From the Rector

Essential Questions

We have had a practice at All Souls of praying the Eucharist with a variety of prayers for many years. We change them seasonally (as opposed to every Sunday) so that we can enter a new pattern of prayer for a time, encountering new phrases or facets of the meal, theological truths, and cultural expressions. Over the course of a year we pray with all four of the Eucharistic prayers of the 1979 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, the three prayers found in our Enriching our Worship prayer book, and with several other prayers from other Anglican traditions.

Some of the prayers we use are meant for any season, others specifically written with a particular season in mind––the Lenten prayer from the Anglican Church in Southern Africa is one that comes to mind. What I love about using prayers from around the Anglican Communion is that they often offer us glimpses into what animates that particular culture and ask us to approach one of the essential acts of Christian worship through a slightly different portal.

This Advent has been one of those experiences. A couple of months ago our new Associate for Music, Dent Davidson, introduced us to a Eucharistic prayer from the Church of England’s prayer book, Common Worship. Unique in the Anglican tradition, it has a child ask a series of questions of the congregation at the altar, much like a child asks essential questions of those participating in a Jewish Passover meal.

Once Bishop Marc gave his blessing (Eucharistic prayers outside of our Episcopal Church’s tradition are considered extra-ordinary, as in, our “ordinary”, or bishop needs to approve their use), we decided to use this prayer during the season of Advent. And it has been nothing short of revelatory for many of us.

Having a child or youth ask us basic and central questions has served to focus our attention and to demanded that we reconsider these communal actions. I think that this is critical for those who participate in the Eucharist on a regular basis, as one of the great dangers is that the liturgy will become rote––that we will say the words, receive the gifts, and walk through the motions without truly encountering them.

To be clear, this hasn’t been an experience of, “kids say the darndest things.” There is a risk that having a young person at the altar turns them into a kind of object. My experience, however, and the experience of others from the feedback that I’ve received, is that having children and youth take on this role has also reminded us that all of those gathered are ministers of the rite. It has done what we have hoped a new prayer might do, have us re-consider what we believe once again. 

If you have yet to pray with this prayer you have two more Sundays of Advent to experience it––December 11th and December 18th. Come ready to be questioned and find Jesus at the table once more, this time with a child leading us all.



Ladies’ Lunch’

Attention Women: Heard of Affinity Groups? These are groups that have been formed to reach out to each other in a variety of ways outside of Sunday services. We are encouraged to form a group where we see a need.

Several women thought about this and put their heads together and came up with the idea of having a gathering of women once a month for a potluck lunch where we can engage in conversation and laughter—this is what the men are doing with their Spaghetti Again dinners.

We invite you to come to the first gathering on Thursday, January 12 at noon in the Parish Hall. Bring one of your favorite lunch dishes or a beverage to share. We look forward to seeing you and getting this off and running!

Access to the Parish Hall: Since the pre-school children are in the courtyard, which has direct access to the Parish Hall, you can get to the Parish Hall by walking into the breezeway across from the labyrinth, and by ringing the doorbell marked ‘parish hall’ on the doorway across from the labyrinth.

-Julie Burcham and Gloria Bayne

Advent In-Gatherings

Berkeley Food Pantry

Do you share the vision of ending hunger in our community?  If so, please join us for the 4th  All Soul’s Advent In-Gathering on Sunday, 12/18. For this final In-Gathering we are collecting/delivering items for the Berkeley Food Pantry.   Typically, this time of year Food Pantries are running low and any donations are helpful.  Might you have two cans of soups and can share one?
Please visit the link below to view the list of specific items needed for the Food Pantry.  Many thanks!

Save the Dates

  • December 11, Faithful Families Christmas Caroling
  • December 14, Advent Soup + Taize
  • 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 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.

Coming Up in Adult Formation: 

Join our Adult Formation Program in January (Sundays at 10:15, January 8, 15, and 22) with two classes:

Dr. Scott MacDougall  “Contending with Evil and Suffering” 

This three-session course will struggle with the realities of evil and suffering in a world made by a good and loving Creator who declares it to be “very good.” How can we reconcile all of this? We’ll look at some of the ways Christians have tried to do so over time and consider our own views of these questions, as well.

