October 8, 2015

From the Rector

A Call Answered

Just about two years ago, as we were adjusting to the changes and pressures that had come with the growth of life in this parish, the Vestry laid out a plan to live into the vision that we believed that God was calling us into. There were several components: adding another service to make more room for others to join in, changing some of our structures to increase our capacities, and increasing the hours of our paid staff so that we might be able to live into this new way of being.

The increase in staffing meant an increase in our budget. Expecting that it would take at least three years to see this corresponding increase in our yearly giving, as a financial safety net, the Vestry decided to use some of the earnings from the unexpected and generous gift from Ann Jordan to make up any deficits for those years.
We are now just over halfway through these three years and after the recent re-structuring of Liz’s time (to Children and Family Formation along with her work in Pastoral Care, Communications and as Associate Rector), and the hiring of Jess Powell as our Associate for Youth Ministries, I am excited to share that our staff is complete with the hiring of Emily Hansen Curran as our new Associate for Ministry Development.

“Associate for what?,” you might be asking yourself. One of the clear and consistent refrains I heard in the months leading to my sabbatical was that many of the leaders of our ministries were excited to be doing their work but were hungry for more support. And that we were working mightily on our invitation, welcoming and incorporation of new members, but that organizational and hands-on support was needed. And finally, that there is an abiding desire to come closer with each other, whether in smaller sized groups or as a whole body.

Given all this, the search team that was assembling as I was leaving–Kim Wong, Marilyn Flood, Jamie Nelson, Katie McGonigal, Betsy Dixon, and led by Jeannie Koops-Elson–engaged in an excellent process over the summer and into my return. They received inquiries from parts around the world and after their work of reading through written materials, conducting extensive interviews, and having conversations with references, it was with excitement that I offered Emily the position, beginning this Sunday, October 11th.

Emily is finishing up her Masters of Theological Studies through Fuller Seminary, with coursework at Yale Divinity (with Christian Wiman) and our own Graduate Theological Union. She brings excellent organizational and relational skills, intelligence, a good heart, and a love for Christian community. It is my hope that she will be a catalyst for us in developing our ministries, helping to organize and open us to new ways of making church together. Whether it is this Sunday, or in the days and weeks to come, please take a moment to introduce yourself to Emily.

Knowing that our three year experiment in increased staffing comes to a decision point at the end of 2016, there is a sense of urgency to this work that Emily will be leading and supporting us in. My hope and prayer is that this will be a time of learning and discovery, opportunity and growth for all. God’s vision of devotion, kinship, and service await, I join Emily in looking forward to seeing how we all with take part.


Disciplined Gratitude

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.
–2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Jesus, Others, You” – my mother taught me this simple little acrostic when I was a child. She taught me how to divide my meager allowance into little envelopes, always starting with the one I would take with me to Sunday School. The other envelopes were for savings, gifts, and then the usual kid stuff, that can tempt a 7 year old. There was a portion for each category and I was pretty diligent about keeping track of my pennies. If I borrowed from one category, I usually paid it back.

All these years later, I still use this method (well, maybe not with envelopes). When it comes to giving, I still try and use the simple idea of putting God and others before myself. I know things are very different now in the 21st century than they were in the 1950s when I was a child, but these concepts that I learned at an early age have generally served me well.

My giving is deliberate, it is intentional and it is how I know that I am a part of something larger than myself. Being a part of All Souls reminds me that *I am, because we are. In addition to my volunteer work for the Parish, I am greatly enriched and blessed by many things. Growing relationships within my small group, my fellow travelers in the 10:10 Bible Workbench and by the dear friends I have made in this community. This community has brought me JOY, I am very grateful. And because I’ve been generously blessed, I’m encouraged to give generously.

With great thanksgiving,
Sherry Markwart

In Memoriam: Rod Duncan

Former parishioner Rod Duncan died early Sunday morning September 27 of Alzheimer’s disease in Encinitas CA, with Jill Maxim at his side. He was under hospice care and had an easy passing.

Roderic Duncan was a Superior Court Judge with Alameda County and a former reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. While at All Souls, Rod was a regular attender at the (then 8:00 am) early Sunday service, and active as a leader in the Open Door Dinner Ministry. An email he sent in 2011 to the parish office staff reads…

“My experience today at Open Door was so moving that I need to convey the beauty of it without fanfair or unnecessary excess.
It has been a long time since I was in serving line with no responsibility for whether the coffee urns, the juice tubs and the cooking was operating appropriately. Here I was, thanks to the new leaders, serving jambalaya to the flood of mostly black men looking for a meal. I felt loose as a goose and wanted to relate in some small way to each of the persons I served. So I had an average of a 35-word down-home honest greeting and 25-word conversation. It expanded with a good 45-second exchange with the person across the table that felt so good. Some of the white guys were a little tougher, but many were capable of a very good human to human exchange. I was mentally floating quietly and lovingly. And, hours later, I’m still feeling so good that I just wanted to convey what a wonderful center we have for doing God’s will in a beautiful way. ”

A Celebration of Rod’s life will be held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church - City Heights, San Diego, Saturday October 24 at 10:00 am. For an address to send cards or letters, please contact the .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Annual Parish Retreat

A few weeks back, many of us gathered for a wonderful retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch up near Healdsburg. It was a weekend of sabbath time, fun across generations, storytelling and learning, good music and good food, and much more. Here’s a glimpse of some of the delight from our time together.

1) You can fit an awful lot of kids inside the amazing lycra band!
2) The kids worked hard on our next art installation… look forward to seeing it at All Souls/All Saints Day!
3) Adults joined in the effort for the parish art project, too.
4) Look at that form!
5) Tripp considers juggling glass mugs at the Talent Optional Talent Show. John offers the voice of reason.
6) It is, quite simply, a sight to behold.


All Souls Acting for Racial Justice Discussion
On Wednesday, October 14th, from 7:00 - 8:30 pm, in the Common Room, All Souls Acting for Racial Justice will host a discussion of the book, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Everyone is welcome, even if you haven’t finished the book!

Save the Date!
October 25th, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Join us for our annual Parish dinner to celebrate the 2016 pledge campaign and the generous gifts we receive from God and one another.


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