From the Associate Rector
Does the Lord not see it?
Like many of you, I have been carrying the people of Afghanistan heavy in my heart this week. I don’t have much to say about what’s going on there that you can’t read in the news, but I want to take this opportunity to invite each of you into a moment of contemplation and prayer for all those whose lives are endangered by the violence and displacement.
I find myself at a loss when I think about the weight of this human suffering; not unlike the writer of the book of Lamentations: “When all the prisoners of the land are crushed under foot, when human rights are perverted, in the presence of the Most High, when one’s case is subverted—does the Lord not see it?” (Lamentations 3:34-36) When violence, fear, and exploitation rear their ugly heads in our world, I find myself wondering, “does the Lord not see it?” Does She not care that children are fleeing for their lives?
And it’s not just Afghanistan. Haiti has been rocked by another earthquake, climate change is accelerating daily, Covid is not slowing down or letting up even for a second.
The amalgamation of these crises begs the question: what the hell am I supposed to do? There is a certain hopelessness that can creep in at such a time as this. It’s overwhelming to try and muster enough energy and empathy for all of the world’s problems when we ourselves are still knee deep in a pandemic, with fire season on the horizon in the Bay Area.
So, if the only thing you can do today is pray for the people of the world who are in pain, in danger, and fleeing for their lives, do it.
Taking a moment out of our day to lift up those who are suffering matters because prayer transforms us. Prayer changes our hearts, it cracks us open and allows us to be more mindful of the way we are all connected to one another through the same Spirit of Life. It increases our capacity to love and serve one another.
From The Associate for Ministry Development
This coming Sunday is Rally Sunday and our annual Blessing of the Backpacks. Rally Sunday has many meanings, but for us at All Souls, it’s the Sunday when we kick off our calendar year and our programming for the year.
This year we’re launching a new Adult Formation calendar, and will offer a copy one for to take home for your fridge; we’ll introduce the two new seminarians and the new youth group leadership; we’ll host sign-ups for the children formation year; we’ll have information about our new Sunday Night Service, and…we’ll have that classic church-time snack: donuts.
For those new to the Blessing of the Backpacks, here’s the scoop: you bring whatever symbol or elements you might be using to start your new year (a backpack, a laptop, a favorite pencil or pen, or a notebook) and the Rev. Maggie Foote will come around and pray a blessing over those elements and over you for your year ahead. Perhaps you’re a teacher, a student, someone who just moved into a new apartment, or just someone looking hopefully to this year ahead––all are invited to bring something forward to be blessed. For those veterans of the Blessing of the Backpacks, unlike years previous, we’ll be doing it between the 9 & 11:15 services during the Rally Sunday portion of the morning. So, stick around after the 9am service, or come early to the 11:15 (come around 10:30/45) and we’ll do our annual blessing in the courtyard.
Another thing that will happen during this time in the courtyard is a survey that will go out to everyone who has been attending the 9am service and for those who have been attending the live stream version of Sunday services. As we try to figure out the path ahead and what/how we’ll offer worship services, we’re looking to those of you who have been attending to help us navigate the way forward. If you attend the 9am service regularly, please fill out this survey (it takes just about 2-3 minutes), and if you have regularly attend the live stream service, please consider filling out this survey, so that we know that you’re out there and so that we know how to move forward with what we offer.
This is an exciting year ahead, with so many unknowns and potentials. I hope those of you who are able come out on Sunday to celebrate with us as we launch into this great unknown ahead. And remember, donuts.
From the Open Door Dinner Ministry
One approach to applying for a grant from the Episcopal Impact Fund
This is, perhaps, not the usual approach, but here is how it happened most recently…
On Tuesday, June 29 I got, at 4:15 pm, a voicemail from Rev. Maggie regarding applying for a grant and at 4:19 Don and I both got an email from her regarding the same with the suggestion that Open Door Dinner might qualify.
Oh, and the deadline for sending in the application was the next day at 5 pm.
I have not applied for grants before, and I was relieved to see that the application was fairly short. In brief it required that the program/s we were seeking funding for meet one or more of the following criteria:
- The congregation or ministry be responsible for the delivery of services and management of program and grant funds for which it applies
- Members of the congregation or ministry are involved in the program’s activities as a significant number of volunteers
- The congregation or ministry provides material financial and/or in-kind support to the program
Yes to all.
- Does the program offer services without regard to church membership, faith or participation in church activities?
In thinking about our Open Door Dinner ministry, and where additional funding could be used, I reflected on how the pandemic had impacted it. In the few years leading up to March 2020 the numbers of guests served at Open Door had been declining. It was inexplicable, but whereas we had been serving 150 meals or more, in the two – three years prior to Covid the numbers had dropped to 115 on average.
With Covid came the inception of Project: Sandwich and delivery to three homeless encampments in West Berkeley bag lunches twice weekly, Sundays & Wednesdays. On the second Sunday of each month the lunches included hot jambalaya and rice along with a sandwich and the usual extras. When Project: Sandwich ended in Sept 2020, we kept the 2nd Sunday delivery of Jambalaya lunches to the encampments. Delivering to these camps twice a week during the pandemic provided the opportunity to build a relationship with some of the people we deliver to. To learn what they lacked besides food, what they could really use. This information informed our Advent In-Gathering in 2020. It also gave me some insight as to how grant money could be put to use.
