Installation of Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa!

Installation of Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa!

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, 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!

Support East Shore in 2023!

Support East Shore in 2023!

Have you noticed the new visitor-badge board? We have so many new visitors that I needed a larger board to hold all the nametags! Were you in the Sanctuary last month when we welcomed 20 children into our community in a child dedication? Rev. María Cristina and I are also excited that 46 members and friends are currently engaged in the Transforming Hearts class, and that’s after 95 of you attended the program by Alex Kapitan. East Shore is shining right now and the momentum has us ready for all the joy yet to come.

In June 2022, the congregation voted to transition from a fiscal year (July-June) pledging year to a calendar year (January-December). This spring is our transition!

For the past few years, we have seen an increase in members who are set up for regular monthly giving. This is great because it helps us plan for the year as we can predict giving. Some members are even signed up to be a sustainable giver, meaning their pledge will automatically increase every year by a percent of their choice. This increase will happen every January.

What we need is those members who give by check, stocks, or designated giving to fill out a pledge card and help support East Shore for the rest of this current calendar year. For those new to East Shore, this is also a great time to start your support of East Shore and show your commitment to this community. You can pledge now here.

Please join us on Sunday, March 12, as we pledge our support to East Shore and the work we are doing here.

by Nicole Duff, Director of Membership Development

Seabeck Registration Now Open!

Seabeck Registration Now Open!

May 26-29

Registration is now open for our annual retreat at Seabeck! Register here.

What is Seabeck?

The Seabeck UU Retreat is an intentionally inclusive and multi-generational annual church retreat over Memorial Day weekend at the Seabeck Conference Center overlooking the Olympic Mountains on the Hood Canal The retreat offers Something for Everyone and is a wonderful way to get involved and more connected with members of East Shore, University Unitarian and the Northlake UU congregations.

You can explore the housing options at the conference center and the housing price list for 2023 at We also have a sample weekend retreat schedule. Pricing includes accommodations for 3 nights (Friday-Sunday), eight family-style meals (Friday dinner buffet through Monday breakfast), and the weekend programming for all ages.

2023 Featured Speaker: Guy Nelson on “Creativity Games and Storytelling”

Guy has led this activity session in two previous years at ESUC Seabeck Retreats and people rave about the experience. The games are playful, fun and non-competitive. They quickly build a deep connection between participants and tap into everyone’s innate creativity and imagination. As the sessions evolve, participants explore storytelling and how much we can learn from telling our own stories and listening to those of others. For many it’s a transformational experience as we reflect on our habits of thinking, speaking and creating, then expand them beyond our self-defined limits. No experience necessary, all ages teens to seniors. Wear comfortable clothing. No props needed, though a notebook may help you remember key ideas.

Questions? Email [email protected] and we’ll forward your question to the relevant retreat leadership team member.

We look forward to seeing you at the retreat!

David Langrock, Dean; Sheridan Botts, Registrar; Jeanne Lamont, Publicity

by Jeanne Lamont

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

Support East Shore in 2023!

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