From the Associate Rector
Showing Up Anyway
A few weeks ago, I made my way into the Wednesday morning Eucharist with my daughter Alice in tow. We were running late, having come from dropping my son off at preschool. Alice was home sick — no longer contagious, but still too drained to go back to school. I was exhausted and behind on my own work, catching up from the flu winding its unfortunate way through our family. Oh, and it was raining.
All this together left me sorely tempted to continue right past the copper doors of the chapel and into the undercroft, where I could set Alice up to read in my office and start trying to make a dent in my to-do list. I paused, listening through the door, which had been left cracked open an inch, as the dozen or so folks gathered inside prayed aloud. I hesitated, trying to make up my mind. But before I could puzzle too long, my muscle memory took over, I pulled the heavy door open, and we slipped in.
Right when I joined the staff of All Souls, nearly five years ago now, I began attending this service on Wednesday mornings. I didn’t carry responsibility for leading it, and I quickly came to appreciate the space just to settle in, listen, and pray, simply because I needed to. For me. After a season attending, I decided to make it a consistent practice: a downbeat, a starting point for my day, a check-in in the middle of my week. I scheduled around the service time, building it into my rhythm. And over these years, the effect has been significant for me.
Many weeks, I walk into the chapel all too aware of the many tasks that await me, all quietly trying to persuade me to just jump in right then, to get a little bit ahead, or rather, to start trying to catch up. And when these sly invitations worm their way into my head, I find myself grateful that I have already made the choice, the big picture choice, that this Eucharist is part of the bones of my week, that it is non-negotiable. If I had to make the decision to show up each week, as an independent question of calendaring and priorities each time, I’m not sure I would be there much at all. Those voices can get so loud, luring me to forget what matters to me and how I want to practice it.
I’m not sure how much is illusion and how much is reality, but the scarcity of time here in the Bay Area seems fierce. One if the most common refrains I hear from folks living here is about time. How there’s not enough of it. How it gets spent too liberally, and often without warning, in traffic. How the punishing cost of living demands wild work hours, extra shifts, even extra jobs just to make ends meet. How the common practices around parenting — which can seem like a competitive sport in and of itself, for the parents — can devour yet more time, flexibility, space. There just isn’t enough time. Or that’s what we say.
Some of the puzzle, at least for me, comes into focus as I pay attention to what is and isn’t negotiable, what is and isn’t up for debate in terms of how I spend my hours — which is to say how I spend my days, and then my life.
This hour on Wednesday mornings is one small slice of the big picture for me. I could not tell you what other work I might have accomplished two weeks ago — or was it three now? — if Alice and I had not ducked into the Eucharist, rain-soaked and late and tired. Or, for that matter, I can’t tell you what balls I dropped because we did go. That’s all lost to time, even just the couple of weeks that have passed.
What I can tell you, though, is how deeply I was fed to be able to hold my weary daughter on my lap during worship, how I was brought to tears by the tender story one All Soulsian shared, and then carried by the remarkable love that the rest of the group lifted up towards him in response. I can tell you that it was right for me to be there, that this practice shaped me once again towards being the person I hope to be. But I don’t think I could have stepped in that day if it had not been a practice I keep week in and week out. It’s the whole scale choice, the decision to claim this discipline, scattered though I often am, that makes the difference. It’s this decision that makes it possible.
And it makes me wonder: where are the other places, in my life and in yours, that beg this undergirding choice? What is the practice, what is that way, that we would do well to honor as a choice that serves first as a foundation, rather than later as a possible add-on in our lives? I want to start there, build from there, rather than hope it makes it in around the edges. And you? What practice do you wish you had time for, that you think would help shape your life? What would happen if we decided to begin right there?
Could you not watch with me one hour?
The Gospel stories rarely record Jesus asking his disciples for support. But he did once. Once, in the Garden of Gethsemane.
After Jesus had washed their feet, and after they had shared their last meal together, he knew his death was imminent. Withdrawing to the garden to pray, he makes his final request. To his closest disciples, Peter, James and John, Jesus reveals, “My soul is very sorrowful and troubled, even to death. . . ,” and he asks for their accompaniment in his distress. “. . . remain here and watch with me.” He withdraws a little further and “fell on his face and prayed.” But when he returns, he finds his disciples sleeping. “So could you not watch with me one hour?”
And now, after our feet are washed in the Maundy Thursday service, and after we have shared in the meal of bread and wine, we too, have the opportunity to participate in the centuries old tradition to watch and pray as we again approach the death of Jesus. We keep watch over the Reserved Sacrament overnight in the chapel, and contemplate Jesus’ journey as well as our own.
Perhaps this year may be a time when you would like the opportunity to join the world-wide Christian community to participate in one hour of our vigil to “watch and pray” with one another and with Jesus in anticipation of his death.
If you would like to spend one hour at the vigil this year, you can sign up for your hour online (check our website for a link coming soon!) or outside in the narthex. All are welcome.
