA State Senator, 41st District), Representative Vandana Slatter (48th District) and Janice Zahn (Bellevue City Councilor) responded by acknowledging that government must consult with the tribes more effectively and urgently address climate change along with other environmental challenges. Melanie Schambach, a social artist from Guatemala who is accompanying the Red Road to DC Journey, provided an 18’x18’ foot canvas mural she had created on which children and adults painted images and wrote messages.

Thanks to Eric Lane Barnes for making a video of all the photos submitted by East Shore members and friends in attendance.

We would like to acknowledge the special role that Beth Brownfield and Deb Cruz of Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship have played in amplifying the reach of Lummi efforts to engage the wider community. Through their efforts, members of East Shore and other Unitarian congregations in the Northwest and beyond, have learned from and connected with the Lummi.  In addition, East Shore members have developed relations with other tribes, most notably the Duwamish on whose lands East Shore is situated. Our Land Acknowledgement recognizes this relationship and our responsibility to their homeland. In committing to the 8th principle, we hope East Shore will continue to strengthen our relations with local tribes and learn more about indigenous issues. Watch for future book groups, film showings, speakers, and programs which will help deepen our understanding and attain our goal. Bearing witness to the Red Road to DC journey is an important step in that direction.

A special thanks to the staff and congregants who shared their time and energy to make this a very special afternoon for all as we gathered together to honor the Red Road to DC Journey. Also to the East Shore Earth and Climate Action Ministry Team who endorsed the journey and is recognized on their page.

If you would be interested in getting more involved in exploring indigenous issues here at East Shore, please contact Lynn Roesch or Marilyn Mayers.

To learn more about the Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey or make a donation, you can go to redroadtodc.org or watch this YouTube video.

Two recent articles about the Totem Pole Journey are:


Pagan Affiliated Group Starting at ESUC

Pagan Affiliated Group Starting at ESUC

East Shore has a long tradition of earth-centered and pagan ministry, including the medicine wheel outdoor worship area, and Winter Solstice Celebrations going back more than twenty years. For more than ten years our family has helped keep these traditions alive at ESUC.

In 2019 we attended GA in Spokane, and participated in the Summer Solstice ritual led by the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS). CUUPS was chartered by the UUA in 1987 to provide networking among Pagan Identified UUs, provide outreach of Unitarian Universalism to the broader Pagan community, encourage greater use of music, dance, visual arts, poetry, story, and creative ritual in our services, and foster healing relationships with our mother the Earth and all her children. Over one hundred UU congregations have CUUPS chapters.

This year, Rev. Steve Furrer asked us to lead a session of his UU Sources class on “spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.” After the session, attendees asked about next steps. We discussed starting a CUUPS chapter (we are both members) at ESUC. Rev. Furrer expressed support for the idea. Karen LaFé, a CUUPS member who attended the class, is also on board.

If you are already a member of CUUPS, please let us know. You won’t need to be a CUUPS member to join our chapter though. We’ll be open to everyone.

We expect to start meetings in the fall. Our first project will be preparing for the Winter Solstice Celebration. We are committed to celebrating in person in the sanctuary on December 21. We are also discussing ideas for an in-depth class on earth-based spirituality, or a pagan study group.

Contact LeAnne Struble at [email protected] and Chris Struble at [email protected] and with any questions, or to get on our list for upcoming meetings and events.

LeAnne and Chris Struble

Supporting Our Children’s Trust

Supporting Our Children’s Trust

ECAM and the Board of Trustees sign amicus brief in support of Our Children’s Trust lawsuit.

In 2015, 21 youth filed a constitutional lawsuit in US District Court for Oregon in which they were represented by Our Children’s Trust (OCT), a non-profit public interest law firm.  The case is Juliana v US which argues that the federal government’s actions are causing climate change, thereby violating the rights of the younger and future generations to life, liberty and property under the US constitution. The youngest plaintiff is a Unitarian, and he received the UU Ministry for Earth Guardian of the Future award in 2018.

Other lawsuits are pending among various states.  One such lawsuit, Aji Piper, et al v State of Washington, is claiming there is a fundamental right to a clean and healthy environment.  Dan Von Seggern at the Center for Environmental Policy is drafting and filing a short amicus brief for petition of review with the Washington State Supreme Court to get the youth-led  constitutional climate case heard in court.

Here is our statement of support: The congregation of East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, WA, along with their Earth & Climate Action Ministry team, supports policies to ensure a healthy environment today and for future generations.

by Kristi Weir

Summer Reopening Plans

Summer Reopening Plans

Dear East Shore Members and Friends,

As we have seen the COVID numbers decrease, vaccines increase, and restrictions lifting we can now begin the process of returning to campus. We want to make sure we keep everyone safe and roll this out slowly.

