“I’ve got a feeling twenty-one is going to be a good year.” At least, that’s become my anthem as I’m counting down the days of the year, not just because this year has been one to get through, but because hope gives us something to live for, to look forward to. “Somehow when you smiled I can brave bad weather.” Tommy, by The Who, that I’m pulling this song, 1921 from, is one of my all-time comfort music. It’s good to have things that are familiar. To nourish and feed our souls, and enliven our bodies when they need it most.
This spiritual community intends to do just that as well, accompany you with opportunities to share yourselves in a deep way in community. We’ve done a lot of good things at East Shore in 2020. We know it hasn’t been easy, we’ve been Zoomed out, had a hard time being at home with ourselves and whomever, and missed the very activities we could use even more of right now. Let’s take a look at what Nicole Duff and I reflected on as some of our 2020 East Shore Highlights:
- Increased congregation and friend participation in Black Lives Matter Flash Stances
- Hosted Congregations for the Homeless 24/7 for the month of October, helping to house men experiencing homeless
- Virtual ministry team engagement including Women’s Perspective, Khasi Hills, Meaningful Movies, the Giving Tree and more!
- An emerging Pathway to the 8th Principle group, which supported enrolling over 50 East Shorians involvement in Virtual Beloved Conversations
- Hosted virtual worship services which now, includes ACE Tech and Sound Crew livestreaming the Minister and Music Director from the Sanctuary, and continuing some of our annual beloved traditions, such as Water Communion, All Soul’s Day, Winter Solstice, and Christmas Eve
- Welcoming guest speakers and preachers – From around the world!
- Virtual Memorial Services & Small Memorial Garden interments
- Virtual Religious Education classes on Sunday morning and on Friday nights for youth groups
- Virtual parent and caregiver meetups, daily church check ins, and weekday stories for all ages
- Soul Saturday drive thru events, a pandemic version of holiday festivals to hand out goodies and enjoy some of the seasons’ turnings
- Reaching out to members with phone calls and postcards sent to each and every one!
- Virtual auction – Bringing in $20,000+ for the Operating Fund and $23,000+ for COVID Food Relief Project, which includes ongoing giving and engaging in person volunteer opportunities
- Virtual Congregational Annual Meeting
- Created a comprehensive set of Annual Board Goals, and accompanying action plan and Board rubrics for supporting growth, learning, and a common vocabulary
- Welcoming a new Director of Finance and Operations, a new Director of Religious Education, and incorporating an IT Support Coordinator into employee responsibilities
- A whole new website, refurbished to feature worships, events, volunteer opportunities; the new website includes a land acknowledgement for the Duwamish Tribe, ancestral keepers of this sacred land
- Adult programs moved online with new innovative classes
- Installation of automatic doors on our buildings
- Start of our COVID Food Relief Project – with weekly opportunities to volunteer
- Sent more than 20,000 postcards and letters for East Shore’s Get Out the Vote (Presidential & Georgia Runoff)
- Welcomed a new Director of Religious Education
- Welcomed a new Director of Finance & Operations
- Hiring of an IT Support Coordinator
So, let’s do our best to “see it in together” and welcome a new year, planting new seeds, planting new images of how to be the best people we can, together, inhabiting this world we live in delicately and with a sense of everyday awe that helps to fill up our cup so that it may runneth over. And that’s exactly where I’m hedging my bets, that better times will come, when we can be together in person, when there will be less suffering and more joy in the world, and that we will live in peace.
by amanda alice uluhan, Director of Religious Education