From the Rector


Embodied Belief

We begin this season by meditating on our death. We end this season by proclaiming new life. And in between we try to find new ways to fully live.

For century upon century, Christians have set aside this time to prepare, to ground ourselves, re-orient ourselves, remember whose we are, and learn new ways of being. Lent has been a time to seek forgiveness and to repair relationships, to structure mercy into daily living, to study Scripture—in all to come close. In the words of the Benedictine scholar Esther de Waal, so that, “Our whole life will become prayer in action.”

While I realize that in popular culture, this time is often associated with not eating chocolate or meat, this approach to our time in the wilderness is just the skin of the fruit. There is much to be encountered in this holy time, but we must be willing to practice, to try new disciplines, to re-order our lives to come close to it. And in doing so we need to be willing to ask ourselves how the beliefs that we hold—like that we have been fundamentally made (and are still being created) by a loving, merciful, just and generous Ground of Being—how they are actually being lived out. Where do they show up in our bank statements, in Google or iCalendars, and on our tables?

Much of my sabbatical this past year was spent considering corporate practices that give life to Christian communities, as the same intent exists for groups of people as it does for individuals. All of us are trying to in-corporate, literally to bring into our bodies, these enduring and ephemeral truths. As humans we often struggle to make real the ideals we orient our lives towards. It’s why the Rev. Suzanne Guthrie will be with us for four weeks Lenten Series to explore what Christian practice is and how it stretches, changes and flexes throughout the year.

One of the elements of this past weekend’s Vestry Retreat was the exploration of “Giving as a Spiritual Practice”, led by Caroline McCall. One of the ways into our discussion was a brainstorm of what characterized a spiritual practice. Here’s what surfaced as we considered the prompt, “Spiritual practices…”

are done regularly
are done mindfully
bring you closer to God
are contemplative
make you feel more alive
are disciplined
are unconditional—no expectations
are rooted in our bodies
include prayer
change us
increase feelings of connectedness

As you consider, refine or create your practices this Lent, use these phrases as lenses. Some of these lenses are macro—how will this practice change me or make me feel more alive? Others are micro—will this practice be regular, how will it root in my body? But they are essential to finding your way into practices that, over time, will shift the way you live and move in the world.

All of us have places in our selves and in our lives that we struggle with. The wisdom of the Christian Church is to set space and time aside to enter the wilderness. We have begun with the contemplation of our mortality. We will emerge with a trust in life forever. And now, the space in-between, is the time to practice fully living.


From the Senior Warden

mary_reesBest Vestry Retreat Ever!

What did I do last weekend? Hey, I’m glad you asked!

I spent the weekend with the All Souls Vestry at St. Dorothy’s Rest, a camp nestled among redwoods, oaks and babbling streams not far from Occidental. The retreat was a healthy mix of reflection, discussion, recreation and team-building.

We arrived Friday afternoon and enjoyed a potluck dinner of soup and salad. The theme for this retreat was “All we do with all we have,” and after dinner we got right to work. Each of us rewrote one sentence of the All Souls vision statement in more casual or poetic language, owning the parish-wide document in a more personal way.

Next we read selected passages from the Bible in small groups, listening for which images and phrases came to mind, and considering what this scriptural snapshot said about what “enough” means. This exercise helped us attend to the message of the Bible with more than just our hearing, but also through our other senses and imagination.

For homework we got a page of questions to lead us in writing or drawing our “money autobiographies,” tracing our personal relationship to money. I found the questions fruitful and disarming. I’d encourage everyone to consider just three of the questions provided in Elizabeth O’Connor’s “Scattered Pilgrims”; you might be surprised by what you learn. We’ll be publishing the prompts in next week’s Pathfinder.

Saturday morning we reflected together on what we’d discovered about ourselves in creating our money stories.

Mid-morning we spent identifying all of the needs and wants for the physical spaces at All Souls  that we could. We’d like to take a broad view over the entire All Souls campus, asking what works and what needs to be changed in order to function better, as we develop plans for the Parish House lot.

