From the Rector
A New, Familiar Way
Way back on June 9th, I ended my article in this space with the following paragraph:
“After summer ends we will return to our familiar set up, and my expectation is that for some All Soulsians that will be a relief. And that some will wish to remain in the round forever. But that for all of us, this change of space will offer new ways of encountering the living God, together.”
And, so, here we are, at the end of summer. Traffic has picked up around Berkeley, students are buying books (or the digital alternatives), and warm weather might actually be on the horizon. This past week a sensational group of All Soulsians,
among them: Liz Tichenor, Dean Williamson, Rob Johnson, Erin Horne, Diane Haavik, Will Boutelle, Annie Boutelle, Nicole Howe, Tripp Hudgins, Jeannie Koops-Elson, Jim Feeley and Emily Hansen Curran (with the indomitable Ed Hofmann previously on cables and mics) lifted, pushed, and pulled the pews, chairs, altars, and tables into their new places.
Through conversation with many of you, and via what was shared on the last Sunday that we were in the round,
we learned that indeed, for some it was an incredible way to experience the Holy. And that for others, this Sunday has been long-awaited. We also learned that even when the ides of July rolled around, the smaller summer services felt full and alive.
Other information emerged over time—that many enjoyed our stained glass, that there was better acoustics for singing and music, and that some saw different parts of the space, like the verse from Ezekiel that “All souls are mine says the Lord,” in a new way, or perhaps for the first time. Some appreciated the change in and of itself, feeling that it allowed, encouraged and even forced them into reflecting on habits and customs grown old.
But I think that the most commented upon aspect of the way of worshipping was that it put each person present in eye contact with others. This was something that I took for granted, frankly, as this is what those in liturgical leadership experience every Sunday. Many remarked about the intimacy that it offered or demanded as part of worship. For some it was a profound act of engaging in community. For some it felt like a distraction or an intrusion of others’ privacy. For all, it was a reminder that the experiences of the Divine are more wide and varied than we often realize.
As we returned the space in the church to its previous form, we also made some changes. We removed the back four rows of pews, and placed them around the church building. (Gold star if you can find where all eight pews are now.) Some of the good news for many of us, especially ushers, is that there will be no more ribbons! The other opportunity that this change presented was the creation of new spaces at the back of the church.
One is a new space for healing as the new formation allows us to move the healing altar to what was the baptistery.
This was in part a response to this past summer when we moved the pews and altar around, as we learned that people appreciated having the healing prayers offered in the “back” of the church. It felt more private and helped people enter into this kind of vulnerable prayer. In addition, we have also created the Welcome Space in the back on the Cedar Street side. Set up with newcomer materials and staffed by our newcomer and greeter team, it will be a nexus for those new to All Souls at the 9:00 am and 11:15 am services.
Lastly, we are creating a space for art at the back of the nave, on the playground side. The first installation in this space will be by a local artist, Cornell Robinson, whose story and art you will be reading more about in the weeks to come. In addition to my excitement about Cornell’s work, given the stunning Stations of the Cross that we have had over the years, I am excited for what might draw us into the Mystery season by season.
In all, the changes initiated a couple of months ago have allowed us to remember, to learn and to stretch, as we all seek out the Living God. My hope is that this was but the first of other ways, new and familiar, to encounter the Holy in the days and years to come.
From the Associate for Youth Ministries
From One Season to the Next
Summer is frequently a time of rest, relaxation, and travel. I know many of you have traveled around the Bay and around the world these past few months! I hope you have found rejuvenation in your times away and here. Two of my travels were, of course, the middle and high school immersion trips. While we stayed in and around All Souls during the middle school trip, it was certainly an adventure out of our day-to-day routines!
Countless memories were made on both trips, and countless stories could be told. In both, the level of community that was built amongst everyone present struck me and has stayed with me. The youth bonded and worked together so quickly and easily. I saw the curiosity and desire to serve in the hearts of both the youth and the adults. Many times on the high school trip, youth asked me what they could do while we were serving on the ranch. I told them, and they did it! They wanted to serve and to work hard. The middle schoolers had similar attitudes, although the context was different because of where we were serving and the nature of our activities. Their questions have stayed with me. They were honest, real, and powerful. I feel so blessed that spending those combined two and a half weeks with the youth of All Souls and the rest of the God Squad is part of my job!
