December 5, 2013
From the Rector
This past Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, marked the renewal of the Church year. Rather than the first of January, every year the calendar of the Christian faith begins, oddly enough, at the end of November or start of December. Even more strangely, considering the activity of the culture around us, it begins with an ending.
Every year, the Gospel for the first Sunday of Advent, whether from Matthew, Mark, or Luke, finds Jesus talking about his coming again. Which, if you have been in most any shopping space at this time of year, might seem to be an odd way to prepare for Christmas. It would seem to have much more relevance with the world around us if we began with Mary and Joseph and the donkey, maybe a week for each. Then the dissonance between the snowflakes and tinsel and staying awake for a thief in the night might not feel so great.
And yet, every year, what I find is that this beginning, a stark contrast to much of what we are swimming in culturally, is actually just what is needed. What was clear to me this past Sunday, in the morning and in the evening, was a general sense at All Souls of readiness for this season, of those eager to give themselves to anticipation. Many also had a sense of relief. A relief that we as Christians are anticipating a turning that is true regardless of an economy that in its recovering has heightened the disparities of wealth and poverty, or a political process that seems to have largely devolved into cynicism.
What was experienced that day in our Sunday morning services and that evening in our Advent Festival was our Story, in many of its forms. Through Scripture, movement, poetry, art, ritual, song and silence, as a body we spent the day using symbol and practice to point to the Truth that lies beyond. Thanks to Isaiah, James Weldon Johnson, Tess Taylor, Giovanni Da Palestrina, Joe Rosenmayer, Christopher Putnam, Felix Mendelssohn and others we began this season of watchful living by entering into Mystery.
Part of why I believe that many find great meaning in this season of Advent is because of these seasonal daily and weekly practices of pointing beyond. That night the Parish Hall was filled to overflowing at the Advent Festival with scores of people of all ages forming wreaths, placing candles and wrapping ribbons. For at this time of year we remember that gathering as night falls to pray and pierce the darkness with candlelight is a profound way to point beyond.
This season also provides a particular opportunity to join in song. Our Family Choir is ready for children youth and adults to join in practicing a piece for Christmas Eve at 4pm. The Parish Choir is inviting one and all to join in celebrating Benjamin Britten’s centenary with the singing of the Ceremony of Carols at the 8pm and 10:30pm Christmas Eve services. The Angel Band is working on music for the Eve and the Sundays in Advent. One and all are invited to join in caroling at Open Door Dinner this Sunday the 8th at 3pm, and next Sunday the 15th at 2pm at the Kyakameena Skilled Nursing Facility.
Other practices of watchful living are as in-the-moment as our parish practice of taking a photo each day of Advent, reflecting a theme of the season, which you’ll find on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page. And some practices are as old as the Beyond itself, like those are taking time each day to be in silence, waiting.
No matter your practice this season, I hope that you are taking time (it likely won’t be given to you), to find a way to watch, listen and pay attention. For this season, which can be so full of distraction and frustration, can also be a remarkable space to come closer, practicing together to glimpse the Beyond.
From the Associate Rector
The Anticipation of Getting Ready
The amazing Lessons & Carols and Advent Festival last Sunday left no doubt that we are entering something new – the season of preparation to come close to the Mystery of Christmas. As Phil pointed out in him sermon last Sunday, everything has changed. The way the church looks, sounds, smells and even feels has shifted. And those physical markers are symbolic of the change that this season heralds – the approach of the incarnation which changed the world forever.
I invite you to live this season as fully as possible. Make space in your life and in your heart to prepare – to get ready – and to let the joyful anticipation for what is to come bubble up within you. How do you do this? Here are a few suggestions:
• Pick up Advent devotional materials from the narthex – reflections for the season from C.S. Lewis and Henri Nouwen, two different sticker-a-day journey’s through Advent for kids, our Advent wreath prayers and devotions booklet, and the Episcopal Relief & Development holiday catalog
• Join us each Sunday for worship and all ages formation, as well as our Wednesday Advent series on women mystics, entering ever more deeply into the preparation of our hearts and minds
• Join our Advent photo a day project – check out the All Souls Parish Facebook group or email me to get the list of words for each day of the season, and then share your pictures via your social media forum of choice #ASPhotoaDay #Advent
As we come close to the Mystery once again, my hope is that this time of preparation gives both meaning and depth to your days.
And as we look ahead, I ask for your prayers as I also prepare for a six-week sabbatical starting in mid-January. I have ministered with you here at All Souls for just over seven years, and it is with anticipation that I am beginning to get ready to enter into a time of sabbath and study. I will share more about my sabbatical plans, and what this time away will mean for All Souls, in January, but in the mean time I welcome the embrace of prayer during this holy season we celebrate together.
Yours in God’s peace, Kristin+
December 8 – Sunday School ~ 3:00 pm Caroling at Open Door Dinner
December 15 – Sunday School ~ 2:00 pm Caroling at Kyakameena nursing home
December 22 – Sunday School
December 23 – 10:00-Noon Christmas pageant dress rehearsal for entire cast!
December 24 – Christmas Eve Services:
4:00 Eucharist with Nativity Story
8:00 Carols & Candlelight Service
10:30 Midnight Mass
December 29 – Sunday School combined class in Grades 2-3 room
January 5 – Sunday School
Prayers for the Moment
‘Come,’ Thou dost say to Angels,
To blessed Spirits, ‘Come’:
‘Come,’ to the lambs of Thine own flock,
Thy little ones, ‘Come home.’
