Lenten Contemplative Practices

We started off our recent staff Lenten planning meeting as we often do, by asking questions: Why is it important for Christians/Christian congregations to practice Lent? Why right now? What is specific to this moment?

As we tried to put our finger on the pulse of the needs of the congregation and what this particular Lenten season might call for, the conversation suddenly stopped. “You all have to see this,” Dent said as he pointed out the window to where a blush of robins, at least a dozen of them, were busy alighting the bare branches of the birch trees lining the Jordan Courtyard. For a few moments, the usual order of things ceased as we all gazed in wonder at the robins’ arrival. Once we saw them, we couldn’t help but to keep looking. 

Upon reflection, it wasn’t so much the robins themselves that felt significant and instructive, so much as the pause we willingly entered into together. After three years of enduring the pandemic, compounded by the constant threats and overlapping crises in our world and our personal lives, it feels like we’re only beginning to find our feet underneath us. It felt like the robins were an ever-so-subtle invitation to catch our breath, pause, and pay attention. 

Moments like these are so often easy to miss, and not just because we’re living in survival mode. In our spiritual lives, it can be tempting to limit God to the big dramatic arcs of our lives, those epiphanic moments when the clouds and seas part and God’s presence feels all but undeniable. But when we slow down to notice the robins, or recall the simplest moments of joy from our days, when we pay attention to the seemingly minute instances of grace, what accumulates is a picture of a God who is constantly and continuously with us.

The practice of attending to reality is at the heart of contemplation, what Thomas Merton describes as “not trance, ecstasy, nor the sudden unutterable words, nor the imagination of lights. It is not the gift of prophecy nor does it imply the ability to read the secrets of mens’ hearts. Contemplation is no pain killer. It is a spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness and for being. It is an anguish of realizing that we no longer know what God is. It is an intuitive awakening in which our free and personal reality becomes fully alive to its own existential depths, which open out into the mystery of God.”

This Lent at All Souls Parish, we will be collectively practicing this kind of contemplation. As a way to ground us in our senses, we’ll begin our time together with a simple soup meal (beginning at 5:30 in the Parish Hall). A bell will be rung to mark a period of silence towards the end of the meal. We invite you to consider this time of eating in silence its own contemplative practice. 

After the meal, we’ll rearrange the space (also in silence) and then begin a guided prayer period. Each week will feature a new practice facilitated by one of our parishioners. Here’s a preview of what’s to come: 

  • 3/1 Week 1: Walking the Labyrinth 
  • 3/8 Week 2: Intercessory Prayer 
  • 3/15 Week 3: Imaginative Prayer 
  • 3/22 Week 4: Ignatian Examen 
  • 3/29 Week 5: Taize: Song & Silence 

During the contemplative practice, the children will go downstairs to the chapel for practices that are more suitable and don’t involve quite as much silence. At the close of the practice period, the children will reconvene in the Parish Hall and together we’ll sing and worship. A handout will be provided each week so that folks can continue to practice at home in between gatherings (we’ll also make a digital copy available as well for those who are unable to attend the gatherings in person). 

Our hope is that these five weeks of contemplative practice will be a time of deepening in God’s love, together and in the quiet of our own hearts. As we turn inward, letting go of the noise and distractions of everyday life, let us make room for God to move in us during this season of Lent. . 

The journey through Lent towards Easter is one that each of us makes but we don’t walk it alone. We hope to see you at our first Lenten contemplative service on Wednesday, March 1st at 5:30pm in the Parish Hall. 

Annie Rovzar

*A note about the soup suppers: will be doing this  potluck-style (just like Advent). If you are able to help provide soup and/or bread for everyone, please use this form (click here) to sign-up.

From the Vestry

The Annual Meeting launched a busy time for the 2023 Vestry.  At the Annual Meeting, the Parish elected four new members: Michael Lewis, Ryan Greene-Roesel, Grace Telcs, and Mark Wilson.  The new Vestry members gathered with Phil, outgoing Senior Warden Melissa Devereaux, outgoing Junior Warden Irina Wolf Carriere, Jennifer Akiyama, Jill Anderson, and me for an orientation and overview of the current projects of the Vestry.  Two days later, the new Vestry gathered for the first time for the 2023 Vestry Retreat.  Although we were unable to go out of town for our retreat, we were able to be offsite, enjoying a wonderful evening together at the home of Nathan and Caitlyn Brostrom and spending two sessions in meetings at St. Clement’s.

The Vestry met on February 5, 2023, for the first scheduled meeting of the new Vestry cycle.  The newly configured Vestry established five goals for the Vestry to address in the coming year.  In 2023, the Vestry will

  • Support the implementation of the Living Waters Capital Projects and the Isaiah Project;
  • Support the health of our Finance ministry and procedures;
    Develop a strategic staffing plan;
  • Revitalize the experience of Worshiping together; and
  • Develop a communications strategy and action plan. 

