From the Rector
More than Just Us
I love history. I love to learn about the quirks and loves and disappointments and hopes of those who have lived before me. I find it fascinating to walk in the steps of those who lived 50 or 500 or 5,000 years ago. And I think that part of this love is because when you can enter into the life of someone who lived, through their artifacts or photos or diaries, you come to realize that there is more to this world than just us.
Our merry band of archivists at All Souls Parish have been hard at work in the last few months, sorting and cataloguing the boxes and and boxes and boxes of gathered history of All Souls. (if you’d like to join in the fun, contact Alan Schut, Archive Wrangler) What is being unearthed is really incredible––the journal of an organist who played at All Souls and Good Shepherd in the 1930s and 1940s, a pastoral letter to be released upon a parishioner’s death, photos of the last time that All Soulsians worshipped in masks, during the 1918 flu pandemic. Box after box is a reminder that by becoming part of this congregation we have entered into a stream of Christian community, one that has been flowing for well over a century, and one that we hope will continue to flow for many years to come.
At every Annual Meeting for awhile now I’ve been reading from the annual reports of 25 and 50 years previous. And each year I am amazed to re-learn two contradictory things: that life has changed, and that many things remain the same. For instance, I was stunned several years ago in a stewardship report from the 1960s to read the Stewardship Chair encourage All Soulsians to weekly give as much to the parish as they spend on cigarettes. And, at the same time, there seems to be a mention each and every year of the of the effects of a disastrous flood in the undercroft. May this be the year without one!
This feeling of connection with those who have gone before us feels resonant for me with one of the gifts of the Anglican tradition––that we are part of something that is much, much more than us. The more than us can be All Souls, the Diocese of California, the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion. It’s why praying the Daily Office feels so powerful to many people––as you pray you are taking part in a communal wave of prayer that encircles the globe. And ultimately these connections, this feeling of “more than us” is related to the Source of All Being, God.
So I’d like to encourage one and all to come to our 2023 Annual Meeting this Sunday, starting at around 10:10am in our Parish Hall and on Zoom. (here’s the link on our site) If you’re coming in person please bring some tasty things to share. Online or in person get ready to re-connect with All Soulsians past and present while we prepare for those yet to come.
From the Wardens
Summary of the January Vestry Meeting and Looking Back on 2022
The Vestry met on January 18, 2023, for the last scheduled meeting of the 2022-2023 Vestry cycle. With the cycle drawing to a close, and four Vestry members stepping down, it was appropriate for the meeting agenda to be focused primarily on looking back to assess our work in 2022. What have we accomplished? What is left to be tackled by the next Vestry?
About a year ago, led by the Rector and Warden team, the Vestry set four goals for ourselves. The annual goals included active ministry listening, a successful Living Waters campaign, full integration of our amazing Jordan Court project, and a commitment to addressing specific pain points and bright spots that would inevitably arise in our community over the course of the year. During the January meeting, Vestry members reflected on our collective work and agreed that significant progress had been made in each of our goal areas.
Active Ministry Listening – Breathing energy back into our parish life post-COVID has been a true focus, and each Vestry member has played a key role in understanding the current state of each of our ministry areas. This year, we took a systematic approach to assessing the health of each ministry and began the work of understanding what is (or is not) needed next to support that area of life in our community. For 2023, the new Vestry is committed to continuing active support of our ministries, following up on specific action plans for each area. The new Vestry is also keenly aware that some areas may no longer be a need or a focus for All Souls, and the team will ensure the best way to channel that energy into other areas of need.
Living Waters – While it would be simple to focus only on the significant financial outcome of the capital campaign, we would be missing out on many other elements that made this year’s capital campaign a success: The leap of faith required to take on such an endeavor in the fragile context of 2022; the grace with which the campaign team collaborated and led; the careful congregational listening we undertook to ensure all voices were heard; the clear communication that aligns expectations with reality; the careful leadership to honor the gifts that we have been given. In 2023, the Vestry recognizes the need to continue in all of those efforts as the projects take shape.
Jordan Court Integration – The new building and community on the corner of Oxford and Cedar represents tens of thousands of hours of work to provide housing for those in need and offices and apartments for All Souls. And while much of this work was done well before 2022, we still needed to get across the finish line this year. The Vestry reflected on how All Souls has managed through the growing pains of “digging out” (shout out to “The Diggers”! You know who you are) and moving over, the challenges of adapting to new ways of accessing space and staff, and to life with new members of our community. In 2023, the Vestry seeks to do even more to find ways to share our new space and be in community with the residents of Jordan Court. There is also an opportunity to focus on how best to use common spaces at Jordan Court as our old space is renewed.