Reaching out to Jeannie Koops-Elson and Cathy Goshorn who had been deeply involved with Project: Sandwich and St. Alban’s ongoing sandwich ministry, I asked for their input on what needs they knew of at the encampments and other ministries (St. Alban’s, for instance, had a shower and laundry ministry going prior to Covid, and that has started up again after a long pandemic-imposed hiatus). Mentioning the 5 pm deadline I asked for them to respond as promptly as they could.
The final request was for $6500 that would be used for:
- Mobile sewage waste removal for RV encampments
- Showers at local pool
- Laundry fees
The last two are in collaboration with St. Alban’s.
The application was sent at 4:30 pm on Wed. June 30.
As of this week we have received the full amount requested from the Episcopal Impact Fund. This was a collaborative effort and was responded to in record time. My thanks to Don Gates, Kieran King, Jeannie, Cathy, and Dani Gabriel. And thank you to our Associate Rector, Maggie, who brought it to our attention and had faith we could meet the deadline.
New Mask Mandate from the CDC
Due to the new CDC mask mandate, masks are required for all indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status.
(Pictured: All Soulsians in masks in 1918 during the Spanish influenza)
Save the Dates
(*see “Other News and Notes” for more info on events)
August 22, Movie Night: 6:00pm – The Princess Bride 8:00pm Youth Group Movie: Arrival
September 10, 6:30pm: All Souls outing to the Oakland A’s Game
September 17-19: Parish retreat at The Bishop’s Ranch (sign-up here!)
Sunday Mornings: Join us at 9am in the courtyard, in-person. At this service masks are not required, but we do ask that you keep 3-4’ of distance between you and others who are not in your family or pod.
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.
Rally Sunday + Blessing of the Backpacks
Join us this Sunday between the 9 & 11:15 services in the courtyard for the Blessing of the Backpacks, donuts, the new Adult Formation calendar, sign-ups for children formation, a survey (for those who attend the live stream and for those who typically attend the 9am service) and a chance to meet the new seminarians and youth group leaders!
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.
Adult Formation Class this Sunday
We have two class offerings this Sunday: (masks required at all groups if meeting indoors)
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Contact Kate Murphy,
firstname.lastname@example.org to join that Zoom call.
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:10a in the Chapel, or contact Daniel Prechtel, email@example.com, to join that Zoom call.
Children, Family & Youth News
Believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about the fall and Children, Youth, and Family programming at All Souls! In order to help us plan the best and most holistic programming for children, youth, and families, it is important to know a little bit about the children, youth, and families we’re hoping to serve. To that end, please fill out this form to help us get to know you and what sorts of programs you and your family may be interested in. Please submit one form per family, and all families with children from babies through high school age are encouraged to participate using this same form. Not only will this help us get some feedback about the types of programs you’d like to see, but it will also serve as a sort of registration for fall programming, so the contact information you provide here will help us get information to you in the fall about upcoming programs and events.
If you’d like to receive updates about this, but do not subscribe to the Family Bulletin, please email Maggie Foote (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Other News & Notes
Soulcast: Our Weekly Video Announcements
If you’re interested in joining a small group, we’re hoping to launch a few this fall! One will be a general small group, for journeying together/alongside others. The other group will be more specific: for parents who are currently raising teenagers. Look to next week’s Pathfinder for more info, but for now, if you’re interested, reach out to Emily (email@example.com).
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stephen Ministry Leader Madeline Feely (email@example.com). Our Stephen Ministers are ready to care for you!
Ongoing Canned Food Drive
In the before times, bringing a can of vegetables or a jar of peanut butter to church was the practice of many, and every few weeks all this would add up to three or four bags of groceries that I would deliver to the Berkeley Food Pantry. Obviously when in-person church services stopped, so did the influx of food. All Souls Parish made quick and creative adjustments; without missing a beat, folks had signed up to put a bag on their porch every other week for a driver to pick up and bring to the pantry. There were perhaps two dozen households contributing, and four or five drivers so that on any given Friday, between five and 10 bags of groceries were delivered to the pantry. More than a year later, we need wider participation. Drivers have had to make adjustments , and perhaps having the same folks providing the groceries every other week is not sustainable. Please consider offering a bag of groceries for pick up every other week, and/or sign up for any every other week driving shift to pick up from 5 or so households. Contact Cathy Goshorn, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
AA Groups Have Resumed
If you or someone you know is interested in AA Groups that meet here at the church, check out our calendar for the times.
Applications for Jordan Court go live on August 25!
Here’s the latest from SAHA: “Applications will be due within one week of going live. If you know of specific seniors who have been interested in living at Jordan Court, please make sure they have subscribed to SAHA’s housing interest notification list so that they get an email when the application goes live (if they haven’t already.) This is the same process that has been posted in all the FAQs associated with the project since we started, so neighborhood stakeholders should already be subscribed. When the application goes live, all of those who have subscribed will get an email from SAHA with instructions on how to apply, including a link to the streamlined County portal. A lottery will be used to select eligible households with a preference to those who live or work in Alameda County.” Applications will go live here.