I am delighted to share that Nydia MacGregor was called by the Vestry to be Junior Warden and Shawn Adderly, Jill Anderson and Ryan Greene-Roesel were called to be Chaplains to the Vestry for the coming year. 

The new Vestry is full of hope, enthusiasm, and ideas for the year to come. I believe I speak for all of us when I say we are eager to take up the work of discerning how best to support our beloved All Souls.

–Sarah Kern

Meet Our New Seminarian

Hello! I’m Jack Belloli, and I’m really looking forward to joining in the corporate life of All Souls between now and Palm Sunday. I’m coming to you from Ripon College Cuddesdon, a seminary located outside Oxford which has had a long tradition of exchanges with CDSP. I’m here as part of the final stages of my training for ordained ministry in the Church of England: God willing, I will be ordained in Southwark Cathedral on 24th June and will “serve my title” (as we call it!) in a suburban parish on Wimbledon Common in south London, fairly near where I grew up. 

I spent a year in Boston as a Kennedy Memorial Scholar a decade ago, and brief encounters with the Episcopal Church there are part of what shaped my journey away from the Roman Catholicism of my youth as I discerned a call to priesthood. So I’m delighted to have a chance to immerse myself more deeply in week-by-week parish life in your expression of the Anglican tradition, in a context as distinctive as Berkeley, and especially how you form new and continuing disciples.       

Before training, I researched and taught contemporary literature and performance at the University of Cambridge. These are interests I still keep up, and I’m grateful to be in one of the West Coast’s liveliest spaces for experimental poetry – as well as, I’ve already discovered, for hiking and coffee! Please feel free to reach out in person on Sundays, or by email at jack.belloli@rcc.ac.uk.    

Building Bridges Returns – Interfaith Film Screening and Discussion

Sunday, March 5, 2023 • 12 Adar 5783

2:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Prior to the pandemic, members of All Souls began meeting regularly with fellow Berkeley communities Congregation Beth El and St. Paul AME Church. We started with lunches, and over the years have shared ritual and prayer, the building of tiny houses, text discussions and speaker presentations. After many months, we are thrilled to be coming back together again to view and discuss the film Repairing the World: Stories from the Tree of Life.

The film documents Pittsburgh, PA’s powerful community response to hate and antisemitism in the aftermath of the deadly attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in 2018 that killed eleven people. For three years the film follows survivors, families of the victims, diverse community members, students and civic leaders as they examine their vulnerabilities and the impact of rising antisemitism, racism, hate speech and gun violence. Against the backdrop of a tumultuous period in the country, a local community that has faced violence and trauma works to heal and grapple with what it means to be stronger than hate. Click here to view the film trailer.

This event will be mixed presence (Zoom and in-person), with light refreshments available for those attending in person.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 820 7970 1535

Passcode: 436856

Save the Dates

  • February 21, Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday Jambalaya + Pancake Dinner
  • February 22, Ash Wednesday (7a, 12p, & 7:30p)
  • February 26, Catechumenate (Sundays in Lent)
  • March 1, Lenten Contemplative Service + Soup Supper (Wednesdays in Lent)
  • March 5, Breaking Break, Building Bridges Event

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

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, or join them in-person in Phil’s old office, (now called the Shadrach Room).

Common Prayer for the People of God: Past, Present, and Future @10:10a in the Parish Hall or on Zoom (click here).

Since the sixteenth century, Anglicanism has been defined by a Book of Common Prayer. This class will explore the origins of the prayer book, its use today, and its future in light of the actions of General Convention in summer 2022.

  • Feb 5: Prayer Books of the past. We’ll explore the origins of the Book of Common Prayer in 16th-century England and its adaptation for the Episcopal Church when it was formed in 1789.
  • Feb 12: The Book of Common Prayer today. The 1979 Prayer Book marked a distinctive change from earlier books. We’ll consider the reasons for these changes and discuss their significance for us today.
  • Feb 19: Where do we go from here? What changes are needed to continue to foster common prayer? What might a new Prayer Book contain?

Coming up in Adult Formation

Metaphors We Live By taught by the Rev. Michael Lemaire, February 26, March 5, 12, and 19 in the Parish Hall and on Zoom (click here to enter Zoom call). 

Metaphors shape our understanding of the world by describing one thing in terms of another. Metaphors are pervasive in our language but we often miss how they both enrich and limit our understanding. This is especially true when it comes to religious language that seeks to describe a world unseen. In this class, we will explore how metaphors function in our daily communication, how metaphors shape our understanding of ourselves, how Jesus used metaphors and in some ways is himself a metaphor of God, and how metaphors can become idols. The goal of the class is to both liberate and enrich our God talk so that we can better find the needed images and metaphors of God that will serve us through the various seasons of our spiritual life. 

Children, Youth, and Family News

Sunday School This February, we begin a unit about how to be a good friend with some skills adapted from the Stephen Ministry Class that was offered for adults in the fall. This series will be led by Madeline Feeley and Grace Telcs. Class gathers in the courtyard at 10:10am.