Next we met representatives from the Diocese who introduced the Diocesan Collaborative Campaign, a joint capital campaign to raise money for both All Souls’ needs and diocesan-wide sites like Bishop’s Ranch and St. Dorothy’s Rest. We can choose as a parish to participate in it, or not, and the vestry will be discussing the pros and cons over the next several months.

After lunch Phil led a hike up and along the summit behind St. Dorothy’s Rest. Phil spent some time as a teenager there and knows the history of the camp well. Late that afternoon Caroline McCall helped us explore money, faith and how the Sabbath and tithing are connected: each is built on the assumption that we have enough — of both time and wealth — to set some aside for God. Each requires that we renounce such myths of scarcity as “there is not enough” and “more is better.”

That evening we discerned that Maggie Cooke would be our Junior Warden, and that Tara McCulloch and Mark Koops-Elson would serve as Co-chaplains. The game that followed, a mix of Taboo, Charades, and Catch Phrase balanced out the harder work of the preceding 24 hours with its hearty laughter and camaraderie.

On Sunday morning we held a Eucharist with an embedded vestry meeting around the large dining table at Lydia House. It was soon time to pack up and go home, but we took with us a sense of mutual trust, which will be essential as we face difficult decisions in the coming year.

If you want to learn more about the vestry and what we do, come to one of our meetings; they are open to members of the parish. We usually meet at 7:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.

Here is this year’s vestry meeting schedule: March 15 (Tuesday), April 20, May 18, June 15, July 20, August 24 (fourth Wednesday), September 21, October 19, November 16, December 20 (Tuesday), and January 18, 2017. Hope to see you soon!
– Mary Rees

From the Associate for Youth Ministries

jess_powellWe Do Not Walk Alone: what this means and why it matters

To those who no longer consider yourselves “youth”: how many of you had difficulty navigating the social circles (and hormonal changes) of your middle school years? Did any of you stress over countless activities, tests, presentations, papers, and post-graduation plans in high school? To all of the youth reading this: how many of you feel or have felt like this? If any of you somehow escaped these experiences, then I applaud you! If you went through any of this or more, know that you are not alone and that you are a member of a community that is larger than you may realize.

While the list above may be the only struggles you readers went or are going through in your preteen and teen years, others may have dealt with or are currently dealing with thoughts of suicide. Perhaps someone you know is living with those thoughts. Again, know that you are not alone!

Teen suicides are happening. We cannot ignore them. Whether we learn about them on the news or whether someone we know has thought about, committed, or tried to commit suicide, we know that these issues exist. Perhaps some feel ill equipped to change anything. Some may not know where to start or be afraid of saying the wrong thing. In this, you are not alone!

On February 28th from 1pm-4pm in the All Souls Parish Hall, James Kirkham and Alicia Hooton from Seneca Family of Agencies will address some of these topics. They will train the attendees in suicide assessment and prevention. There are ways to detect and prevent youth suicides as a youth and as someone who loves them. There is hope! We do not walk alone, and we can do so much more than wish we could help. Come to the training, and learn how we can walk the path of suicide assessment and prevention together.

Also, if you can bring food, greet, set up, or clean up, please let me know as soon as possible! You can email me at, call at 510-848-1755 ext. 203, or find me on a Sunday morning. We are inviting folks from all over the diocese and will need extra help with hosting this larger crowd. Please RSVP to me by Thursday, February 25th. We won’t turn anyone away the day of, but having the numbers in advance will be very helpful! Feel free to invite friends and neighbors. This training will benefit more than just folks in our diocese.




From the Associate for Ministry Development

The Adult Catechumenate at All Souls

Beginning February 21st Emily Hansen Curran and Madeline Feeley will co-facilitate the eight-week adult Catechumenate class at All Souls. What is a “catechumenate”? Since the early days of the Church, those preparing for Baptism and Confirmation have been called “catechumens” (from the Greek word katekhoumenos, meaning “one being instructed” or “learner”). The word catechumenate refers to a group of catechumens who prepare together as well as to the period of preparation and learning.

