From the Chaplain of the Vestry
The South Dakota Connection
Margie Fay stood in the Parish Hall smiling gently. She was observing the final preparations for the mission trip our youth would soon be taking. They would fly to Denver, then drive to Cheyenne and sleep in a church; the next day, they would drive to Wakpala, a town on the Standing Rock reservation, and stay at St. Elizabeth’s church for a week while working and living with members of the Lakota Sioux. As Margie watched the youth gather in the Parish Hall and say good-bye to their parents, I felt reassured that our longstanding connection with our Native brothers and sisters would continue.
The day before these six All Souls youth and four adults headed off for the reservation, I interviewed Margie at her home in north Berkeley. She told me about her time spent living on Native American reservations in South Dakota with her late husband, the Rev. Bill Fay. In 1951, Bill and Margie drove to California from the East Coast on their honeymoon and stopped at Standing Rock Reservation on the way; Bill wanted to introduce Margie to the friends he’d made while interning there as a seminarian.
By 1954, Bill was ordained and he and his family, ready for something different, left the Diocese of California to serve on several reservations in South Dakota: Crow Creek, Standing Rock, and Pine Ridge. They served a total of seventeen years and by the time they returned to California’s Central Valley, they had four boys and innumerable Native friends. “They’re a very welcoming culture,” said Margie, remembering how their family was immediately enveloped by the love of the community: “It was always interesting.”
For instance, when newborn Bill, Jr. was crying in Margie’s arms, the Native women immediately took and swaddled him, adding, “Babies never get hurt if they’re well wrapped – they just bounce”. When another son had “frozen ears” because of frostbite, they asked, “What happened to your son’s ears?” and provided a little advice. And the weather was another story: ”You never knew what was coming on the other side of the hill. Once I was driving with Bill, Jr. and we hit black ice. Finally a tow truck came by and pulled us out of the ditch, and we had to take the baby to the hospital. Luckily, he was fine. Another time, Bill, Sr. was stuck in the mud and the car had to be pulled out by horses. We always carried food that would keep in the car, and candles and matches; you never knew what was going to happen with the weather.”
Margie remembers many people visiting the Reservation, such as the Girls Friendly Society, an Episcopal group that came from Ohio to lead a summer camp. She also recalled with fondness the weekly meetings of the Women’s Auxiliary, which sewed and then sold quilts and other household items; this money was used to pay Diocesan fees. Smiling again, she says, “We were glad to have had the experience.” After moving away, she found she had a great deal of empathy, as well as a lot of friends; in fact, she has twenty-one godchildren, an ample measure of the love they brought to South Dakota and carried with them when they left.
Before I leave, Margie shows me the decorated walls of her family room; there are paintings of Native Americans, artifacts such as pottery shards, a woven blanket, and a small photo of a landscape I recognize from my children’s descriptions of their time in Wakpala – a school bus leaves a trail of dust as it descends a dirt road, surrounded by the stark beauty of the austere South Dakota landscape. I am transported for a moment, as Margie seems to be every time she recalls her ministry among the Native Americans. If you see Margie, please thank her for her service and ask about the wojapi, which is apparently delicious on fry bread.
Bill and Margie Fay in 2007
Meet Jonna Alexander, Transitional Deacon
Some of you may have noticed a new face in the altar party and at communion and I am grateful to have this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Jonna (like Donna but with a “J”) Alexander and I am blessed to be serving as a transitional deacon at All Souls for the next several months. I am about to enter my third year at CDSP (Church Divinity School of the Pacific) and live in their dormitory about three blocks from All Souls. My permanent home, however, is in Portland, Oregon, which I share with a family from Oaxaca, Mexico, three cats, and Zinnia the dog. I was ordained to the transitional deaconate on June 21, 2014 in Portland so, despite my age, I am a very new clergy person. My home parish in Portland is St Michael and All Angels, and my rector tells me she knew Rev. Phil Brochard when she was growing up in Richmond. At St Michaels, I was involved in the Catechumenate, Prayer Shawl Ministry, St Brigid’s Guild (healing prayer), Eucharistic Ministry, as a Worship Leader, and I served on the vestry.