As the school year approaches, and for some has already begun, the summer’s time for trips and vacations has ended. Camps are closed. People are flocking to stores for school supplies. Things are changing! Youth—and other students—have prepared for new years with new classes, teachers, and grades. Some of you have entered or are entering middle school or high school and preparing for those shifts. Some of you are going up a grade and adjusting to your new status.
Times of change can be exciting and intimidating. Schedules are shifting and filling up rapidly. Youth and your families, I encourage you to put the youth and other ministry activities on your calendars and to make youth ministry here part of your routine! The first day of Bibles and Breakfast, our youth Formation Hour, is September 4th. There is a kick-off BBQ for middle and high schoolers on September 11th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Middle and high school youth groups will start on September 25th.
In the flurry of activities in the fall, The Parish Retreat is a chance to take a deep breath (or many) with our All Souls family. It is a wonderful weekend to learn and play for all. Youth, whether you are new to youth group or have been coming for years, I encourage you to come. The retreat gives us a chance to get to know new folks and get to know old friends better. It’s always a lot of fun, and it’s always a different group of people! We will play, learn, and eat together. Everyone will learn about Sabbath. In the youth program, we will dive into what Sabbath means in the busy-ness of middle and high school. Best of luck with the beginning of the school year, and I hope to see you soon!
THE PARISH HOUSE INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY
The All Souls Parish House is home to a intentional community of students and scholars of theology. This year, Scott McDougall, Trish Austin, Tripp Hudgins and Elias Austin-Hudgins are joined by four new members. This week, welcome Holly and Stephan Quarles!
Hi All Souls family! We are Holly and Stephan Quarles and are so thankful and happy to be a part of the Parish House intentional community! A little about us: We have been married for 5 and a half years and in that time lived in Nashville, Chicago, and now Berkeley! Stephan is a PhD student at the GTU and Holly is an executive assistant in San Francisco. We are expecting our first child around the New Year and are incredibly excited and nervous about this new, big step in our life together.
We feel so blessed to have been invited to join the intentional community at the Parish House. We truly believe that life is meant to be lived with others. In our last year at All Souls we have felt so loved and embraced by the community that we knew this was a place we wanted to be for the long haul. It is not an easy thing to live in any sort of intentional community. It requires risk and vulnerability while learning and growing with others. The challenge is a unique one when combined with the call to a deeper discipleship. It is here we find ourselves in the All Souls Parish House. We can’t wait to dive in even deeper in with this new group of people in the Parish House where we hope to pray, grow, and just live life together on a daily basis. This is the kind of community we have always hoped to live in and we could not be more excited that this loving, accepting, embracing community is the first family that our child will know.
WELCOMING NEW MEMBERS
In June, we welcomed new members into the All Souls family. Today and in the coming weeks, we’ll hear from many of them.
We are Will and Annie Boutelle, relatively new members at All Souls. We live on Allston Way in Berkeley and moved here in 2015 to be near our 3 children and grandchildren, all of whom live in the Bay Area. We came from Northampton, MA but have also lived on a farm in the Berkshires and in Cambridge. Annie, who was born in Scotland, is a retired English professor at Smith College as well as a poet and the author of 5 books. Will is a physician and works part time at LifeLong Medical Care in Berkeley. Annie likes to paint and Will cooks and is pretty handy with all sorts of tools. We both love to go on walks and drives learning about our new community.
Our spiritual backgrounds are a bit checkered: Will is a born and confirmed Episcopalian and Annie originally came from the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian here). However, for 30 years we attended the Congregational church, which was the only one in our small farming community. It’s good to be back.
All Souls T-shirts are here!
Order by September 2nd
We have four different designs, “God Loves You. No Exceptions.,” “If this were your church you’d be home by now,” “All souls welcome. Visitors expected!” and “Balm not bombs.” The designs are white and maroon on dark gray shirts. Each shirt is available in “men’s” and “women’s.” “Men’s” are $15.20 and “women’s” are $12.56. They are American made shirts printed in a Union print shop. Thanks to Jocelyn Bergen for the designs! Contact Danielle Gabriel with questions.