Faithful Families there will be no official faithful families in February due to Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, but all families are encouraged to attend the Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday celebration on Tuesday, February 21st!

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

Other News & Notes

Summer Camp

Summer camp for kids & youth are now open at the Bishop’s Ranch! 

Click here to register


  • BREAD Explorers: For campers grades 10-12 — June 25 – 30
  • Intergenerational Camp: For Families of all kinds — July 2-7
  • READ Camp: For Local children grades 4-6 — July 10-14
  • TOAST: For BREAD Alumni 21 years or older —July 14-16
  • BREAD Adventurers: For campers grades 7-9 —July 16-21 or July 23-28*
  • BREAD Discoverers: For campers grades 4-6 — July 16-21 or July 23-28*

*New in 2023! BREAD Adventurers and Discoverers are happening at the same time for the 2 weeks they are offered.

Lenten Contemplative Weekly Services

This Lent, rather than Soup + Story, we’re going to host contemplative services at the church following a soup supper in the Parish Hall. Each week we’ll focus on a different contemplative practice, around prayer, led by different parishioners at All Souls. Each week will also have parallel kids programming so that the entire family is welcome to join! We’ll start into dinner around 5:30 and into the prayer practice at 6:30, ending each night around 7p. More information to come! 

Mardi Gras

Save the date, February 21st, to come eat, drink, party, and pray with us as we kick off Lent this year. We’ll have jambalaya, pancakes, and we’ll burn the palms from last year to make this year’s ashes for Ash Wednesday. There is a cost for this dinner and all the proceeds will go to help fund this year’s high school immersion trip. More details to come.




Wednesday March 1, 7 pm PDT  REGISTER on faithinformed.org/Sacred Earth and in Diocal newsletter. 

Join us for the next episode of Sacred Earth: Growing Beloved Community where leading spiritual teacher John Philip Newel in conversation with Bishop Marc Andrus and Dr. M. Paloma Pavel shares how Celtic spirituality—listening to the sacred around us and inside of us—can help us heal the earth, overcome our conflicts, and reconnect with ourselves.

His latest book, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul: Celtic Wisdom for  Reawakening to What our Souls Know and Healing the World, reflects on the long, hidden tradition of Celtic Christianity. He explains how this earth-based spirituality can help us rediscover the natural rhythms of life and deepen our spiritual connection with God, with each other, and with the earth. Celtic Christianity’s leading practitioners, both saints and pioneers of faith.

He accomplishes this work through sacred pilgrimage to Iona along the Western Isles of Scotland and through embodied learning in his School of Earth and Soul. The purpose of this three year program is to reawaken awareness of the sacred in all things and to help translate this awareness into compassionate action.

Canadian by birth, and a citizen also of Scotland, he resides with his family in Edinburgh and works on both sides of the Atlantic. His PhD is from the University of Edinburgh and he has authored over fifteen books, including A New Ancient Harmony, Sounds of the Eternal, The Rebirthing of God. His latest award-winning publication, Sacred Earth Sacred Soul, was the 2022 Gold Winner of the Nautilus Book Award for Spirituality and Religious Thought of the West. We welcome this scholar/bard to our series sharin wisdom and embodied practice.

Each episode of Sacred Earth includes music and a spiritual practice as well as evocative teaching with a chosen leader. We welcome you to our series. Register now.  And in the spirit of Growing Beloved Community we invite “Each one bring one”. Learn more about this teams of two practice (see attached) and help grow our community of contemplation and action. 

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

Flowers on Sundays at Church

If you are interested in dedicating the flowers in the Church on Sunday mornings to a loved one or a particular remembrance, please fill out this form and indicate which day you would like to contribute the flowers and what you would like the dedication to say. The dedication will appear in our announcement sheet on the Sunday you have selected. The suggested contribution for flowers is $75, which can be paid to All Souls either electronically or by check (see the giving page on our website for more information there), and be sure to write in “flowers” in the memo line.

Please contact Maggie Cooke for any questions, dmcooke92@comcast.net.

It’s a New Year: Please Check Your Pledge Mechanics!   

Here’s your Stewardship chair checking in about making our pledges a reality. January is a good time for each of us to ensure that we’ve begun to fulfill our pledge amounts for the coming year.  During last fall’s pledge campaign, many people pledge a new total for 2023.  Now is the time to adjust your giving to your 2023 pledge. 

If you contribute via autopay from a financial institution, please review your account activity for this month to ensure that withdrawals from your account align with your 2023 pledge intention.  Checking now will keep you on track to your 2023 pledge total.  If you have any questions about autopay or the amount you pledged for 2023, please contact our Giving Secretary Maggie Cooke at dmcooke92@comcast.net.  

Thank you for all that you give and all that you do!  Deirdre Nurre, Stewardship Committee Chair