  • January 8: Evil. What is evil? Where does it come from? How does facing the reality of evil affect Christian faith and life?
  • January 15: Suffering. Why is there suffering? How are suffering, sin, and death connected, if they are connected? Why would a good God allow suffering? What does Jesus’ suffering on the cross say to us about the role of suffering in Christian discipleship?
  • January 22: Meaning. Revisiting some of the questions raised by the first two sessions, we’ll conclude by asked whether meaning can be made out of evil or suffering. If so, what sort of meaning? How can we live Christianly in the face of evil, suffering, and death?

This class will be offered in person and on zoom (click here for Zoom link). 

 The Very Rev. Dr. Peggy Patterson “Seasons of Faith in Solitude” (offered in-person only)

Are you ready to enter the Season of Epiphany exploring an unexpected blessing…the blessing of Solitude as we enter the third year of the Pandemic? This is the question a recent author, Elizabeth Orens, asked in the Christian Century. In this new year, this Season of Epiphany, how can we cultivate an inner spiritual life with God? How can we live into our own baptism as Jesus did, experience God’s guiding light as the Wise Ones did? And experience our own Epiphany,…opening our hearts to God’s deep presence within us? You are invited to join an Epiphany Community for three Sundays in January to explore the ways God is calling you anew ….

  • January 8: What is Solitude? How is it different from loneliness, isolation, despair? How do you experience being alone? Hear from two parishioners ( Tom Varghese and Elena Ramirez) who will share their Spiritual Journeys with God and their search for Faith through Seasons of Solitude.
  • January 15: Most of us live alone at some time in our lives. How are our spiritual longings affected by our Seasons of Solitude, especially deep grief, divorce, empty nesting, health crises, loss of a child? In these times, how can we cultivate an inner spiritual life with God, inviting God to be our companion on our most difficult journeys.
  • January 22: As we follow Jesus into the desert after his Baptism during Epiphany, how does silence, Prayerful Solitude, and facing temptation help us to feel enfolded by God’s love? These Seasons of Solitude offer the quiet to experience the presence of God.

All three weeks will include various introductions and experiences of Prayer which might enrich your Seasons of Solitude: Centering Prayer, Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, The Evening Examen, Compline, Taize Chant, Prayer with Beads: The Anglican Rosary, Walking Meditation in the Labyrinth, Acts of Mercy, Reading the Mystics, especially Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen. We will even have our very own Bethlehem olive wood Anglican Rosaries to begin our Prayerful practice. Start the New Year with a Season of Prayerful Solitude. 

Children, Youth, and Family News

Sunday School Christmas Pageant Preparations have begun! The next two weeks of Sunday School will consist of pageant rehearsals at 10:10. We will meet in the downstairs Sunday School Classroom. The pageant will take place at the 4:00pm service on Christmas Eve.

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

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.

Sacred Earth: Growing Beloved Community – Justice in Action after COP27

Tuesday, December 13, 2022 07:00 PM 

Click here for Zoom Registration

What arose from the UN COP27 meeting in Egypt? Justice was mobilized into action. Specific accountability and funding began for Loss and Damage reparations for those nations who are now suffering most from our global climate crisis. Join us as we explore our part in this historic advancement of race and justice with Bishop Marc Andrus and Dr. Paloma Pavel, who were both part of the Episcopal Church’s delegation. In this webcast they will share some reflections as well as some more interviews from their time at COP27. Also, Bishop Marc Andrus interviews Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Rt. Rev. Michael Curry about the radical theological implication of God’s family including all of creation. This expands our understanding of Beloved Community.

Our musician is Dent Davidson who is the Chapel Musician and Lecturer in Church Music at CDSP, and Associate Minister for Music at All Souls Parish, Berkeley. With over forty-five years of professional lay ministry, Dent Davidson has received calls for the continual examination and re-imagination of church music and liturgy, embracing the best of received tradition and expanding it. He has served in leadership roles in several parishes, two cathedrals and on a diocesan staff. Each position focused on vitality in worship. Having earned a degree in Composition and Vocal Jazz, he travels widely as a workshop clinician and consultant in music and worship and serves as Chaplain and Musician to The Episcopal Church House of Bishops. 

Visit to view last month’s video