‘Come,’ from the many-mansioned house
The gracious word is sent;
‘Come,’ from the ivory palaces
Unto the Penitent.
O Lord, restore us deaf and blind,
Unclose our lips though dumb:
Then say to us, ‘I will come with speed,’
And we will answer, ‘Come.’
~ Christina Rossetti
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
~ Christina Rossetti
Christmas Pageant Casting!
It’s time to get ready for our annual Christmas pageant! If you or your child are interested in participating please email me by Monday, December 9th and let me know what parts you’re all interested in (see list below). I will be announcing the cast and sending out the script on Wednesday, December 11th.
There will be rehearsals to get ready!
• The Narrators, Gabriel, Mary, Joseph and Elizabeth will have a rehearsal from 10:10-11:10 (during formation hour) on Sunday, 12/15.
• The Narrators, Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the Shepherds, the Innkeepers and the Magi will have a rehearsal following the 11:15 service on Sunday 12/22 - from 12:30-2:00 including lunch.
• There will be a dress rehearsal of the entire cast on Monday, 12/23 from 10:00-Noon. Costumes will be passed out at that time.
The Christmas Pageant will be a part of the 4pm Christmas Eve service!
Major Speaking Parts
4 Narrators, Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, 3 Shepherds
Minor Speaking Parts
2-4 Innkeepers, 3 Magi, Donkey, Herod, Extra Shepherds, Dancing Angels
Parts for Little Kids
Sheep, Littlest Angels, Baby Jesus!
Wild Star & Zebras
Return Metal Advent Wreath Forms in the New Year
Just an early reminder! At the end of the year please return your metal Advent wreath forms (without the greenery and candles!) to the basket provided in the narthex so that we can re-use them next year!
From the Deacon
A Farewell to All Souls
Dear Friends in Christ,
When Greg and I visited All Souls on the Feast of St. Francis 2006, we could never have imagined the delightful, spirit-filled journey ahead of us in this community. For the last seven years it has been our blessing and privilege to serve among you as deacon and companion on the way. And so, it is not easy to leave this community that is so close to our hearts – to leave people we care about and who are a part of our breathing in and breathing out.
“Thank you” does not seem adequate to impart to you just how filled with gratitude we were on our last Sunday with you, as we received your expressions of love and thanksgiving through the generous gift to the Berkeley Food and Housing Project and the beautiful watercolor of “Foot Washing” – both gifts a reminder of our vocation to be Christ’s compassionate presence in the world. The watercolor now hangs prominently in our living room, a testament to the blessing of All Souls Parish in our lives and our Baptismal vow to “seek and serve Christ in all persons . . .” The blessing of the beautiful music thanks to Christopher Putnam, the Angel Band, and Choir, and the hospitality of the reception, the expressions of love and good wishes; all made for a glorious and moving farewell – a thousand thanks could never express our gratitude.
The vocational deacon is ordained to serve the most vulnerable, the marginalized – to serve Christ in the world; and to interpret the hopes, needs, and concerns of the world to the Church – therefore, the vocational deacon is an iconic leader in the faith community of the diakonia of all believers. However, it is church policy that a deacon does not stay in one parish for too long, so that they are not tempted to lose sight of their primary vocation to serve “in the world.” And so I was reminded by the Archdeacon and Bishop that it was time for me to move on.
For me that means taking a sabbatical from parish ministry and listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit. During this time, I will continue to work at the School for Deacons, serve on the Board of Directors of Berkeley Food & Housing Project, the Board of Trustees of The Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP), Chair the ongoing Social Justice Committee of GRIP, which means providing a clearing-house of support for grass-roots community activists working for justice issues, and continue to lead the All Souls monthly dinner at the GRIP Family Shelter. In September 2014, I will begin a three-year Spiritual Directors training program at The Mercy Center in Burlingame, as I continue to discern if I am called to a ministry of Spiritual Direction.
As Greg and I move on, as we must, I know that God will continue to bless the ministry at All Souls Parish – you are awesome!! We will hold you on our hearts and in our memories always.
Love and blessings,
Mary Louise and Greg
Help support our community
During the Season of Advent, we have the privilege to bring gifts every Sunday for those who have need of food, clothing, bedding, or the hug of a Teddy Bear. Please bring items that are brand new and not used in any way, on or before the dates below. Thank you!
Sunday, December 8 - Advent 2
For Options Recovery Services, please bring new men’s socks or underwear
Sunday December 15 - Advent 3
For Family Paths, please bring new Teddy Bears
Sunday December 22 - Advent 4
For the Berkeley Food Pantry, please bring canned meat or canned tuna, and peanut butter
Please contact the parish office with any questions:
Advent Photo a Day
December 1 - GO - Caroline McCall
December 1 - GO - Kristing Krantz
December 2 - BOUND - Sarah Crawford
December 2 - BOUND - Toni Borgfeldt
December 3 - PEACE - Ashley Borgfeldt
December 3 - PEACE - Don Brown
December 3 - PEACE - Kieran King
December 4 - TIME - Tara McCulloch
December 4 - TIME - Tripp Hudgins
December 5 - FLOOD - Alisa Hofmann
December 5 - FLOOD - Kristin Krantz