Commitment to Addressing Pain Points and Bright Spots – All Souls is fortunate to have had lots of bright spots this year and has withstood some pain points as well. Thus is life in community. By keeping this goal front and center for our Vestry this year, we were reminded of our role to celebrate successes and provide reinforcements when things get tough. We have no doubt this kind of leadership will continue with the 2023 Vestry.
It’s been an honor to serve as the Junior and Senior Wardens this year.
Melissa and Irina
From the Lay Eucharistic Ministers’ Team
My First Service as a Chalice Bearer
“I don’t want to go.”
“Honey, you don’t have to. It’s fine.”
Every Christmas Eve and Easter morning I invite my daughters to come to church with me. They often come, mostly to please me. This year my elder daughter was visiting other relatives, and my younger daughter didn’t really want to go. But at the last minute she relented and came.
We arrived just as the service was beginning. I presumed she would want to sit near the back in chairs set up for late comers so she could slip out quickly at the end. But she didn’t. I followed her up near the front and we sat down.
In the car on the way to church I had mentioned I would be serving wine during the eucharist and would need to be away for a bit during the service. I explained, “When we go to the altar to eat the bread and drink the wine, it’s to remember what Jesus did with his disciples the night before he died. You can come forward to take the bread and wine if you like. Or you could also come up and cross your arms to receive a blessing, or you can just remain seated.” I presumed she would remain seated, but I wanted her to feel comfortable with whatever choice she made.
This would be my first time serving as a chalice bearer. I had participated in the training, so I knew which part of the service I needed to come to the altar to prepare to serve. But when the ushers brought the chalices forward, I became nervous and double checked the bulletin. My daughter looked over, thinking I had lost my place. “We’re right here, Mom.” She was following along, reading the words, singing the songs. She smiled and sat closer to me. Something was happening for her in the midst of the worship; she was engaged; she was happy.
When it came time, I went to the front, received the eucharist, then Phil motioned for to me to follow him as he gave the bread. I could hear his words: “The body of Christ. The bread of heaven.” Then I, pouring the wine: “The blood of Christ; the cup of salvation.” I felt an awesome responsibility, the tremendous privilege of sharing this wine with each person, of looking into their eyes, knowing they had freely come to the altar to remember what Jesus had done and to participate in it. I was surprised to feel the companionship of other Christians who have drunk this cup for hundreds of years. We still remember. We still choose to come, to eat this sacred meal together once again.
And then, there she was—my daughter. Smiling at me, with bread in her hand and her cup waiting. I have shared many, many meals with my daughter, but never this meal. “The blood of Christ; the cup of salvation.” I’m not sure what it meant to her; she probably wasn’t sure what it meant to her either. But her shining eyes and sincere smile as she accepted the “cup of salvation” told me that she wanted to partake; perhaps even to learn something of what it means to remember what Jesus did. Or maybe she was just hungry. Or maybe she just wanted a little sip of wine. I can’t say.
But after the service as we walked out, she said, “Maybe I’ll come with you sometime on a Sunday.” She may or she may not. But on this Christmas Eve, the meal we shared together was certainly a meal we will both remember.
From the Stewardship Committee
It’s a New Year: Please Check Your Pledge Mechanics!
Here’s your Stewardship chair checking in about making our pledges a reality. January is a good time for each of us to ensure that we’ve begun to fulfill our pledge amounts for the coming year. During last fall’s pledge campaign, many people pledge a new total for 2023. Now is the time to adjust your giving to your 2023 pledge.
If you contribute via autopay from a financial institution, please review your account activity for this month to ensure that withdrawals from your account align with your 2023 pledge intention. Checking now will keep you on track to your 2023 pledge total. If you have any questions about autopay or the amount you pledged for 2023, please contact our Giving Secretary Maggie Cooke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all that you give and all that you do!
Deirdre Nurre, Stewardship Committee Chair
Save the Dates
January 29, Annual Meeting (between the 9 & 11:15 services)
February 21, Mardi Gras
February 22, Ash Wednesday
Join us for worship this week:
Join us for worship this week:
- 9am, in-person, indoors
- 11:15am, in-person, indoors. (click here to access the live stream)
- 5p, the Sunday Night Service, in-person, indoors, in the Chapel.
You can access the live stream through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning.