One of the reasons I feel so blessed to be serving at All Souls is how much this awesome place reminds me of my home parish, with an emphasis on good preaching, music and liturgy, and the enthusiasm and compassion for social justice and outreach. I am truly looking forward to learning how what works so well at All Souls can be shared with the larger Episcopal Church as we live out our Baptismal promises together.
I believe an essential part of my call to ministry is healing and chaplaincy. I studied Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, and became a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in 1989. I retired from working as a Benefits Specialist at Portland Community college in August of 2012, and began studies at CDSP in the Fall of 2012. I am presently wrapping up a full year of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at St Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco. It has been a transformative year for me, and I am delighted to say that all the academic learning I’ve received at CDSP actually crossed over into real life situations. I am excited to see how that integrates into life here at All Souls as well. As a student, I have wondered just how useful some of the information will ever be, and “Lo, and behold,” it really is very useful stuff. I am looking forward to being engaged in the healing prayers here at All Souls, and learning about how your fantastic Stephens Ministry program is so incredibly effective.
As a transitional deacon I am learning a deacon’s role in the Episcopal Church. I have promised to proclaim the Gospel, serve in liturgy, and to bring the problems, hopes and sufferings of the world to the Church. That is the big “C” Church, which is another way of saying, you and me. Most people serve as transitional deacons for six to twelve months before being ordained as a priest. Part of the transitional diaconal participation is to observe, mark, and inwardly digest how a functional parish operates, and to learn leadership from a priest; rather like an apprenticeship. Our Church is really blessed to also have vocational deacons who are those, like the Rev. Mary Louise Hintz, who believe their call is to the deaconate, not the priesthood. In listening and responding to God calling our name, all of us have the opportunity to find where our passion meets the world’s greatest need.
— Jonna Alexander
From the Music Department
Music as Material Culture?
One of the fun debates going on in musicological circles is whether or not music is a “material culture.” Music is sound, after all. Ephemeral. Fleeting. How is it a material?
After helping move the music library from one building to the other on Saturday, I do believe I have formed an opinion. Absolutely, music is a material. It’s heavy and often found in little black boxes with numbers on the outside.
It was a joy to meet more of you while schlepping boxes and furniture from the old Music Office to the new Music Annex (and I have to confess that I love the idea of living above the Music Annex). All Souls has a great collection of resources that it has invested in over the years. Christopher and his predecessors are a creative bunch!
It was good to get so much work done so quickly, too. Though I still question John Love’s wisdom in having us move full bookshelves. No less, thanks to all who made that possible:
Reed Loy, John Love, Madeline and Davis Feeley, Michelle Barger and Matt McGinley, Nancy Austin and Andy Kahn, Riley Cooke, me (Tripp Hudgins), and Christopher himself, sorting and directing where things should go.
All Souls has an impressive library. Like other congregations, the music library is also a kind of repository of past and present practices. New hymnals, prayer books, revised collections (Flemish, Spanish, Italian…), novelties (old, new, and recurring), music and theology are all catalogued for us. You can count the number of copies of a given piece and compare that to the number of people who were participating in the music program at the time. You can guess how often a piece was performed by the wear and tear on the spine of a book. It’s the soundtrack to a stroll down memory lane.
Of course, realizations emerge:
Why do we have sixty copies of “Such-And-Such”? We actually sang this? In Slavonic? Flemish? My, we never sang this. Not once. It’s twenty years old and smells new. “Um, Christopher, what’s a ‘Teresa Mass’ and why do we have thirty copies of it?” Monteverdi’s banjo motets?
Okay, maybe that last one was wishful thinking on my part.
