From the Associate Rector

Searching for a New Bishop

For the past month, I have been serving on the Diocese of California’s Bishop Search and Transition Team, and I will continue to serve this group until the election of our next bishop in 2024. While I am not usually the type to voluntarily sign up for more meetings, I decided to challenge myself a little and just go for it. As a relative newcomer to the Diocese of California, I have been on a steep learning curve, getting to know the diocese and the many complicated factors that will play in to the election of our next bishop. I am also a newbie to this process, never having served on a bishop search committee before.

So, I thought I would share a bit about the process, and my experience so far.

First, I’d like to share the official bishop search website: Home | The Episcopal Diocese of California Bishop Search If you’re following along in detail from home, this is where you’ll want to stay tuned!

A bit about the timeline:

The Search and Transition Team was announced at Convention in late October and began meeting in November. There are several sub-committees of the team, and the team responsible for creating the Diocesan profile is hard at work now organizing listening sessions and soliciting as much feedback as possible from the various stakeholders of our diocese: lay people from all congregations, clergy, Diocesan staff, and our other entities like our conference centers, schools, and more.

This process began in mid-November, and will continue at least through mid-January. The subcommittee will then synthesize that feedback and create a Diocesan Profile, not unlike the Parish Profile that is created by an individual congregation when searching for a new Rector or Priest-in-Charge. This profile will contain a variety of information: demographic information about DioCal, a summary of the gifts, strengths, and opportunities of our diocese, as well as some areas where we are not thriving and would welcome guidance and leadership from a new bishop. This report will also contain some information about what attributes we are looking for in a new bishop.

This profile will then be sent far and wide to potential candidates, and the process of soliciting nominations will begin. This part of the process will last from when the Diocesan profile is published in April of 2023, through September of 2023. Anyone can nominate someone as bishop as long as they meet the minimum requirements, and they consent to be nominated. So, if you know of anyone who might make a great bishop for our diocese, you can send them the profile and encourage them to apply, or you can nominate them with their consent.

As applications and nominations come in, the entire search and transition team will weigh in on which candidates seem like they might be a good fit, while a subcommittee of the team is tasked with vetting the candidates that are being moved forward; calling their references, performing background checks, conducting interviews, etc.

In September of 2023, the initial slate of candidates will be announced. From there other people can petition to be added to the slate. These people may be candidates who have been cut earlier in the process, or brand new candidates.

In October 2023, after the petition candidates have been vetted and considered, the final slate will be presented to the diocese.

In November of 2023, the candidates from the final slate will come to visit the Diocese of California for “Meet and Greets” and get to know the area, as well as the people and clergy off the diocese. I am serving on the subcommittee of the team that is responsible for planning these “Meet and Greets;” creating a schedule for the visit, providing opportunities for people to meet and ask questions of the candidates, and showing off some of the amazing things that DioCal has to offer.

In December of 2023, there will be an election where the new bishop of California will be elected and announced! That person, assuming they accept the position, will be consecrated in May of 2024, and will begin the transition to leadership of the diocese.

So, while this work is long and complex, there are clear goals to work toward, as well as enough time to do each step well.  For my part, I am excited to be a part of the deep discernment that is taking place to figure out who we are, in what direction we are headed as a diocese, and who might be able to lead us there. My hope for all of you, is that you feel engaged by this process, and take every opportunity to share your opinions on what we need in a new bishop with me and with the Search and Transition Team as a whole. There are various listening sessions that you can attend (even if you don’t live in or attend church in that deanery) to voice your opinions on this matter. You are also encouraged to share your opinions with leaders in your own congregation (like Phil and the Vestry) or bring them to me directly. We need as many voices as possible to contribute to the conversation that will help us discern the absolute best candidate possible, and that includes you, whether you think it does or not!

I ask your prayers for me, and for the rest of the committee as we continue in this work, that we keep the needs of the whole diocese top of mind in this hard work of discernment. If you have any questions about the process, please let me know!


From the Rector

Rach, Shack & Benny 

Now that the offices for All Souls staff have moved over into Jordan Court, new life is starting to bubble up in the spaces that the offices used to occupy. But since referring to these spaces by what used to happen isn’t very helpful to newcomers (and takes a long time to say), the staff recently decided to give the spaces interim names as the process to redesign the undercroft gets underway.

Our inspiration? A story we often tell at the Easter Vigil, of the three faithful youth who survive Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace from the book of Daniel. Now, there was a push to use the names from this memorable Veggie Tales episode, but we kept it old school: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But aren’t there four spaces below the courtyard? Yes, there are, so the fourth is being called the Fiery Furnace. Here’s a quick description of each:

Shadrach: used to be the office of the Rector (Phil’s), now can be used for smaller group meetings, and starting this Sunday will be the home of the 10:10a Reading Between the Lines bible study.

Meshach: used to be shared by the Parish Administrative Assistant (Annie’s) and Associate for Music (Jamie’s), and now serves as a supply room for all of your administrative needs. (chart pad paper, pens, and other office supplies)

The Fiery Furnace: used to be the office of the Associate Rector (Maggie’s), now is the youth room for youth Office Hours on Sunday mornings and impromptu gatherings the rest of the week.

Abednego: used to be the office of the Associate for Ministry Development (Emily’s), and now can be used for smaller group meetings. 

