From the Rector
This coming Sunday afternoon, from 2pm to 4pm at Congregation Beth El (1301 Oxford Street), and online on Zoom we will be continuing our conversations with St. Paul AME and Congregation Beth El, Breaking Bread and Building Bridges. This time we will spend our time together telling our stories with one another, led by two of our favorite story tellers, Jeannie Koops and Tim Ereneta.
You may remember that Jeannie and Tim led All Soulsians in creating and telling our stories as part of this year’s parish retreat, Stories that Heal. When I shared my experience of the retreat with Pastors Tony and Dorisalene and Rabbi Bekah, they were really excited have it serve as a way to connect our congregations. As ordained folk who’ve walked with people over the last couple of years, we are very aware that there are all kinds of stories that have gone untold.
There are stories of fiftieth wedding anniversaries, 16th birthdays, college graduations, medical diagnoses, births, and deaths. Usually we would have been able to share these milestones with gatherings and celebrations, feasts and wakes. With the events of the past year, those public moments have gone without festivity and celebration and often without being witnessed. But all of our stories we have experienced since March of 2020 need to be told.
I found the telling of my story and listening to the stories of others on the parish retreat to be kind of incredible. When you tell your story and when people are deeply listening to it, you don’t feel quite so alone with what you’re carrying. The pain or the confusion or the heartache doing magically disappear, but they don’t seem to hold as much power as they did before. And listening to another person’s story is equally powerful. It is inspiring to be a witness to the mysteries of life in another person, recognizing and taking in their joy and sorrow and wonder.
Engaging in this act of communal healing with our siblings in faith is another reason why I’m so excited for this Sunday. In a culture that so easily fractures and separates us, making the time and space for practices of healing and wholeness with people who are different from us is essential.
Now. I realize that this comes at a time of the year that can feel more pressed for time and energy. And, I really believe that these two hours on Sunday afternoon will be a time of spaciousness and re-centering, connectedness and grounding. So consider the story of your life in the past couple of years. Be ready to learn about the power of stories around the world. And join us to listen, be heard, and heal.
Farewell to The Rev. Dani Gabriel
Thank You All Souls!
I believe it was now over a decade ago that my family first came to All Souls, and what a fantastic journey it has been. My kids have grown up here, among an amazing community. I remember when Sam first served as a tiny acolyte, and when Maggie first served as a sacristan. The community also supported my ordination 2 years ago. It has been a privilege to serve as the deacon at All Souls for the past 2 years.
We were able to work on some remarkable projects together. In my report to the Episcopal Impact fund I talked about our work with Project Sandwich: “We had over 65 volunteers shopping, preparing sandwiches, picking up sandwiches, buying paper goods, buying fresh fruit weekly, packing the sandwich bags, preparing sandwich prep kits, delivering food. Parishioners made 10 sandwiches each in their homes and drivers collected them, sometimes adding snacks, drinks, and supplies, and delivered them to the camps on Gilman St., 8th and Harrison, Second and Jones, and Seabreeze. We delivered hundreds of meals between April and September three days a week, and have continued to offer sandwiches in collaboration with St. Alban’s one day a week, as well as supplies and support…
We were able to seek and serve Christ in our neighbors. We built relationships that continue in several of the camps. The work was transformative in encouraging parishioners to see their unhoused neighbors as “not different” from themselves. It also provided much needed material resources to the camps.” This in addition to our holiday gift giving to the camps, delivery of Open Door Dinner meals to the camps, furnishing of apartments for folks from the camps who got housing, and “Let My People Go,” offering waste removal for folks living in RVs.
It really has been a privilege to do this work with all of you. The pandemic took a lot out of me as I tried to balance being a deacon with work and raising kids, and now I need to focus on a new job and ongoing health concerns. So I am leaving All Souls and taking some time away from serving on Sundays before becoming a deacon at large in the diocese. I very much appreciated the meals and support offered over the summer when I was first diagnosed with cancer, but please, no need for gifts or meals.
Thank you All Souls. I know I take a little bit of the spirit of this place as I go.
–The Rev. Dani Gabriel
Summary of the November Vestry Meeting
The vestry met on Wednesday, November 17, gathering together in-person in the Common Room. While filled with many run-of-the-mill tasks, the final topics in the meeting did set the stage for more ambitious plans to come.
We started with a spiritual reflection on Mark 12:38-44 wherein Jesus first offers a warning and then holds up a widow who gives away her last two copper coins. We considered for a moment what the implications are for us individually and a community are from these verses. Where are we or who are we in the story? How could we act to heed Jesus’ warning and care for those who are the “least” in our community?
