Farewell from Sara Gunter
My office is all packed. The desk is clear, the bulletin board empty. I can hardly believe how quickly time has gone! It is time to say goodbye and I don’t quite know where to start. I have been able to avoid it, a bit, by distracting myself with how much there is to be done to be ready. But here I am, on my last day in the office and I can’t deny it anymore. When I finish writing this I will clear my caches on my computer, carry the last box out of the office and officially turn my attention towards West Virginia.
First, though, I want to thank you. These last 3 years have been so special. I have loved my time at All Souls. I had been dreading this past Sunday because I thought all the goodbyes would crush me. I was emotional the entire day but the outpouring of love and support was so lovely. I left on Sunday feeling good about the work we have done together and confident in the community you all will continue to make.
I am so excited about the things happening at All Souls right now. While I am sad to miss what is to come I am confident you will be moving forward with great care and intention. I look forward to hearing what comes from the Strategic Planning process. I am thrilled that Liz Tichenor and Carolyn Richardson will be joining the staff in just a couple of weeks.
All Souls is a special place and will remain dear to me as I move across the country. Our theme on the high school immersion trip this summer was: “We all have a story to tell”. Our thought behind this was that we create community by sharing our own stories and creating stories together through shared experiences. We are shaped by one another’s stories and by the time we spend together. I have certainly been shaped by the All Souls community. You will forever be a part of my story.
South Dakota Reflection
My name is Wally Brostrom, and I went on the mission trip through All Souls to South Dakota this summer. Unfortunately, I was not able to preach last Sunday, so I will instead write a reflection on the trip.
The trip was full of great people and experiences, and I left with a bevy of fond memories that I will take with me throughout this next year and into the rest of my life. There were many moving experiences and places in which I felt God on the trip. One of encounters with God was in playing basketball with some of the younger youth that resided in the town of Wakpala. In case you didn’t know, I am an avid basketball player, and find my true passion in the sport. Being able to connect with these kids through the games, and doing what I love to do at the same time was an extremely moving experience. Another touching routine was seeing the ladies who would cook and serve us dinner every night. The way they selflessly and lovingly cooked such great food for us, as well as in such large quantity, was a blessing in itself; however, what really struck me was the manner in which they did it: very humbly and generously, without asking for anything in return.
I’d have to say the most moving part of the trip was something Father Phil told us as we were leaving. I had been working on patching roofs the whole trip, and was proud of what we had done and the people we had helped. What I hadn’t known, and what Phil informed a few of us about, was that a lady that lived in one of the houses we fixed hadn’t had electricity for 5 years due to the state of her roof. Once we fixed it, she had her electricity reinstalled, and was able to have her family over for dinner for the first time in 5 years. Knowing that we had made such a positive impact in someone’s life, bringing a family back together, was extremely touching and put our work into perspective.
I had a great time with all the amazing people I was able to meet, work with, laugh with, and spend time with, and I truly hope we can go back next summer.
Reflection on Big Sur Parish Camping
It’s been several weeks since All Souls gathered at the Santa Lucia campground in Big Sur. When Sara asked me to share something about that weekend for the Pathfinder I hesitated. What did I remember and what could I write about? The setting is stunning, tucked into a bend in the Big Sur River and surrounded by redwoods and other foliage, that’s a constant. I remember the light tumble of water running behind our tent and the surprise of rain drops on our tent. I remember dirty faces, sticky with melted marshmallow and melted chocolate (S’mores at the firepit) and the sound of voices joined in morning and evening prayer as well as at an outdoor Eucharist under the trees. These are images and sounds that most of those there that weekend will carry with them.
What I remember and hold dearest is the company of family and community coming back together at a familiar space to rejoice in our blessings and to take a moment away from the unsettling news earlier in the week from Israel and Iraq. What I love about the camping trip is the coming together of seasoned members of All Souls sharing their experiences, voices and skill at games and, of course, food and drink, with new or returning friends and family. This year I rejoiced in the presence of my husband, diminished but not defeated by cancer; my son; friends and older youth who haven’t been around for a few years. I loved watching the younger families making memories that they will hopefully return to over the years as their children mature, go away and return to participate in this special community. I will remember Kristin delivering (I don’t remember the content now) one of her last homilies to our community and the opportunity to experience that weekend in a very special place with very special people, old and new, returning and moving on.
Let’s have a Pound Party!
Pounds of food, that is, for our new associate rector, Liz Tichenor, and her family. To help welcome them into this exciting new chapter of their ministry, we want to make their new home a nice place to move into! And nothing says that like collecting “pounds” of food for them.
So, on Friday night from 6:30 to 8:30 pm up at 2200 Cedar St (second-to-last door of the Parish House balcony) I will be collecting all those pounds! Perishables and non-perishables are both appreciated; meals to be frozen and meals to be refrigerated, baked goods, canned goods and whatever else you are inspired to give! The Tichenors are omnivorous but lean vegetarian. You can call me at 413-695-9869 if you have questions. Thanks in advance for contributing to our Tichenor Pound Party!