FROM THE RECTOR
Tiny Homes; Tremendous Possibility
For the past several years as I have walked, biked, and driven the streets of Berkeley, Albany, Oakland, El Cerrito and other East Bay cities, I have done so with feelings of sadness, anxiety, frustration, and weariness. Month by month the number of people living under tarps, in tents, cars, and RVs has grown seemingly exponentially.
My conversation with many of you and others in our community tells me that I am not alone, and the recent count of people who are unhoused in the Bay Area shows that what we are experiencing around us is being felt across this region. Homelessness has been a reality in the Bay Area for decades, but what we have been witnessing in the past several years is an unfolding crisis without recent precedent.
One of the effects of this complex and wide-ranging crisis has been that for many of us, it is hard to know what to do to help. It is far too easy for paralysis to set in. Money to organizations that feed and temporarily house people living on the streets, like Dorothy Day House and Berkeley Food and Housing, are a good start. Donations of food, sleeping bags, socks, and jackets are much needed.
And. So many in this parish are looking for ways to aid in people finding safe, permanent housing. It’s why we have dedicated countless hours over the past five years to creating affordable housing on our campus. But our most favorable estimations still have those homes opening in October of 2021. And hundreds of people are in need of housing now.
So it is with great joy and frankly some unbelief that I invite you to join me and others from All Souls Parish and Congregation Beth El in supporting the efforts of Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA), as they build housing for homeless youth in Berkeley.
In a remarkable project that has been led by the youth themselves at every turn, YSA is building around twenty tiny homes in the next few months for youth to live in. This past spring the youth of All Souls helped paint one of the model tiny homes, and over the next couple of months we will be taking part in building more just like it.
Our build day, along side our sisters and brothers from Congregation Beth El, will be Saturday, August 24th, from 9am-4pm. We are joining Beth El in bringing food to feed people, and bodies ready to saw, hammer, sand, paint, and otherwise assemble these homes. You can sign up here to help that day. The work will be primarily for people ages 15 and older, though if we can organize projects for younger people (stepping stones or other portable outside art), then they are welcome as well.
If you can’t be there on August 24th, there are a couple of ways to support this effort. One is to buy food to bring to the build on the 24th, which you can do on this sign-up sheet. If would like to offer your time for another weekend build, sign up here, and YSA will find a place for you to help.
This is but one way to make a difference for those who are living on the streets—there are and will be many others. And right now, it is clear to me that the Spirit is moving in this one, and I hope that we as a parish will be able work alongside.
From the High School Immersion Trip
This week, five of our high schoolers and two All Souls adult volunteers are joining with youth from other area Episcopal Churches for an immersion trip to Dulac, LA at the end of the month. While there, they are doing work with ongoing flood damage in a Native American community. The group is still raising funds for the trip, and would love to have your support! You can give a check to the church, or contribute online here. Here’s a look at some of what they’re up to so far:
WELCOMING NEW MEMBERS
Earlier this summer, we welcomed many new members into the All Souls parish community. Today and in the weeks ahead, you’ll hear from them.
Angel is a Wisconsin native and Aaron is an L.A. native and 2006 UC Berkeley (Haas) graduate. They just celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary in May. Together the two started a family in the East Bay residing in Pleasant Hill. They enjoy hikes, water activities, rescuing dogs, and dining out. Their son Alec is two years old and loves superheroes!
– Angel, Aaron, and Alec Sahagun
Sharing Scripture Together
This summer we are gathering for a family formation classes during the Sunday School hour, exploring different faith practices to engage during the week at home. This last week we looked at the idea of sharing scripture as a family. Join us on Sunday around 10:15 in the courtyard!
“There is no substitute for books in the life of a child.” — May Ellen Chase
Reading the Bible is a common practice for adults but can be a bit tricky for children. Often adults wonder: what Bible publication should I use? What stories should I introduce? And how do I answer the inevitable questions that arise from these stories? A good place to start is with more picture books for younger children. The visual images give them an entrance point into the stories. Also read Bible stories that your children have heard in Godly Play. They will already be familiar with the story and might be able to add their own insight into the storytelling. There are suggested Children’s Bibles in the “Adult Resources” section but ultimately, find a book that your child enjoys. Story time will be enjoyed by all.
Bible Bookmarks One project that is related to your story time is to make bookmarks for your Bibles. Use a heavy card stock paper and cut it into a five by two-inch rectangle. Have your child decorate it with markers, stickers, paint, or any other kind of art medium they might like. You can then punch a hole in the top of the card stock to thread a piece of ribbon through. Your child can even make several bookmarks to use for all their books.
Resources for Kids:
• “The Parables of Jesus” by Tomie dePaola
• “Let there be Light” by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
• “Children of God Storybook Bible” by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Resources for Adults:
• HarperCollins Study Bible or Oxford Annotated Study Bible — both have lots of historical notes to help readings make more sense, but without being too long or complex to get a quick sense of things
• There are lots of apps to make it easier to read the Bible more regularly, like “Bible in One Year”
• Working Preacher is a great resource for unpacking the lessons week by week, with a short commentary essay on each reading.
This Sunday, August 4th, will be our second Summer Choir Sunday of the season. We’ll be skipping our usual Wednesday evening rehearsal, and instead we will rehearse a simple choral piece, and an Angel Band song on Sunday morning. All are welcome — we’ll begin rehearsing in the sanctuary at 8:30 am (for the 9:00 am service) or 10:45 am (for the 11:15 am service). You’re welcome to come to either or both services. If you’re curious about our choral community, and would like a no-pressure way to try it out, come join us!
ALL SOULS T-SHIRTS
The shop to purchase All Souls t-shirts is now open for orders again! All proceeds, after the cost of the shirt, will go to support the High School Immersion Trip. You can order the t-shirts online here, pay online, and they will be mailed to your house! They’re printed by a fantastic local unionized shop. The online All Souls store will be open until August 15, after which point they will print the shirts and mail them to you. The three designs this time are “God erases no one,” “Jesus was a refugee,” and “Banjos for Jesus.”
SAVE THE DATE
Parish Retreat 2019
Mark your calendars for our annual Parish Retreat! We’ll be heading to the wonderful Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg September 13-15. (Note that this is on the early side — it’s still the 3rd Sunday of the month, but the earliest that can be!) It’s a fabulous time of fun, connection, good food, time to listen and reflect, and all kinds of intergenerational fellowship. More info coming later this summer, but please set aside the time!
This fall we are finally launching a new small group program! The vision for these groups is simple: to gather and journey together in small groups in order to deepen our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. If you are interested in joining a group either this fall or in the near future, or are simply interested in learning more, please contact Emily Hansen Curran, email@example.com. Talk to Emily no later than this Sunday if you want to get into a group for this fall!
The 2019-20 Youth Group Kick-Off is August 25th! If you’re interested in youth group this year or have questions about the year ahead, write to Emily for more info (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, set aside September 13-15 for the Parish Retreat when we have our own youth retreat alongside the adults!