After a sincere and thoughtful discussion we turned to the important but more mundane business of the meeting. We approved the consent agenda covering the October minutes, financial statements, and the treasurer’s report. Additional regular business included approving the house allowances for our two clergy. This is a procedure needed for tax filings that enable the Reverends Phil and Maggie to claim some of their salary as “a parsonage” or housing allowance.
Vimala Tharisayi presented (on behalf of the Finance Committee) a second version of next year’s budget. While this was still a draft version, the vestry pondered the possibilities of lower income even as our expenses in some areas will increase. It is not the time, yet, to make some hard decisions, but depending on how our Stewardship Campaign ends this year, we may need to trim some expenses in the coming year or run a deficit.
Finally, and here’s where the fun really happened, Irina Wolf Carriere and Rev Phil led us in the first part of an exercise to update ASP’s Strategic Plan. Irina presented a framework to help us think about the foundations and pillars of our work and the resources that we might need to get it done. More work on this will come in the new year! We’re so fortunate to have this type of expertise and leadership as we look to the next few years at All Souls and what might be possible after the completion of Jordan Court.
From Breaking Bread, Building Bridges
Stories that Heal
Over the past year and a half of pandemic lots of life happened––weddings, births, graduations, funerals, anniversaries, promotions, retirements. But because of COViD, so many of the stories have gone untold. On Sunday December 5th from 2p-4p, at Congregation Beth El (and via Zoom Password: eight), for our latest session of Breaking Bread and Building Bridges we will start to tell those stories with each other. Led by two All Soulsians, Jeannie Koops and Tim Ereneta, we will learn about how telling stories is part of the healing process, have some time to write a story, and then share it within a small group from across our congregations. Come to learn, come to share, come to begin to heal.
The Peace & Justice Lending Library
How well do each of us know our U.S. History? James Baldwin once said that “the history of the Black person is the history of America”. What are some of the historical myths we buy into, such as the idea that anyone can succeed if he or she works hard enough? What are the daily indignities, called microaggressions, of which we may be unaware? What is the difference between intentional racism and structural racism?
As members of All Souls, we are committed to racial healing, reconciliation and justice in our personal lives, in our church, and in our society. Let’s educate and enlighten ourselves as we further this commitment. We have a large, far-reaching selection of amazing books in the narthex, and they are free to take at your convenience. You may keep them or return them, and please add any book you might think others could enjoy. Here are few examples:
The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee:
Most White people were raised to believe that race is part of the zero-sum paradigm; i.e. if the Black population wins something, White’s will lose. If a minority group comes into my group, my group will diminish. But in reality, when one group is pulled down, everyone is pulled down as well. This is true with health care, job earnings, environmental issues, and educational opportunities. McGhee does a great job of not only giving current illustrations, but she gives us great hope in showing the successes of working together and ways that attitudes of unity are changing our culture.
How to Be an AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi
Kendi is an amazing writer, who believes that denial is the heartbeat of racism. The source of racist ideas is not ignorance and it is not hate, but is grounded in self-interest and fear. I can say I am not racist, but still support the status quo. To be antiracist, however, I need to actively support antiracism policies. An antiracist believes in full equity, not in “helping” the poor or expecting someone to live and act like me. Kendi sees the Christian as one who is striving for liberation. He offers an invitation to live out this gospel message.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
This intriguing novel follows twin sisters who are raised in Mallard, a town with only light-skinned Black families. Both sisters struggle with implicit and covert racism within their own community, and they take very divergent paths toward adulthood. The book considers the lasting influence of prejudice and the need for acceptance and love wherever one can find it.
Save the Dates
(*see “Other News and Notes” for more info on events)
December 5: Breaking Bread, Building Bridges, 2:00pm
December 8: Advent Taize, 6:45pm
Join us at 9am in the courtyard, in-person. At this service masks are not required. If it is raining, this service will move indoors where masks are required. Don’t forget that this Sunday the clocks fall back one hour!
Or (and!) join us indoors for the 11:15 service or on the live stream at 11:15a, which can be accessed through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning. At our 11:15 service, masks are required.
Then, come back at 5p for our newest service, the Sunday Night Service in the courtyard.
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here, or join us in person in the Nave at 9a. Password: 520218. Masks are required for this service as it is indoors.
Due to the new CDC mask mandate, masks are required for all indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status.
Adult Formation Class this Sunday
We have three classes being offered this Sunday during the Formation Hour:
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Contact Kate Murphy, email@example.com to join that Zoom call.