Just as we worship in community at All Souls, we also discern and form spiritually in community, supporting, guiding, and encouraging one another along the way. The Catechumenate class at All Souls is designed as a venue for adults who are interested in the rites of Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, or Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows, as well as for those who seek deeper spiritual formation and relationships within our parish community, whether or not they are planning to participate in any of the formal rites of the Church.

In the past, people have asked about the differences between the Catechumenate and the Stories of All Souls class for newcomers. The two classes complement and reinforce each other. In the Catechumenate class, we emphasize experiential reflection and personal spiritual growth. We use scripture, the Book of Common Prayer, and other readings and activities as our tools. The Catechumenate meets on eight Sunday evenings in February, March, and April and participants are asked to commit to attending all eight classes. Stories of All Souls is a Sunday formation hour class in which Fr. Phil discusses church history, the Anglican approach to scripture and authority, Episcopal polity, and the sacraments. Stories of All Souls is scheduled to begin April 3rd and welcomes participants to attend on a drop-in basis.

Emily and Madeline will hold informational meetings for the Catechumenate on February 14th in the Common Room after the 7:30 a.m. service and in the Common Room after the 11:15 a.m. service. The Catechumenate will meet weekly from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Common Room at All Souls and run from February 21 through April 17, with no class on Easter Sunday. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact me ( or Madeline (

– Emily Hansen Curran

Ashby Village Presentation

On Thursday, February 18 at 7:00 pm in the Common Room, representatives from Ashby Village will provide the All Souls community with an introduction to their activities. Ashby Village is “part of a national movement of older Americans taking charge of our future as we age.” One of the goals is to allow older people to continue to live in their own homes by providing help with transportation, household chores and minor repairs, and referrals to nonprofit organizations and to professional providers who can provide in-home assistance.  You can learn more on their website.


Cheer on Cal basketball together
A crew of All Soulsians will be heading to basketball games in a few weeks. Come to Cal Men vs. Oregon State, Saturday February 13th at 3:30pm for $15 per ticket. Email Don Gates to reserve tickets.

New Classes begin this Sunday
Join us at 10:10 on February 14th for the beginning of new Adult Formation classes. The new classes this week are Practices of Stewardship of the Earth with Jesse Tichenor in the Common Room and We Will, with God’s Help with Ruth Meyers in the Parish Hall. Bible Workbench continues, but will be meeting in the chapel. Classes for children and youth continue as well.

Gather your Sacred Hearth
On Tuesday evening, many of us started making Sacred Hearths as a way to practice faith at home, through Lent and beyond. The creations emerging from our time together were beautiful, and each different from the next. Some of the supplies will be available again on Sunday for those who couldn’t make it on Tuesday, along with a guide to help you get started. Look for the table in the courtyard, and stay tuned for ways to help these spaces evolve through the season.

Lenten Series
Join us at 6:30 pm on Wednesday evenings during Lent for a soup supper and our Lenten Series. We’ll begin with a Taizé service on February 17 and continue with “Entering the Seasons of the Soul” for the next four weeks using the liturgical year, art, scripture, and practice, led by the Rev. Suzanne Guthrie. If you are able to help provide soup or bread for one of the suppers, please contact {encode=”” title=”Jeannie Koops-Elson”} or sign up here.

Upcoming Events with the Phoenixes, our 20s and 30s group:
– Saturday February 27, 10:00 – 11:30 am: Brunch and Bible Study in the Parish House (across the parking lot from the church)
– Friday March 4, 7:00 – 8:30 pm: Taizé Service (a time of beautiful meditative music, short prayers, time for silence and reflection, based on the tradition of the Taizé community in France) followed by munchies and conversation in the All Souls chapel (along Cedar St.)
– Saturday March 12, 10:00 – 11:30 am: Brunch and Bible Study in the Parish House.
Email {encode=” ” title=”Erica Clites”} or {encode=” ” title=”Emily Hertz”} to learn more.