From the Associate Rector
The first Sunday that we held the outdoor worship service, back in October, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. For starters, I had met very few All Soulsians in person, so I was curious about who would show up, and what it would feel like to worship in this community that I still didn’t know much about. I also wondered if, with all the masks, social distancing, and being outside in a courtyard, it would feel like church.
And friends, let me tell you, it has felt like church, these last couple of months worshiping together outdoors. Even given the small hiccups we have experienced here and there, the blustery wind on some days, and the blinding sun others. Getting to see people stand up and share what they are thankful for, getting to hear different people offer readings and music, just being together in worship with the gathered body of Christ has really helped me feel connected to this community, as well as with my Christian practice. I trust that this is probably true for others who have attended the outdoor worship as well.
So to say that I was disappointed when I heard that we would temporarily not be able to meet outdoors due to the surge in Covid cases, would be an understatement. I understand why it has to happen, but I don’t like it! But, it felt important to me that we at least try to keep the spirit of that outdoor worship alive as best we can. After all, Jesus has a habit of showing up in less than ideal circumstances, when you’re out of options. Maybe the messiness and unpredictability of your real life make you feel like it’s the last place on earth he would want to appear. I’m sure Mary and Joseph felt that way when they looked around the stable, surrounded by livestock, with only a feeding trough in which to lay the newborn savior. Surely not here, Jesus. But that’s what Emmanuel means, God with us. Jesus shows up here, because we’re here. If we have to stay home on Sunday mornings, Jesus will invite himself over, because that’s just who he is.
So, we’re going to try out the 9:00am service over Zoom. I know for many of you there may have been an immediate negative reaction to even the thought of that, and I understand that. This isn’t ideal. This isn’t how we’d prefer to prepare for the birth of the Christ child. But, it’s a tool that we have, that we are going to try to make use of. I hope that by engaging with one another in real time, over a medium that allows us a glimpse into the reality of one another’s lives, we will find that worship happens – church happens – when we show up expecting to find Jesus in and among each other. Even amid the noise of children playing and dogs barking; even amid the piles of laundry and sinks full of dishes, even when you’re still in your pajamas, and even when you look around and think to yourself, surely not here, Jesus.
This season of Advent is all about the tension that exists between that feeling, and the sure and certain expectation that Jesus will answer us with a “Yes. Here.” So, let’s lean in, show up, and allow ourselves to be surprised by the times and places that Jesus makes himself known to us over these next few weeks until we can be together in person once again.
From the Rector
A Pause in the Courtyard
As has become painfully clear in the past few days, the Bay Area is beginning to experience a significant surge in coronavirus cases. And while our cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from the virus are lower than other areas of California, we are still at risk and our public health officials have re-introduced stringent guidelines in order to prevent further spread of the virus.
In response to the Shelter-in-Place guidelines released this past week, our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, has asked that all congregations in the Diocese of California (most of the Bay Area counties) pause outdoor worship while this Shelter-in-Place order is in effect. While he acknowledges that we are permitted to hold outdoor worship by city, county, and state authorities, he has asked that we refrain from outdoor worship as an act of solidarity with our neighbors who are unable to engage in similar acts.
In a long season of challenge and loss, this is another disappointment to bear. And while we believe that in addition to being uplifting and comforting, our worship in the courtyard has been safe (symptom checks, physical distancing and masks), we will be abiding by Bishop Marc’s request and pausing our outdoor worship in this period. In Maggie’s reflection above you can read about one of the ways we are looking to continue the 9a worship. After we endure this wave of cases we look forward to engaging in worship in the courtyard once again. In the meanwhile, continue to search for the practices (worship, prayer, service, learning, etc) that bring you closer to God.
New Member: John Chipman
In this strange time, it is true that people are still deciding to become members at All Souls. While it might be some time before you (All Soulsians) get to welcome him in properly, John is now in our online directory where you can reach out to say hello!
Introducing John Chipman:
Raised on a farm with five siblings in Napa by hard working parents. Attended Methodist Church and small Methodist college. Married, helped raise and educate six children, plus two more that Sharon said needed help. I am fortunate to still be working in the same job for our family moving and storage company for sixty years. Sharon and I walk together every morning, help our children and thirteen grandchildren, read, cycle and enjoy movies. We are both involved in several faith sharing groups and have been active in the Cursillo ministry for more than a decade. We both just finished reading Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s wonderful new book The Way of Love. I am seventy nine years old.
Advent Windows 2020
Like many other All Soulsians, the concept of Advent Windows was a new one for me. I did Google it (as suggested in the Pathfinder) and a whole new world opened up. The variety was fairly broad, with many Victorian-age motifs, the Santa scenes, candles, snowflakes.