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study at 10:10 in the Common Room (and on Zoom). Contact Daniel Prechtel for the Zoom link, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Resurrection, Part 2 in the Parish Hall (and on Zoom)
Newcomer class: The first is our regular (we offer it twice per year) Newcomer Class. If you have not been to one of these and/or if you have just started attending in the last 6 months to a year, this is designed for you. The Rev. Phil Brochard & Emily Hansen Curran will lead us through four weeks of the history, values, and practices of All Souls as well as some time to get to know each other. You can find the class in-person in the Common Room or on Zoom (click here). Meets November 28-December 19th.
Partnerships in Action: When we were working on our strategic plan six years ago, one All Soulsian came up to me and said, “I’m super excited about this process, but I just have one request: please don’t start another 501c3. The Bay Area is second only to Washington DC with our number of 501c3s, let’s find the organizations out there who share our vision and work with them!” She was absolutely right, and the work we’ve done around Christian action from that point on has been in partnership with a number of organization that share our values and our vision for the reconciliation of this world.
In our teaching hour (Sundays, 10:10-11:10) this Advent we are going to be in conversation with three of these organizations: Youth Spirit Artworks (11/28), the Episcopal Impact Fund (12/5), and Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA). During the past couple of years we’ve been collaborating with each of these organizations, Youth Spirit Artworks and their Tiny Home Village, the Episcopal Impact Fund was an incredible partner in our work with Project: Sandwich, and SAHA has been our partner for several years now as we have dreamed, designed and built Jordan Court.
So, come one, come all, to the Parish Hall (or a zoom screen near you––click here) to hear more about these initiatives, the organizations that we are partnering with, and what the next steps are in our Gospel-inspired service.
Children, Family & Youth News
Sunday School meets on Sundays at 10:10am for children in Pre-K through 5th grade. Read the Family Bulletin for more information! If you’d like to receive updates about this, but do not subscribe to the Family Bulletin, please email Emily Hansen Curran (email@example.com) for more information.
Youth Group resumes this Sunday, December 5th at 7:00pm! Meet at 10:10am in Emily’s office for Office Hours (a donut and a check-in)! If you are (or have) a young person between 6-12 grade, and are not a part of the google group for youth group updates, please email Emily Hansen Curran (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and to get added to the list!
Join us at the church for Faithful Families on December 14th, at 5:30pm.
Other News & Notes
Soulcast: Our Weekly Video Announcements
You may have missed In-Gathering Sunday last Sunday, but you can still make a pledge to All Souls for the 2022 year! Head over to the Stewardship Season 2021 page on our website for more information about how to give and to find the electronic pledge card.
Advent Ingathering Schedule
- December 5: gift cards (Amazon, Target, etc.) for Nueva Esperanza
- December 12: goods from this list (click here) for the Berkeley RV camps
- December 19: food for the Berkeley food pantry
Stephen Ministry: Christ Caring for People through People
That’s the motto of Stephen Ministry. The Stephen Minister’s role is to bring God’s love into the lives of people who are going through a difficult time or experiencing a crisis. What do Stephen Ministers do? They listen, care, support, encourage, and pray with and for a person who is hurting. And in the midst of this confidential, one-to-one, caring relationship, God’s healing love comes pouring through.
If someone you know is facing a crisis—large or small—and could benefit from the caring presence of a Stephen Minister, talk to Rev. Maggie Foote (email@example.com) or Stephen Ministry Leader Madeline Feely (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our Stephen Ministers are ready to care for you!
Ongoing Canned Food Drive
You can always bring food on Sundays and place it in the “Berkeley Food Pantry” basket in the Narthex (or in the courtyard for the 9am service).
If you are able to help provide some meals for parishioners in need, please contact Cathy Goshorn to help out! We are in great need at this time to help care for each other––please consider helping other All Soulsians in need by providing meals or gift cards for meals. You can reach Cathy at email@example.com.
BYOC (Bring Your Own Chalice)
We’re looking to build up a store of reusable chalices so that we can stop using disposable chalices each week for the Eucharist. If you have a few small vessels around your house that you’d like to donate, please bring them and leave them on the back Narthex counter. You can watch this episode of the Soulcast to get a better idea of what we have in mind.
Christmas-ing the Church
Come “Christmas” the Church! December 19 at 12:45, be a part of transforming the worship space from Advent to Christmas. With several hands it should take less than an hour. No specific past experience needed 🙂 Let Ray Concepcion (firstname.lastname@example.org) know you’re interested.
After an Advent with just greens, Christmas flowers are especially welcome and offer an opportunity for you to recognize a person, an event, or simply blessings received. If you want to contribute to Christmas flowers, please note Christmas flowers on your check for the offering plate. If you want wording other than ‘For blessings received’ in the Christmas bulletins, please contact Maggie Cooke, Giving Secretary, (email@example.com or 415-699-6700) before December 20.