From the Interim Sabbatical Associate Rector

Marguerite JudsonGod of the Journey

We praise and thank you, God of the journey,
For our sister who is soon to leave us.
We entrust her into your loving care,
Knowing that you are always the faithful traveler
and companion on the way.
Shelter and protect her from all harm and anxiety.
Grant her the courage to meet the future
And grace to go into new life;
Through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

That is the prayer repeated for me, with laying on of hands, at each of the three worship services this past Sunday. Taped to the inside of each of the Presider’s books, you would think I might have read it sometime in the past year…but I had not. The first time I noticed it, I read enough to realize it was not the “short form” of the prayer of consecration in case we ran out of bread or wine while serving communion to the congregation (p. 408 of The Book of Common Prayer). Despite its use when Liz went on sabbatical at the beginning of this summer, I did not read or really hear it between June 2017, when I began my Transitional Diaconate at All Souls, and Aug. 19, 2018, when my service came to an end.

“We praise and thank you,, God of the Journey…” what a journey it has been! As some of you may know, I began attending All Souls in the late 1970s when my now ex-husband and I moved to Berkeley so he could begin his PhD at the GTU. We had both just graduated from Virginia Seminary with academic Masters and when I talked about the pull towards the priesthood with Fr. Bill Clancy, he added me to the rota as if I were a Seminarian. I cannot tell you how many lovely mornings I spent in the Chapel of the Nativity helping lead Morning Prayer & Eucharist!

But life was complicated; very complicated. I came out of the closet in 1983.  Which is when I ceded All Souls to my ex and started attending St. Mark’s. There was a custody fight. There was a tragic car accident which took our daughter’s life. There were years living with a new partner in San Francisco. There was landing the job of my dreams at UC Berkeley. There was surrender – finally – to the call to the priesthood and some amazing calendar calisthenics to take all the practical courses at CDSP which I had skipped at Virginia Seminary while still working at UC Berkeley.

And then it was time to find a placement for my Transitional Diaconate. The Archdeacon recommended All Souls; Phil and I met several times; lo and behold, I was able to come back to All Souls!

How different and yet how familiar it has been. The altar had been moved off the western wall, but the words over the main doors were the same: All souls are mine, saith the Lord. The glorious hand painted map of the Holy Land is still in the 1st-3rd grade classroom but I learned how to lead Children’s Chapel and discovered how closely it reflects this new (to me) thing called Godly Play. People are so hospitable with each other and the sanctuary is regularly filled with a deep, sweet silence as we worship together. These were some of the ways which showed me that the Holy One is “…always the faithful traveler and companion on the way.”

This past 14 months have been a deep blessing for me: learning so much about church leadership with the wonderful staff members and volunteers at All Souls; discovering ways that models taught at the College for Congregational Development can help me see patterns which support or hinder growth; basking in the loving integrity of a community whose members serve each other and the broader community day in and day out – and thus make the Holy One more visible in our midst.

In September I will start serving as the Associate Rector of The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in San Francisco. I will miss you, at All Souls. Yet I know that you, too, are blessed on your journeys and I pray for you with words similar to your blessings on me:

We praise and thank you, God of the journey,

For all who travel on your paths.

We entrust each other into your loving care,

Knowing that you are always the faithful traveler

and companion on the way.

Shelter and protect All Souls from all harm and anxiety.

Grant them each the courage to meet the future

And grace to go into new life;

Bless them in the name of the Lover, the Beloved, and the Love Overflowing, this day and always. Amen.

– The Rev. Marguerite Judson

From the Junior Warden

maggie cookeVestry Reflection

During my first Vestry term during 2007-8-9, I remember we would have August off; the slower days of summer when many people traveled offered a good time for a month without Vestry. It occurred to me on this, my third year of this term, we have not been taking August off. While we don’t seem frantic or frenetic trying to squeeze too many matters into our two hour meeting, we are nevertheless busy enough to keep our momentum during a time when the Parish House project (among other changes) requires it. Our meeting on August 15th was newly infused with the return of Rebecca Whitney from her six month leave with family in Spain. It’s wonderful to have her back with fresh insights and compelling questions.

The Rector’s Report was chock full of news to digest, about staff changes, about the Youth Program in Jess Powell’s absence, and about the imminent launch of the academic year. Our Interim Associate Rector, the Rev. Marguerite Judson, is soon to be the Associate Rector at St. Mary the Virgin in San Francisco. The Rev. Liz Tichenor has now returned from sabbatical (where did THAT time go?). Our diaconal postulants Dani Gabriel and Ari Wolfe are soon to begin their field work away from All Souls, at St. Alban’s and Good Shepherd, respectively. Our new seminarian Annie Jones will join us on September 9th. Our Youth Ministry continues to be shaped with the third of three well attended revisioning sessions, illustrating that it is not a matter of IF the ministry will be supported, but HOW; the calendar is in place with a kickoff scheduled for August 26th; yes, that is THIS Sunday. The triumvirate of Phil+, Liz+ and Emily Hansen Curran are joined by Megan Hansen Curran, Annika McPeek, and Calvin Payne Taylor.

We had presentations by Eric LeGrand on the Stewardship efforts to pave the way forward in light of budget challenges, and by Ed Hahn on the Parish House Project. The Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board appears very supportive of our mission with SAHA, and the next ZAB meeting will take place at the end of September. With God’s help, we are on track with the timeline all of us can view in the narthex.