Order your shirts online here.
Note: Our store is ONLY active until September 2nd, so get your shirts now!!! Your shirts will be delivered after that date.
RALLY SUNDAY & BLESSING OF THE BACKPACKS – AUGUST 28TH
Join us this Sunday as we kick off the new school year! Bring your backpack to church to be blessed at any of the services. At 10:10, enjoy sundaes for Sunday School! Come sign up your kids and youth for Sunday School, eat ice cream, make giant bubbles, learn about Adult Formation classes this year, get a taste of Godly Play and the Lego experience we’re bringing into Children’s Chapel, and more.
This year, we will also be collecting school supplies for Emily Hertz’s class of kindergartners at Caliber Beta Academy in Richmond, which serves a highly disadvantaged population of children. Please pick up some things from this list and bring them to the baskets in the narthex on August 28th to help these kids have a great school year too. The class needs:
– Glue sticks
– Child scissors
– Construction paper
– Non-perishable, nut-free snacks for hungry kids
– Fun stickers for kids to earn as prizes
– Dry erase markers
– Ziploc bags (gallon-size)
– Packing tape
– Paper clips
– Elastic bands
– Index cards
– Paper towels
– Disinfecting wipes
– Large bottles of hand sanitizer
– Band aids
WHEN GREENERY INVADES…
All Souls takes action. The blessing of rainfall brings with it an abundance of greenery that requires some guidance from us. There’s no poetic way to say this, we’ve GOT to cut it down. So we’re having a party. A Pruning Party! We’re Calling All Souls to take on the trimming, weeding, clearing, hacking, shoveling, lopping, and chopping the overgrowth and undergrowth encroaching on our Parish House, Parish Hall, parking lot, preschool, and church. I have snippers, hedge trimmers and a pole pruner ready to participate; what tools do you have yearning to be put to use? Save Saturday, August 27th and prepare to channel your inner arborist.
– Maggie Cooke, Jr. Warden
FAMILY GATHERING SEPTEMBER 3RD
Come connect with other kids, youth and parents at Codornices Park, September 3rd at 4:30 pm. Look forward to laid back fun, time to catch up after summer adventures, meet new folks, and share in some end-of-summer games. We’ll have the grill going, bring food to share! Contact Liz for more information.
PARISH RETREAT REGISTRATION
Registration is nearly full for our annual Parish Retreat, happening September 16th – 18th at the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg. This year our theme will focus our attention on Sabbath: A Time Apart. We will have time for fellowship, feasting, learning and resting, fun and adventure. Our middle and high school youth will be embarking on a parallel youth retreat, largely enjoying their own adventures and sometimes joining the rest of the community. There will be separate programming for kids and adults on Saturday morning, and also plenty of free time to explore and take advantage of all the Ranch has to offer.
You can learn more of the details and sign up here, or by talking with Emily Hansen Curran on Sunday. Please note that you will need to receive confirmation from Emily Hansen Curran and pay in order to be officially registered.
Save the date!
Join us at 10:10 am on Sunday, September 11th, for a festive all-parish brunch launching our annual pledge campaign. We’ll gather in the Parish Hall for fellowship, learning and discussion about how we live out generosity as a community. Not to be missed!
Homelessness in Berkeley: a panel discussion
Come to the downtown Berkeley Public Library for Homelessness in Berkeley: a panel discussion, on Saturday, September 10th in the 3rd floor community meeting room, 2:00pm – 3:30 pm. They hope to demystify homelessness, to educate, to inform, and to lay the groundwork for greater public understanding and involvement. Panelists will provide an overview of homelessness and discuss possibilities for change on a systemwide level. Local service providers will discuss their goals, strategies and observations. A person who has experienced homelessness will give us a look into the reality of life on the street. There will be plenty of time for Q&A. A reception with the panelists and community service providers follows. Nationally known advocate Dr. Julie Winkelstein, PhD, MLIS, will moderate the program.