New Developmental Minister Coming in August

Jul 2, 2018 | News

by Tom Doe, Board President

The East Shore Board of Trustees is very pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Rev. Dr. Stephen Furrer to be our Developmental Minister. Rev. Furrer is a sixth generation Unitarian Universalist with great passion for the liberal ministry and for our movement. He has served a diverse range of congregations since 1981 in both settled and interim capacities. For more information and examples of his sermons, please check his website,

Our thanks to Ryam Hill and our Developmental Ministry Task Force, Rhonda Brown, Milly Mullarky, Jerry Bushnell, Mary Anderson, Uzma Butte, and Ann Fletcher for bringing this process to fruition. Their recommendation to the Board was unanimous and enthusiastic. Task force members who had been on our settled minister search commented that Rev. Furrer would have been a strong candidate had he applied for our settled minister position at that time. The deal was sealed partly with a visit here last week by Rev. Furrer and his partner, Ms. Carol Allen, to confirm the rumors circulating in California about northwest weather were not true.

Rev. Furrer will start in August 2018, pending completion of his contract at his current church. His contract will have a five year term.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we greatly appreciate the patience of our members, the hard work and respect for confidentiality by the task force and Board, and the support of our interim minister Rev. Dr. Elaine Peresluha, our SLT members Jason Puracal and Aisha Hauser, and our former president, Jack Slowriver, through this process.

More About Stephen

I look forward to a ministry where I can serve a congregation and live out my passion for Unitarian Universalist ministry.

I am currently serving as Interim Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, California, where I’ve been helping the congregation tighten up their committee and organizational structures. I have also supported the membership in recasting their vision following the unexpected departure of their former deeply loved minister.

Before Livermore, I served Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. My work there focused on economic belt-tightening, simplifying structures, and re-energizing staff and lay leadership in the wake of steep and sudden human and financial losses for the church. Pastoral visitation and listening, plus a hands-on organizational presence produced a successful canvass and search — and a positive optimism not present in recent years.

Throughout my ministry, I’ve been very active in community affairs, including AIDS Alliances, Hospital Chaplaincy Boards, the NAACP, various peace and interfaith groups, the Religious Task Force on the Economy, and the Alliance for Progressive Action. I’ve also participated in direct person-to-person activities: stage managing the Mother’s Day Peace Rally, leading the Memorial Day Prayer on the town square, blessing and helping install the new Postmaster, delivering the High School baccalaureate address, and even being emcee for a local pops concert. I’ve also been involved in GA programming, and as a primary sponsor of the ’96-’97 General Resolution, Working for a Just Economic Community. I have successfully written grant proposals to both the UU Funding Program and the Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, totaling over $200,000. In 1994, I was appointed by the UUA Board to an open position on the UU Funding Program, eventually Chairing the Fund for UU Social Responsibility. From 2004 through 2010, I served on the UUA’s West Regional Sub-Committee on Candidacy.

I believe that excellent Sunday worship services are at the heart of all healthy congregations. Consequently I invest a lot of my creative energies into that effort. My personal style is relaxed, focused, and professional.

I am sixty-seven years old, partnered with Carol Allen, with a thirty-eight year old daughter, Meredith, who lives in Australia with her husband, Dan, and two small children. I had primary custody of Meredith throughout her youth. I am a sixth generation Unitarian Universalist, one of four siblings who attended the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, Ohio. We remain a close family.

Before attending seminary, I worked in the U.S. House of Representatives where I became active in the National Democratic Party. I have retained this interest.

I love theater, being in nature and camping, writing, rollerblading, working out at the gym, baseball, history, reading, puttering around on boats, and sitting by the water’s edge.

I loved being a dad and seeing my daughter grow up to be a loving and self-confident young woman (and now mother). She’s a psychiatric social worker and an active member of the UU Fellowship in Brisbane, Queensland.

Finally, I experience the Unitarian Universalist ministry as an incredible honor and challenge and pleasure. I believe our UU movement is an extraordinary force for good in the world and I’m both honored and grateful to serve it.

Rev. Dr. Stephen Furrer


Contract Minister to Begin July

East Shore has hired a new Contract Minister to cover the interim before Rev. Dr. Stephen Furrer begins in August.

Crystal Zerfoss will be our Contract Minister. Her duties will be to cover pastoral care, rites of passage, and lay pastoral consultation beginning July 1.

All requests will be directed through our Caring Coordinator, Milly Mularky.