Due to unforeseen scheduling issues, we mixed up the agenda a bit, using Chaplain Laura Eberly’s scriptural reflection as a regenerative breath toward the middle of the evening. A loaf of challah was passed around the table, and as we literally broke bread, we were able to focus and share personal views of what it means to eat Christ’s flesh and drink Christ’s blood. Who among us has not been approached by a non-Christian with words to the effect of “Are you a cannibal?” Personally, by consuming the body and blood, I feel I have consumed the true nature of Jesus with His expectations of me and His forgiveness of my shortcomings, and in turn I feel consumed by the embrace of the Almighty. In addition to the sincere and personal offerings of others, I found myself contemplating when the Chaplain became an office on the Vestry, and I remember it was proposed by our Interim Rector, the Rev. Jim Richardson about ten years ago. The first Chaplain of Vestry was a partnership of Nat Lewis and myself. I have found it to be a critical tool in keeping us focused on our true purpose in serving the congregation.

The second part of our meeting had us going over the reports of the third prong of our strategic goals set forth, Christian Action and Practice. While it is clear we are observing a lot of action around Immigration: Welcoming the Stranger in Our Midst, including our Parish House Accompaniment Project, and we see movement on Honoring Creation: Faithfully Responding to Climate Change, less has been observed on Caring for Foster Youth and Children.

Our meeting closed with prayers of Thanksgiving, Guidance, and Petition, and ran just 10 minutes over schedule. In closing, please allow me to share this: While observing a meditative silence after communion last Sunday, I had a joyful revelation. A few of our youngest parishioners made a few squeaks, squawks, and burbles, each in their own way in their own time. Now I have been the parent who cringed at my child’s voice during silences and I have been the one without a child feeling distracted by a little voice. But last Sunday, in a moment of clarity I understood that when we take time to be silent; when we all push aside the need to hear our own voices, we can hear the voices of those who have not yet learned to be cynical, jaded, or argumentative; those who can express nothing short of pure truth. If we don’t understand because there is no language we yet recognize, listen for what lingers in the air.

Respectfully submitted,

Maggie Cooke

Rally Sunday & Blessing of the Backpacks

blessing of the backpacks 2015This Sunday, August 26th is Rally Sunday — the day we celebrate the kick-off of a new school year! Join us for ice cream sundaes, bubbles, face-painting and other fun at 10:15 am in the courtyard. We’ll have information about Sunday School for children, which begins September 9th,  including the opportunity to learn more about Godly Play, the Montessori-based curriculum we use for our younger children, and also the new curriculum we’ll be engaging with our 4th and 5th grade class. Emily Hansen Curran will be on hand to share out information about all things youth ministry. Parents, please make sure to stop by to sign your kids up, even if they have taken part in years past. We will also release the Adult Formation schedule of classes for the year. Exciting things to come!

During the services, we will be celebrating the Blessing of the Backpacks: bring your backpack (or briefcase, tablet, satchel, etc…) with you at the 9 or 11:15 services and start the year with a little extra spirit.

Adult Formation

Adult formation classNew class begins September 9th!

Living by the Book: The Book of Common Prayer as a Spiritual Resource

For Episcopalians, worship with the Book of Common Prayer is central to our identity. In this series, we’ll explore the treasures of our prayer book, looking beyond its use in Sunday worship to consider its resources for Christian life, including daily prayer and the seasons of our lives.

This course will be taught by the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, All Soulsian and scholar of liturgics. Ruth has been a key leader in liturgics throughout the Episcopal Church, including her recent work leading the effort towards offering same-sex marriage. She brings a tremendous depth of understanding of this book that helps to make us who we are, where it came from and where it might be going. Ruth was also awarded the House of Deputies medal this summer at General Convention, a great honor.


September 14th – 16th

Sign-ups have begun and can be found online here! Our theme this year is pilgrimage. Every year about 130 of us gather at the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg to retreat together as a parish. This is an all ages event, as there will be special programming for children, youth, and adults. There will also be free time to swim, hike, or just sit around and relax. Scholarships are available! See Emily Hansen Curran for more information.

In Thanksgiving

Join us in giving thanks for the life of Fred Lothrop. A memorial service will be held on September 8th here at All Souls at 1:00 pm.

Youth Choir

A planning meeting for the Youth Choir will be held this Sunday at 12:45, following the 11:15 am service, in the Chapel. If you have a child aged 7-12 who can read and would like to sing, please write to to express your interest!


We’re kicking off our 3rd season! Come join us or cheer for us on Friday nights at Ocean View Park in Albany. The season lasts approxiately 6 weeks and just kicked off this past week on August 24th. Contact David Gutfeld to sign up or to get more information,


This is a free event on September 2nd in the Parish Hall at 1:00 pm. Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing,  closer than thinking, closer than words spoken aloud. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. The workshop will be lead by our very own Diane Haavik—Clinical Psychologist, Spiritual Director, Centering Prayer facilitator and retreat leader along with Cherry Haisten who serves on the Contemplative Outreach national team for the Welcoming Prayer, and who travels around the country to lead workshops on Centering Prayer. Contact Diane Haavik for more information, There will be a light lunch provided.