Masks on Campus

We want to keep all our members, friends, staff, and visitors safe, and we recognize the CDC has lifted many guidelines. We know not all of our members and friends have had the opportunity to get vaccinated while others are immune compromised. We are requiring anyone on our campus to wear a mask while inside the buildings, even if you are vaccinated. Masks are optional outdoors. We hope to lift this requirement as our community safety is assured. Staff will not be required to wear a mask in their office, as long as they are vaccinated. Each staff member has the option of what they feel comfortable with for their offices. You will see a sign outside their door letting you know if they are requiring masks in their offices. We ask you to please respect wishes of those who wish to keep their masks on.


We cannot require guests to be vaccinated and cannot guarantee everyone is vaccinated.

Food & Drink

Any food or drink MUST be consumed outside. Staff may eat inside after they are fully vaccinated.

Summer Operating Hours (July 1-Labor Day)

Staff will only be onsite Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (caretakers only). Campus is closed on Fridays and Saturdays this summer. Many staff will be onsite on Thursdays, 10-2 beginning June 30. Stay tuned for our operating hours in the fall.

Also, please keep in mind the staff has been working for more than a year with little-to-no vacation. As they become vaccinated and the weather improves, many staff may be using their vacation days. This might cause a delay in some responses, so please be patient as we work on a new way of working and taking some much-needed breaks.


We look forward to having you back in the Sanctuary for worship this fall (date TBD). We are so thankful for the ACE Crew, especially Ralph Lutz and Lee Winstrom for working on a way to make the service multi-platform. We still have some experiments to run before we can go live, but are hopeful.

This summer, Rev. Furrer will be taking a well-deserved vacation and study break. We have a wonderful lineup of guests from around the globe who we have been working with for months. Because of this, we will continue to be online only for worship until Rev. Furrer returns in September. At that time, we will be able to know an exact date. We will still be seeing some of our beloved staff including Eric Lane Barnes!

Religious Education for Children and Youth

Religious Education classes for children & youth are starting summer break on June 13th, when we’ve got an online and in person celebration planned. We had a great year and look forward to several social events planned during the summer. Please plan on joining us for some or all of these events. You can check out some of the dates here.

We’d love to have you involved as a volunteer teacher for the children and youth programs we’re running. By September, many of our youth and adults will be well vaccinated and much of the state and school will be opened. We are anticipating a return to Religious Education and worship in the church building after Labor Day. Our next church year starts September 12, 2021 and runs through May 22, 2022. We can confidently plan that at least some of our time will be on-campus and outdoors, with the possibility of this being weekly as the pandemic allows, perhaps interspersed with virtual time as we need to continue with that type of programming. We have been working to establish several outdoor gathering spaces and have several tents for extra shelter. We will continue with our flexibility as the pandemic realities continue to unfold.

Small Groups

We are working on having spaces for small groups! We have made some outdoor “rooms” outside the North Room on the lovely new patio built by Colton Burd. We are also working on spaces in the North Room and South Room (newly renovated) that will allow for airflow. With just a few rooms, please make sure you make a request with this form. We ask that for now, you keep groups to less than 15 people (masked) if you are indoors.

Some Upcoming In-Person Events

Throughout the past year, we have had some in-person events. Our BLM Flash Stances have continued, we began Soul Saturdays, and the Grounds Team has been working on our campus. We will continue to add more events in person, starting with some outdoor events. Please keep an eye out for some on-site picnics this summer. We also hope to return to in-person choir rehearsals at the end of August. In the fall, we are planning for a multi-platform auction with an in-person event!


We are fortunate to have long time renters, Ryther, continue their summer camp. This summer, the Religious Education building will be off limits during the week. This camp is an essential service for children on the autism spectrum. To keep them safe, they will be in the RE building and the grounds behind that building. We also ask that no one else enters that building during the week. Thank you for understanding and helping us keep this high-risk group safe.

A Word About Language

“Hybrid” is a commonly used term for a mix of online and in-person components. It is considered problematic from a cultural perspective. In addition, in connotes combining the characteristics of two things (consider hybrid fruit and cars), which isn’t always quite what we mean. New terminology is emerging and we expect it will continue to evolve. We are choosing to use “multi-platform” to describe a combination of in-person and online options.

Looking Forward

Another letter will be coming out before Labor Day to update you on fall offerings.

Thank you for your support this year and going forward,

The ESUC Staff