I did not come across any that seemed to be answering a question, such as, you know, ”What are you waiting for?”
My thought process on this had an evolution. I immediately went to family, extended family, visiting, hugging, being together crowded around a Scrabble game, or puzzle. Began forming ideas on how to convey that. I thought pictures, past Christmas photo postcards, etc. It was about this time that I went to pick up my Advent Wreath bag on Sun 11/29 and Phil got me to agree to sign up for the 6th of Dec (day 19 of the Advent Calendar) and I realized I had six days to make it happen. That evening we watched the reveal of the Brochard’s window. Ah, backlighting.
Monday: I started going through saved Christmas cards, working out some rough ideas. Don and I discussed themes, answers to the question. I found that I did not have as many family photos as I thought, and when we decided on the window to do our display in, it was clear that backlighting was going to be key. Our window was not easily seen close up. I sent Don out to get contact paper (Phil & Ben employed contact paper in their window) I
Tue: More thinking. Discussion. An abandonment of the Family Time theme. I looked up the definition of ”advent“. Then synonyms. Arrival. Emergence. Dawn. Origin. Hmmm. We landed on “Beginning”. I recalled how during the pandemic the most recent murders of black men and women by police in various cities in our country had resulted in protests that exploded after the killing of George Floyd. Protests and marches in every state and many different countries as well. At thethought that if we emerge from all this and things go back to the way they have always been it will be tragic. If real change does not happen in terms of our laws, our culture, our relationships it will be an outrage. Participating in our Sacred Ground group has reinforced in both Don and I the understanding that how things were is not how we want them to be going forward.
As one who believes that God is with us, the symbol of the Star represents that this change will not happen if we rely on our own resources alone. The Star is hope and faith in a new beginning. So, there is a star above the city of Oakland.
Wed: A trip to the art store down the hill. Black paper, tissue paper, a white pencil, Exacto blades, cutting surface. An idea was forming that I would use iconic Oakland buildings as the basis, with representational houses, and incorporate some of the images I have been recording on my phone as I have walked in downtown Oakland, my daughter’s Seattle neighborhood, our neighborhood in the Oakland hills, the MLK quote banner at All Souls.
Th – Sun 5:40pm: looking at images on screen of the buildings I decided on, I extrapolated (eyeballing it) from 1” to what I ended up with, drawing them in white on the black paper and then cutting the windows. Firmed up our theme: ”a new beginning”. Each evening Don & I would take the pieces I had completed, put them in the window and test different lighting treatments to see which was most successful. Don found the yard floodlight, put it on the table in our dining nook, turned it on — voilà! That was the answer, along with the little white lights framing the window on the outside. Oh, and a little wad of bead lights in front of the star. (those bead lights render the star itself unreadable at night, but during the day you can see the star very plainly).
Also unreadable at night: all the imagery I had painstakingly chosen and positioned on the buildings. Again, visible during the day.
When Maggie arrived I was just positioning the day/theme text under the artwork. The dining room looked like the dormroom of an art student during finals week. But, it was worth it.
I had immersed myself in a project for a week. My mind off the pandemic. I thought a lot about Jennifer Boehler while I worked. (I received the news on Tue morning. It was a meditative process, grieving while my hands worked).
My wish for this advent is that we all find a way to bring about a new beginning. I’m looking forward to it.
Zoom Worship Services on Sundays!
It’s happening. We can (temporarily) no longer hold in-person services outdoors on Sunday Mornings. We will continue our 9:00am worship service on Zoom, you can find the link for that service on our Streaming Services page.
Sunday Live Streaming News
The live stream of Sunday’s 11:15 service can be accessed through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning.
Advent Practices (click here for links to all the information!)
- Lessons & Carols, Sundays at 5:30p on Zoom
- Taize services on Wednesdays at 7:30p on Facebook live
- Live Advent Window displays unveiled nightly at 5:45p on Facebook Live
Adult Formation Class this Sunday
We have two class offerings this Sunday
Reading Between the Lines Bible Study. Contact Daniel Prechtel, firstname.lastname@example.org, to join that Zoom call at 10:10am.
The Prophets taught by The Rev. Michael Lemaire on Zoom at 10:10a.
We live in prophetic times! You need only go to the grocery store to see people with wild untamed hair and parents sporting thousand-yard stares. From pandemic and wildfires to a new reckoning with racial injustice and a bitterly divisive election to say nothing of home schooling, 2020 has been a year of calamity worthy of the prophets. Like them, hate them or maybe a bit of both, the prophets are polarizing figures whose lives and message are full of challenge and hyperbole. This class will turn to the prophetic tradition in scripture to explore what sort of people the prophets were, what kinds of things they cared about, and how we might engage our prophetic imagination to confront our own troubled times. Zoom link here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83102112858
New Adult Formation Class starts December 20th––one week only!