Looking to use one of these spaces? Contact Annie Rovzar, our Parish Administrative Assistant and she’ll book you.


Advent In-Gatherings

Berkeley RV Encampments

When Project Sandwich shut down in Fall of 2020 the All Souls Open Door Dinner teams continued delivering jambalaya meals every 2nd Sunday to three RV encampments in West Berkeley. Over the past two years we have formed relationships with some members of these communities. As in previous years, we are including these folks in our Advent Ingatherings. The list of items needed has been modified from last year as we have become aware of some new items our neighbors are in need of. That list can be found at

Our donations make a real impact on these people’s lives. As Sarah, who lives in an RV at 2nd & Page said to me recently, ”Thank you for caring about us.”

Save the Dates

  • December 4, Lay Eucharistic Minister & Visitor Training
  • December 7 & 14, Advent Soup + Taize
  • December 11, Faithful Families Christmas Caroling
  • December 24, Christmas Eve services

Weekly Worship

Join us for worship this week:

Join us for worship this week:

  • 9am, in-person, indoors **
  • 11:15am, in-person, indoors. (click here to access the live stream)
  • 5p, the Sunday Night Service, in-person, indoors, in the Chapel.

You can access the live stream through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning. 

If you miss a Sunday, you can always catch the sermon on our homepage or as a podcast, anywhere you listen to podcasts! 

Wednesday 9am Service

Join the Zoom call here, or join us in person in the Nave at 9a. Password: 520218.


Adult Formation Classes

There are three class offerings this Sunday:

    • Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in the Common Room.
    • Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:15a. Click here to join by Zoom (Meeting ID: 811 8105 6561. Passcode: 516358), or join them in-person in the Common Room.
    • The Infancy Narratives @10:10a. Click hereClick here to join by Zoom, or join them in person in the Parish Hall.

The Infancy Narratives in the Gospels, November 27, December 4 & 11

In this three-part class, Dr. Sharon Jacob, Visiting Professor of New Testament and Postcolonial Studies at Claremont School of Theology, will examine the infancy narratives of the gospels alongside views of motherhood in both Colonial and Post-Colonial India. Using the lens of surrogacy, she will examine the character of Joseph in Matthew and Mary in Luke.

  • Dec 4: Infancy Narrative in the Gospel of Matthew in the Context of Post-Colonial Surrogacy. The second class in the series will look at the Infancy Narratives in the Gospel of Matthew. In particular, we will look at the character of Joseph in Matthew through the contextual lens of surrogacy in postcolonial India.
  • Dec 11: Violent Love, Oppressive Liberation: Reading Mary alongside Surrogate Mothers. The final class in the series will look at Mary in the Gospel of Luke. We read this character alongside Surrogate mothers in Post-Colonial India and nuance the ways in which Motherhood has come to be defined in our modern contexts.

Sharon Jacob holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Bangalore University, an M.Div from Lancaster Theological Seminary, a M.S.T. from Yale Divinity School and a Phd from Drew University. She taught at Philips Theological Seminary and Pacific School of Religion before accepting her current appointment at Claremont Theological School.

Children, Youth, and Family News

Sunday School Join us in the courtyard Sunday at 10:10 for grades Pre-K – 5 for the second of our two week session on Advent Prayer Practices.

Youth Group Youth Group continues this Sunday, from 7-8:30pm in the Parish Hall!

Confirm Not Conform Continues this Sunday at 10:10am in Maggie’s Office.

Faithful Families Join us on December 11th for Christmas Caroling! Information in the news and notes below!

Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.

Other News & Notes

Eucharistic Minister and Visitor Training

Have you ever wanted to serve the chalice during communion? What about taking communion to the home of someone unable to make it to church in person? We will be training volunteers for both of these important ministries after the 11:15am service on December 4th. Advent is a wonderful time to try on new practices, so if you’ve ever been curious about participating in the liturgy in this way, we encourage you to come to this training.

Advent Wednesday Soup Supper & Taize Service

This Advent we will resume our practice of a soup supper and Taize service on the Wednesday evenings in Advent. Join us at 6p in the Parish Hall for a soup supper, then at 6:45p we’ll head into the church for a candlelit Taize service of prayers, songs, silence, stories, and poetry. If you’re able, please sign-up to bring some soup or bread through this link (click here). November 30th, December 7th, and December 14th. 

We are looking for new Stephen Ministers: come join us!

All Souls is planning to offer a Stephen Ministry training class beginning in February 2023. If you have ever thought about becoming a Stephen Minister, please contact Christina Robinson, 510.334.2419 or for more information. She can explain the nuts & bolts of Stephen Ministry—how to apply, what’s involved in training, and (best of all!) offering your gift of compassionate listening to another. You can also learn more about what it is like to be a Stephen Minister here: Becoming a Stephen Minister ( leave your completed Stephen Minister application in the Stephen Ministry mailbox by Friday, December 9.

Online Giving

If you are looking to set up your pledge for 2023, you may still do so by clicking on this form. There is also a super easy way to give to All Souls––for either a one-time donation or for your ongoing pledge––that is through an app called Vanco Mobile (what used to be called GivePlus). You can find this app through the app store on your phone. Once downloaded, search for All Souls Episcopal Parish and you’re in! If you’d prefer not to download the app, you can just as easily give online through our personalized online donation page by clicking here.