If you miss a Sunday, you can always catch the sermon on our homepage or as a podcast, anywhere you listen to podcasts!
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here, or join us in person in the Nave at 9a. Password: 520218.
Adult Formation Classes
All formation classes are canceled this week due to the Annual Meeting.
Children, Youth, and Family News
Sunday School no Sunday School this Sunday for the Annual Meeting. In February, we will begin a unit about how to be a good friend with some skills adapted from the Stephen Ministry Class that was offered for adults in the fall. This series will be led by Madeline Feeley and Grace Telcs.
Youth Group Youth Group continues this Sunday at 7pm in the Parish Hall.
Confirm Not Conform There will be no CNC class this week due to the Annual Meeting. We will continue next Sunday!
Faithful Families meets tonight! Thursday, January 26th from 5:30-7:30pm in their Parish Hall. The Next Faithful Families will be February 23rd.
Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.
Other News & Notes
This Sunday is our Annual Meeting between the 9 & 11:15 services in the Parish Hall. If you’re able, please bring some small snack (that can be eaten easily during the meeting) to share! The meeting will also be hosted on Zoom for those who cannot make it in person (click here to enter Zoom call). Click here to access the Annual Report of 2022. We will have some printed copies available on Sunday, but encourage you to bring a digital copy or print one out and bring it with you Sunday (if you’d like to follow along during the meeting!).
TONIGHT! “Sacred Earth: Growing Beloved Community” webcast featuring Canticle Farm, Oakland
January 26, 2023, 7:00 PM
Anne and Terry Symens-Bucher, Co-Founders of Canticle Farm will be our featured guests in conversation with Bishop Marc Andrus and Dr. M. Paloma Pavel. Canticle Farm in Oakland is an urban garden, educational center, and community of intention experimenting at the intersections of faith-based, social-justice-based, and Earth-based nonviolent activism. As the founders acquired surrounding houses, they removed fences in the inner city, providing living spaces and work for activists, asylum seekers, recently incarcerated people, and many interested in community, justice, and farming to provide food for their neighbors. They are growing food and faith while growing Beloved Community.
As an urban farm, they work for food security, holistic health and food sovereignty through organic gardening, permaculture, herbal medicine and stewardship of their urban oasis. As an intentional community, they live in intergenerational, interracial, and interfaith relationship. As a living classroom, Canticle Farm hosts workshops, retreats, circles and visiting teachers, welcoming people from around the world to grow and learn together. Click here to see a video of Canticle Farm.
Anne and Terry were enthusiastically received as retreat leaders at the Clergy Retreat this past fall for the Episcopal Diocese of California. During the webcast, they will share a “Work That Reconnects” practice with us. Poet/Musician Lu Aya will also join us this evening. He uses music and poetry in the struggle for human rights and justice in Colombia, Sudan, Palestine, Afghanistan and the US. He performs at rallies and in streets, in hospitals and on stages, inside prisons and in front of precincts. Lu’s work is to sing truth to power.
To learn more about their work, please visit www.canticlefarmoakland.org.
More information is at the webcast website so check in to see information on this episode as well as view past episodes. Each episode of the Sacred Earth series offers information, inspiration, spiritual practices, and resources for action.
If you are looking to set up your pledge for 2023, you may still do so by clicking on this form. There is also a super easy way to give to All Souls––for either a one-time donation or for your ongoing pledge––that is through an app called Vanco Mobile (what used to be called GivePlus). You can find this app through the app store on your phone. Once downloaded, search for All Souls Episcopal Parish and you’re in! If you’d prefer not to download the app, you can just as easily give online through our personalized online donation page by clicking here.
Spaghetti Again Mens’ Dinner
Join some of the men from this parish for a monthly dinner in the Parish Hall. January 30th at 6p. Please bring good appetites, a beverage to share, and ideas for meeting topics and format.
RSVP! (For non-French speaking friends, Let us Know if You’re Coming!) (LUKIYK) to Bob Cross, email@example.com.
Flowers on Sundays at Church
If you are interested in dedicating the flowers in the Church on Sunday mornings to a loved one or a particular remembrance, please fill out this form and indicate which day you would like to contribute the flowers and what you would like the dedication to say. The dedication will appear in our announcement sheet on the Sunday you have selected. The suggested contribution for flowers is $75, which can be paid to All Souls either electronically or by check (see the giving page on our website for more information there), and be sure to write in “flowers” in the memo line.
Please contact Maggie Cooke for any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org.