A Reflection by Rev. Brian Rebholtz

All Souls Are Mine Saith the Lord

Brian RebholtzWhen I first came to All Souls as a seminarian in the fall of 2008, I had very few expectations. I wasn’t convinced a parish was the right place for me. I wasn’t convinced I was right for a parish! Yet, in the midst of my discernment, one little piece of All Souls quickly implanted itself in my heart and mind. Sunday after Sunday, I read the words over the entrance to the sanctuary: “All Souls Are Mine Saith The Lord.” When I left the parish to move to my first call on the east coast, these words were the most important parting gift I took with me.

Ten years later, this core theological conviction has become an essential part of my life and ministry. I currently serve as the parish priest of St. Luke’s Church in Auburn, CA. I joined the parish at a time of crisis and soul-searching. The vestry had decided they needed either to grow and revitalize or give up the ghost and close. I said “Yes” to the call for two reasons. Firstly, because the genuineness and humility of the congregation impressed me. Secondly, because the old church building itself seemed to preach. I knew instinctively that St. Luke’s was meant to be a blessing to the town of Auburn. The parish didn’t seem like a community ready to close; the parish seemed like a community on the verge of something mysterious and new.

Since accepting the call, we – Catherine, my wife, and our children, Ezra (5), Evelyn (3) and Eliana (9 months) – haven’t regretted the decision once. Life and ministry together at St. Luke’s has been equal parts wonderful, bemusing, poignant and humorous. Through it all, the parish has grown in faith and strength (and yes, numbers and pledges). The experience has changed and challenge me deeply, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Now, when I walk into the parish, I do have expectations. But they are not about the parish or about me. They are about the Lord, the One to whom I belong. Now when I come to the parish, I expect to find my life in Christ, to locate myself within His story, the Gospel. I expect to hear Christ’s good word, proclaimed over and over again, in the preaching and teaching and singing and praying of this Gospel. I expect to have my heart changed as I, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, ponder this good word and realize that I never tire of hearing it. Indeed, I know now that every time I participate in worship, the Good News of the Gospel etches itself just a little deeper in me.

I believe that my learning to love and trust the Gospel was a seed of grace planted at All Souls. As a seminarian, I was unaware that this grace was at work in me, and yet as a newly ordained priest I found myself thinking back to the writing over the sanctuary doors more times than I can count. The Scriptural exhortation “All Souls Are Mine Saith The Lord” is not a theory I have to apply to my life, as if I had to do something to make God relevant. It is not a strategy for growing my parish or proving how savvy and competent I am to my brother and sister priests. Rather, it is a proclamation and a promise. Hearing the Lord speak these words is like hearing a wedding vow in which Christ the Bridegroom gives Himself fully and completely to me, to all of us. What could be more beautiful than that?

This is the great hope and faith that remains with me ten years after walking through the doors of All Souls, Berkeley. As I strive to hear and obey the Gospel of Christ, I have learned to place my whole trust in the God who claims all souls as His own, and who fulfills and consummates this beautiful promise each time we hear Christ’s words spoken from the altar: “This is my body, given for you.”

New Workshop

Do It For The Ones You Love

margueriteThe Rev. Marguerite Judson and Priscilla Camp will be leading a new workshop about getting things in order before your health is endangered. Bringing 32 years experience as an elder law attorney (Priscilla) and many years in a spiritual role (Marguerite), the workshop will take place on Thursday, August 9 from 1:30 to 3pm in the Parish Hall (immediately after the Lunch Bunch!). Join the workshop to learn about and get help filling out The California Advanced Health Care Directive, The All Souls Funeral/Memorial Plan and The Five Questions that help you clarify the care you want.

Your loved ones will be grateful for your guidance when they are distressed and perhaps having trouble thinking clearly.

Stephen Ministry Update

New Stephen Ministers

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 1.24.31 PMStephen Ministry has much to celebrate, some of which was recognized at all three services last Sunday.

Four new Stephen Ministers—Nick Falconio, Edward Moore, Nancy Pryer, and Raymond Yee—having completed 50 hours of training, were commissioned to serve All Souls parishioners. Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by Stephen Leaders to offer high-quality, one-to-one emotional support to people going through tough times. A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.

We also gave thanks for Tom Reilly and David Wight, who have served wisely and with dedication for five years as Stephen Leaders. Stephen Leaders meet with potential care receivers to assess their need; match care receivers with a Stephen Minister; and provide Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education. While stepping down from leadership, Tom and David will continue as Stephen Ministers. We are pleased to welcome two new Stephen Leaders—Christina Robinson and Raymond Yee—who will work with Nancy Austin and Judith Lothrop as the current Stephen Ministry leadership team.

Finally, we shared our gratitude for the long and generous service of Roger Glassey and Joy Ragon, both of whom have now retired from this ministry. Their time and presence has been a gift to many.

To learn more: Stephen Ministry at All Souls

From the Archives

Why are the Archives like the Congressional Record?