I share these realizations to simply say that our work is not yet done. Now we have to make some sense of it all. Christopher (and others) have the task of going through the collection to figure out what should remain and what can actually go (recycled, given away, etc.). Some of the manuscripts have seen better days and are disintegrating. Others are really intended for enormous choir guilds or college choirs. Still others reflect liturgical practices that All Souls no longer embodies for any number of reasons.
There are a lot of decisions that need to be made. Some are simply logistical. Others are prognosticative. What will we do in the future? What will we return to as a parish? What do we need to make room for?
These are exciting questions. I appreciated my opportunity to dig through the musical sub-strata of All Souls and I look forward to the future.
New Music Annex in the Parish House, before (below) and after (above).
From the Archivist
When did you last take a serious look at our stained glass windows? Only the artist, William Dombrink of Henry Dombrink and Sons (a stained-glass company which dated back to 1900) and the Rev. Albert Olson, the then rector, were involved in the design of the windows. Both are dead and there is no definitive record of the plan. Letters from parishioners of All Souls’ at the time state that the windows depict the Apostles’ Creed. This appears to be correct. If one enters the nave from the narthex and begins with the window at the front on the gospel side (the left as one faces the altar) and moving around the nave widdershins (counterclockwise), skipping the two windows in the “baptistry”, a space originally intended to be the entrance to a chapel and long the place the baptismal font stood. Here is my interpretation of the windows:
1. “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”. This window seems to show the hand of God, a globe (the world), a lightning bolt, blue sky for Heaven, and a pair of dividers or calipers, used as a symbol of building. There is a triangle which may be pointing up to God the Father or perhaps pointing down as a sign that from its apex (God) everything was created.
2. “And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord”. This window contains the initials I.N.R.I. for “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” and a crown to show us that Christ is Lord. The initials also foreshadow the crucifixion and Pontius Pilate causing the title “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” to be placed on the top of the cross in Latin, Hebrew and Greek. In this window, the triangle points down toward earth perhaps to remind us that Christ was made man or that God poured all of creation into Jesus.
3. “Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary”. The dominant feature of this window is a lily, a symbol of the Blessed Virgin, added to which is a crown to again remind us that Christ, our Lord, was the Prince of Peace.
4. “Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead and buried. … he shall come to judge the living and the dead.” In this window, the sword and scale of justice do double duty by reminding us both of Romans judging and crucifying Christ and that Christ will come again on the last day when we all are judged.
5. “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” A red dove is a symbol for the Holy Spirit which hovers over an orb representing the earth.
6. “I believe in the holy catholic church”. Here, an ark symbolizes the church as the ark of salvation, with a Chi Rho, the symbol of Christ entwined with two rings symbolizing the church as the bride of Christ. Again the red dove of the Holy Spirit is present. In the upper right-hand corner, could that be the star of Bethlehem?
7. “The Communion of Saints”. In addition to the cross, there is a palm branch symbolizing martyrdom of those saints who led the way as witnesses to the world. On the left is a flame, symbolizing the light of faith of the saints and martyrs, and on the left oil which serves as a symbol of oil for the lamp and oil which anoints the body.
8. “The forgiveness of sins”. Here the dominating feature is a key, symbolizing that Christ gave Peter the keys to the kingdom, the key to retain or release sins, which key remains with Christ’s church today.
9. “The resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” Here a Chi Rho returns as the dominating feature superimposed on which is the word “PAX” [peace] as a sign of life and the world to come. At the bottom are two peacocks symbolizing immortality.
If you look carefully, you will see in every window a triangle – a symbol of the trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The direction and shape of the triangle may vary or be partially concealed. Take the time to look for other symbolism in the windows. As to the two remaining windows in the “baptismal” area, the left one has a downward pointed sword superimposed on a saltire (Saint Andrew’s cross) symbolizing that Christ was “crucified, dead and buried” and that we die and are reborn to new life through baptism. The window on the right represents the act of baptism itself, the sacrament of rising to new life, with the traditional symbols of a shell, water and a fish.
— Thomas Burcham