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!