Dana kramer rollsHi, your archivist here. Have you ever asked yourself just what are the archives, and what is in them, and why? First, there are official record books, all leather bound and everything. We have them for services, baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and burials. They are required by canon law. And they are a boon to demographers and historians, who have used these sorts of records from many places and many times, often from hundreds of years ago. We use them to research dates and events, especially when we receive requests. For example, Grandma Mary Jones was baptized at All Souls in 1932, but the Jones family has lost some records. Can we find her and anything else that we can supply? If she was at All Souls, we can, and if she transferred by a letter of transfer to another parish, we can supply that link for you to follow up. Every liturgical service is recorded by date, what kind (Eucharistic, morning prayer, or something else), how many attended, how many communicants, if applicable, and the signature of the presider. I even have my name in Service Records for a couple of parishes. It is thrilling for me to know that what we did to glorify God will still be recorded for years to come. When the Book of Life is mentioned in Revelation, I think of our records, especially the Baptismal Record, as our incarnate version of that book of glory.

What else is in the archives? All the minutes of every vestry meeting. We can go back over them years later to reminisce, but more importantly to see what was done then and how that affects us now. Like money spent and people hired. Like decisions about our parish life. On retrospect we can sometimes assess what worked and what didn’t, and we don’t have to depend on the memory of those who are still here. There are other things, some required, and some of general interest. Parochial reports are canonical. Annual reports and budgets are also needed. There are important things to refer to and fun things like playbills for a parish production to inspire us. And lots of miscellaneous correspondence. Sometimes it feels like reading somebody’s diary, but that is what history research often is, and this is our history. I also have the blueprints, proposals, and complete records of correspondence regarding past building projects. And I will eventually have them for the Parish House building project yet to come. And I have those requests for Letters of Transfer which I mentioned above. I also have sermons, some printed out, some on media we probably can’t read anymore, but we have them just in case. But they are the record of the theology and teaching of our parish in past years. And we have pictures, lots of them, many of them without names or dates. I have taken boxes of them up to the Lunch Bunch were some of our seniors have been just great at supplying names and wonderful stories about those people. But there are still mystery photos.

Now back to the question of how are we like the Congressional Record. We save everything. So (drum roll please) Treat Me Like the Congressional Record. If your ministry or group does anything at All Souls, and produces a poster or a bulletin or any sort of record I Want A Copy for the Archives. The Archives are not only a record of official business, but a record of how we live as a parish. Just be sure that a date, including the year, is somewhere on the submission. I still need the current and past customary instructions for lectors, intercessors, and servers at the altar. And I am collecting the posters like the ones for the Book Club and Sunday School. When you print out anything new, print an extra copy for me, put it in the Archive box in the undercroft, and I will file them for posterity. Preserving all the electronic records we now keep is a whole other problem. We are working on that, too. Any suggestions are welcome. The Archives are a link to the people and work of the past, as ours will be to the future generations of All Souls Parish. Let’s work together to keep them up to date.

New Course

From Palace to Public Square: The Way of Love

Michael CurryLearn more about what Jesus meant by love and how God is using Royal Wedding preacher Michael Curry to spread that love around the world.

Nearly 2 billion people perked up to hear the riveting words of Bishop Michael Curry at the 2018 Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. What hit a nerve was an inspiring and encompassing meditation on love. And what’s propelled Bishop Curry into the international spotlight is paving the way for even greater Gospel work done in the name of love.

In this class, Bishop Curry offers us four video presentations entitled:
* The Royal Wedding
* The Way of Love
* International Exposure
* The Jesus Movement

This class is ideal for those looking to deepen their understanding of love and to ponder new ways of sharing and living into God’s love.

Family Play Date

The next Family Play Date will be held at the home of the LeGrand family in Albany on Saturday, August 11 (early evening). Additional details will be released soon!

Summer Sunday School

Wondering through the Parables

prince of peace mosaic

I wonder what is a seed bomb? I wonder what would happen if I tossed this seed bomb into this bare patch of dirt? I wonder what would happen to All Souls campus if we planted native wildflowers here? I wonder what would happen if we planted seeds around the whole block?

I wonder what makes bread so puffy and full of air? I wonder why the dough grows so big? I wonder who makes the bread for communion? I wonder what that bread really is? I wonder what would happen if we really feasted on that bread?

I wonder how you build a table? I wonder how you build a chair? I wonder how you build a whole house? I wonder what would cause me to trade in all of these things I’ve worked hard to create?

I wonder what hare-brained scheme they’ve cooked up for me this Sunday??

If you are a child somewhere between preschool and 5th grade, and you wonder things likes this, summer Sunday school is for you! (And, if you are a teenager or adult who would like to join in making this happen, please talk to Lenore, lenorefw@gmail.com!) We will be wondering about parables and more, in all sorts of creative and hands-on ways this summer. Join us at 10:10 in the Common Room!


accidental saints

Our Summer Book Group began June 10 with a discussion of Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People. Nadia Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran minister in Denver, a two-time New York Times bestselling author, and a former standup comic. In her book she shares stories of her life and work pastoring House of All Sinners and Saints, stories that help us to see God in unlikely situations and in people who society have typically dismissed.

The Summer Book Group schedule ends this Sunday, August 5, with Chapters 17-19.