Soul Journeys: An Interview by Fr. Phil with the Rev. Dr. Daniel Prechtel
10:10 Virtual Formation Class on December 20
How can we envision and engage the powerful reality of spirit realms as a follower of Jesus Christ in a 21st century scientifically-oriented western culture? How can ancient shamanic journey methods inform and expand our Christian experiences of prayer and meditation? What are ways that we can draw on God’s presence and power as we seek healing and guidance? These are some of the questions that are explored in the groundbreaking book Soul Journeys: Christian Spirituality and Shamanism as Pathways for Wholeness and Understanding. Join us on December 20 for our 10:10 adult formation class when Fr. Phil interviews our assisting priest Daniel Prechtel about his new book and its rich implications for Christian spiritual theology, cosmography, and prayer practices.
The Rev. Dr. Daniel Prechtel is an assisting priest at All Souls Parish. He has over 35 years of experience as a priest, spiritual guide, writer, and educator. In 1993 he began his spiritual guidance practice as Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries, on the web at LLMinistries.com. In 2015 he began initiations as a practitioner of core shamanism. He has written three books in the field of spirituality. Soul Journeys was written in collaboration with the Rev. John Mabry, Ph.D. and the Rev. Katrina Leathers.
Missed the previous week’s class?? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be recording all of the Adult Formation offerings and loading them to the Adult Formation page of our website. Click here to get there and access the class recordings.
Children & Family News
In-person Children’s formation is temporarily on hold as we are under a new Shelter in Place order. New ways for families to engage with scripture will be sent out via email. If you’d like to receive updates about this, but do not subscribe to the Family Bulletin, please email Maggie Foote (email@example.com) for more information.
Stephen Ministry: We are here for you!
2020 has been a challenging year, right?! Most of us have been struggling and overwhelmed. You are not alone. Stephen Ministers understand and are available to listen, support and pray for you. We can offer you a confidential caring relationship or an occasional phone call to help you through these ever-changing times. Contact Maggie Foote at (513) 309-1079 or Madeline Feeley at (510) 495-4512 so we can be there for you.
Evening Prayer via Zoom
Here is the link for the Thursday night BCP Compline, which starts at 8:30 PDT:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 786 3029 4068
Sacred Ground Concluding Call
If you have been participating in the Sacred Ground curriculum this summer and fall, please join us for a call to wrap up this round of the curriculum and to transition us to the work ahead. The call will be Sunday, December 13th at 7:30p-8:30p on Zoom (link here). For more information see your Sacred Ground facilitator or Emily Hansen Curran (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Check out Season 2, Episode 14 of the Soulcast!
Still have ingathering donations? Not convenient for you to drop them off Sunday or Wednesday from 2-4? Have them picked up from your doorstep! Email Deacon Dani if you have items for pickup at email@example.com.
Ongoing Canned Food Drive
The ASP Food Drive continues to pick up and deliver food for the Berkeley Food Pantry on a weekly basis. Food contributors and drivers participate every other week. Please email Cathy: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86087951049?pwd=THNxbjlqMm5zdjc5RGNLWkFrZk16QT09
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218
If you are able to help provide some meals for parishioners in need, please contact Cathy Goshorn to help out! We are in great need at this time to help care for each other––please consider helping other All Soulsians in need by providing meals or gift cards for meals. You can reach Cathy at email@example.com.
Don’t forget to claim your items for our Advent Ingathering! We are collecting new items for our friends living in camps in Berkeley for the first three weeks. Put your name and the number you are purchasing next to what you are donating and drop it off that Sunday (or the following Wednesday) in the big trash can outside the chapel doors. Week four will be a collection for the Berkeley Food Pantry!
Week 1: 8th and Harrison Wish List:
Week 2: Here/There Wish List:
Week 3: 2nd and Jones Wish List:
Week 4: Berkeley Food Pantry (details to come)
Berkeley Canterbury Advent Speaker Series
This Advent the Berkeley Canterbury (campus ministry) is hosting a speaker series, which started yesterday with Brother John from the Taizé community. Coming up are The Rev. Dr. Robert Tobin, Peggy Wehmeyer, and The Rev. Andy Shamel. Email Tom Poynor firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
Will Bryant (our current seminarian) will be ordained a deacon at the Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville, North Carolina, on January 16th at 11a ET (his ordination was delayed due to an illness at the Cathedral in North Carolina). Will is deeply thankful to everyone at All Souls Parish for all the support he has received over the last two years. All are invited to watch the ordination as it will be live-streamed on the Cathedral’s website at https://allsoulscathedral.org/virtual-connect.