— Kaki Logan
All Souls Parish 2019 Stations of the Cross
Contemplative Digital Collages – A Journey in and Within
Artist Statement by Kieran King
The Stations of the Cross recall 14 moments from the last day of Jesus’ life, which when strung together reanimate his journey to the cross. But after 12 years of Catholic school and 53 Lenten seasons, the scriptures have become so familiar they had all but lost their power for me.
As a result, I wanted to create the 2019 Stations of the Cross at All Souls as a way to connect to the rawness of Jesus’ Passion and the pain of being subjected to some of the harshest parts of being human – temptation, betrayal, mockery, condemnation, and ultimately death.
In my professional life, I am a graphic designer and love translating ideas into visual stories. I leveraged this experience using photographs, illustrations, and typography to create this year’s Stations. By layering imagery and portions of the scriptural text, I’ve attempt to provide the viewer a place to connect and find a way to live into the experience through prayer, meditation and personal reflection.
I hope each Station provides an opportunity for a journey in and within.
Breaking Bread, Building Bridges
For the past several months I’ve been meeting with one of the rabbis from Congregation Beth El and two of the pastors from St. Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church for lunch.
Every time we meet we pray, plan, enter into conversation, and eat. This last part, the eating part, cannot be overlooked. It has actually been essential to our communicating and our communing together.
The genesis for these meetings was sparked last year as part of a conversation that Rabbi Bekah Stern and I shared around what it means to be a neighbor. Since both of our faith traditions ground much of our moral and ethical life from this fundamental understanding, we were curious to see what it would be like to gather congregants from All Souls and Beth El together over a meal to talk about this.
From that initial conversation we invited the pastors from St. Paul’s AME to join in the conversation. The resulting gatherings of the four of us have been remarkable. In a time of division and discord, we have asked each other about race and faith, about what it is like to be us, about what it means to be a neighbor.
Our hope now is that members of each of our congregations will be able to take part in meals and conversations like we have.
This round of meals and conversations will be called, “Breaking Bread & Building Bridges,” and will be held on Sunday afternoons on April 28th, May 19th, June 2nd. Each will be about an hour and a half long, with a meal prepared by the host congregation of that day, a panel discussion with the Rabbi Bekah, Pastors Tony and Dorisalene, and me, followed by conversation around tables. We will sing and we will pray.
The first gathering will be at St. Paul’s AME (Ashby and Adeline) at 1p on April 28th, the second at All Souls at 1:30p on May 19th, and the third at Congregation Beth El (up Oxford a few blocks from All Souls) at 1:30p on June 2nd. Because each faith community will be bringing people to each gathering, we have space for 24 people from All Souls to attend.
As we are hoping for the conversation to grow and to deepen over the three gatherings, I am asking that people commit to participating in all three of these sessions. If you would like to be a part of these gatherings, please fill out this google form by April 17. Please join me in breaking bread and building bridges.
Holy Week Schedule
Together we mark and practice Holy Week, April 14-20. You can find a full description of the services during Holy Week here, and those for Easter here.
Palm Sunday – April 14th at 7:30, 9:00 and 11:15 am
Maundy Thursday – April 18th at 12 noon and 7:30 pm
Good Friday – April 19th at 9:00 am, 12:00 – 3:00, 4:00, and 7:30 pm
The Great Vigil of Easter – April 20th at 8:30 pm
Easter Sunday – April 21st at 7:30, 9:00 and 11:15 am
HOLY WEEK: THE TRAILER
This Sunday, April 7th between the 9 & 11:15 services, come together for a preview of Holy Week. Starting with Palm Sunday, including Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Great Vigil of Easter, and finally Easter Sunday, Phil+, Liz+ and Michael+ will share a glimpse of each service, why it matters to them, and how we might think about entering in and practicing anew. Use this as a time to prep for what’s to come. Class will meet in the Parish Hall.
PALM SUNDAY — CONTINUING THE FEAST
Join us on Sunday, April 14th between the 9 & 11:15 services in the Parish Hall for a Continuing the Feast potluck brunch! This is just a good, fun time to catch up, share fellowship, and launch into Holy Week together. Please bring some brunch type foods to share!
Maundy Thursday Meal
Come share a Eucharistic meal and foot washing in the manner that this first feast was made, April 18 at 12p. This is the first time we’ll be doing this service in this way! Join us in the Parish Hall. RSVP w/Emily Hansen Curran or Liz Tichenor if you’re interested in attending.
We have lots of eggs to fill for the egg hunt, Easter Sunday at 10:15 am! Please take a bag of empty Easter eggs home with you this Sunday and bring them back *before* Easter, filled with candy or other small things kids will enjoy. Thank you!!
HELP CREATE THE ALTAR OF REPOSE
You are invited to bring potted shrubs and flowers, or cut flowers, for the Maundy Thursday altar of repose between 1pm and 4pm on Thursday, April 18th (they will then be available for pick-up on Friday April 19th after 10am). You are also invited to donate thanksgiving offerings for Easter flowers (deadline is April 9!) Please contact Maggie Cooke to make donations for flowers, firstname.lastname@example.org.