This year has been a year of many changes and transitions. In the fall, I was gone for several months welcoming a baby into our family. Part of the way through the year, Aisha announced she would be leaving East Shore. In March, Covid-19 pandemic precautions began and stay at home orders were issued. In May, a wave of civil rights protests swept across the world, and on May 31, at the near end of the year we lost one of our most beloved and extraordinary mentors, teachers, and friend, Walter Andrews.
I’m still processing and unfolding all of the pieces of this, fitting them into myself, and finding a way forward day by day. It is an extraordinary time truly a year filled with blessings and grief measured by the love and laughter and the tears and anger. It will continues to take time to understand and to adjust and it will not always be easy. I know I’ll need to remind myself to be tender and gentle and not ignore the ways I need to heal or the things that need tending.
Sometimes finding purpose feels like getting lost in a park or it can feel hard to start a spark strong enough to keep you warm. And for most of us there may be a lot of little sparks that help to keep our flame bright and glowing.
This year I want to extend a special thank you to the adults in the East Shore community that served the children and youth as teachers and advisors. We held several OWL programs, preschool, children groups, and middle and high school youth groups.
LeAnne Struble, Mollie Player and Alex Langrock led preschool and now our children’s coffee hour. Felice Nightingale and Dave Myers led an engaging and empowering middle school group. Doug and Emma Strombom advised the youth group. Leta Hamilton and Carla Schneider inspired our RE classes.
For our lifespan comprehensive OWL education, we had Carrie Coello, Eric Horner, Jennifer Alviar, Lindsay Folgelquist, Karen Dawson, LeAnne Struble, Barbara Stevenson, Felice Nightingale, Bill Chappell, Milly Mullarky and Jerry Bushnell.
This year, Washington passed a bill to get comprehensive sex ed in K-12 schools. It looks like it is going back in the ballot in November after some community push back. At East Shore and in Unitarian Universalism, honest, accurate sex ed saves lives. Thank you to the dedicated congregants who make it a priority to teach about gender sexuality consent LGBTQiA+. By teaching children from a young age the values and logic of healthy relationships and boundaries we instill it into them and help to make it second nature. We need open conversation about these topics. With out advocating for justice across identity, it is too easy for injustice to persist.
As we look forward to the summer and next year, I hope you’ll join your fellow congregants in a commitment to children and youth and to supporting the programs we provide. It takes volunteers to build this village so please join in!