by Barb Clagett and Doug Strombom, co-chairs Khasi Hills Ministry Team
In June, Karen McManus, longtime East Shore member and Khasi Hills Ministry Team member, was awarded a Stewardship award at a virtual meeting by the Board of Directors of the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council (UUPCC)! Karen has led multiple fund-raisers at East Shore (Trinkets & Treasures) for our Khasi partner churches and school. She’s also traveled three times to visit Khasi friends, work in the schools with both teachers and students, and deepen relationships. Congratulations, Karen, and many thanks for your super work!
She was nominated by Khasi Hills co-chairs Barb Clagett and Doug Strombom who said:
Karen McManus has been a hard-working, innovative, resilient, and compassionate member of the Khasi Hills Ministry Team at East Shore since 2013. Her fascination with the Khasi people and their Unitarian religion started with becoming a pen pal of a Khasi teacher in Kharang, Meghalaya, that led to a very supportive friendship. She then began visiting the Khasi Hills, taking 3 trips there – either with another person (2013) or in groups (2016 and 2019). This last trip was led by UUPCC leaders and included the UU minister of the Dallas church.
As a retired public school teacher, Karen was equipped with many useful skills for our program. I worked with her personally on her first trip; together we spent a full week in several different schools’ classrooms, including the Friendship School that East Shore is supporting. We worked with staff to present more interesting lessons. On the most recent trip (2019) she stayed an extra 5 days after the tour was over to support teachers in learning computer skills. Karen always makes a real difference in the lives of students and teachers alike. It is wonderful to see the spontaneity and joy in her work.
Back in the States, she co-led the first Trinkets & Treasures garage sale to raise money for the Friendship School in Kharang, with the focus on teacher salaries. Each year of “T&T” has been more successful than the last, with the total over 7 years being well over $20,000. Karen has been fully involved each year, even though she and her husband have moved back East, living on a sailboat and sailing both north and south along the coast. Making phone calls to East Shore volunteers from the sailboat, she took on filling the volunteer schedule in preparing for the sale in a very effective way. Then she’d fly back to Seattle to help out during the actual sale. We couldn’t have pulled off the sale, year after year, without her leadership!
Karen is still on the Khasi Hills Ministry Team at East Shore, often joining our meetings via Skype. Her passion for people, for improving education, for supporting people who are so concerned about getting an Englilsh-based education is ever-present. We treasure our relationship with her.