2220 Cedar Street, Berkeley, California 94709

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From our College for Congregational Development Team

You are warmly invited…

ccd team

Something amazing happened for one of us at a staff meeting today: we listened instead of talking over each other. We heard each other in new ways, we shared openly and respectfully, we found areas of agreement which opened us to empathy. And for all of those reasons, it felt unusual and a little miraculous. What if every meeting could be this way?

Jesus didn’t convene the Disciples in a boardroom at two o’clock sharp, agenda in hand, and facilitate discussions of healings. But his life revolved around relational encounters and he had a lot on his to-do list. Sound familiar? Whether you engage with groups of co-workers, family members, classmates or fellow All Soulsians, you probably wonder: How can these gatherings be more fruitful and inspiring? How can I be true to my call and faith while engaged in these settings? How do I lead the things I am called to do? What would Jesus do?

As Christians, we bring core values of love and respect to every meeting; every person is made and loved by God and his/her/their opinions matter. But in order to live these values, especially in the face of competing interests – other people and agendas, the marketplace, the world – we need tools and an undergirding of spiritual support.

And so, you are warmly invited, to attend one, two or all three workshops on “The Skills You Need,” offered this spring on life, love and working well with groups.

We all work with groups; in our families, in school, at work, as volunteers, in church. And we are called in and as a community, to be the Body of Christ together. The admonition to be “the hands and  heart of Christ in the world,” might inspire us to work together to achieve a common goal, but it does not make our path conflict-free. Sometimes Paul’s detailed description in 1st Corinthians of the faith community as argumentative body parts could make us giggle….except it points to such an important principle of how the very diversity which might trigger misunderstandings is, in fact, essential to the well being of the whole body:

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.  If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body.  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”” (1st Cor 12:17-21)

The Skills You Need offers some ways to identify how the particular groups of which we are part are working together, and how we can work together more effectively. The discussions are being led by All Soulsians who are being or have been trained at the College for Congregational Development (CCD). In fact, last fall we conducted a survey of ten staff or members of All Souls who have completed the CCD training to identify the particular skills and models of community process which might be most important for All Souls to focus on together.

In this course we will explore what inspires us as leaders (each time) along with: tools for how to assess the way our particular group is functioning (March 18); some of the group dynamics that make shared efforts fruitful – or not (April 15); and honing some of our own facilitation skills (May 20th).

Each workshop in the Parish Hall offers lunch and spiritual nourishment at 1:00 pm followed by learning about two different tools on the topic of the day. Workshops end at 3:30. Pre-registration is required (available online here) by noon on the Wednesday before each training so that we can provide the food, childcare, and other tools needed for the day. We’d love you to be with us for all three events, but if you can only participate in one or two we understand.

If you have questions, please contact the coordinators of this series: Madeline Feeley (mfeeley@pacbell.net) , Emily Hansen Curran (emily@allsoulsparish.org) , and the Rev. Marguerite Judson (RevMJudson@gmail.com) .

We look forward to working together with you and to celebrating the unique skills and perspectives we each bring to build up the Body of Christ in the various communities in which we are knit.

– Madeline, Marguerite, and Emily

A New Practice of Healing Prayer

nikky wood“With the oil on my forehead… it was almost as if I could feel the prayer in my body.” Last Sunday, a group of healing ministers met for conversation and training. The team prayed for and anointed one another, and then reflected on the experience. We are taking on a new practice at All Souls – having the oil present in a cruet (a glass pitcher) and pouring some into a bowl, then dipping our thumb into the bowl to anoint those who wish to receive it. This blessed oil has always been present and available at the healing altar, but in small metal oil stocks which did not allow the oil itself to be visible. “I am struck by actually seeing the oil there,” the comments continued. “It’s so clear, what it is we’re using.” “It looks so abundant!”

Abundant, indeed. A rich symbol of God’s abundant grace. Human beings encounter God and one another always through our bodies, and it is often helpful to have tangible reminders of this grace and love. Sometimes, what we need goes beyond words. Being prayed for in a way that engages our senses can allow for a deeper kind or another way of knowing.

Each of us suffers, at one time or another, in mind, body, or spirit. Each of us needs spiritual companions who will bear our burdens to God and remind us of God’s presence with us. I encourage you to seek out those All Soulsians who are waiting to pray with you or for you. We will be at the healing altar (in the back on the courtyard side) during Communion at both the 9 and 11:15 services on Sundays. We will pray, anoint you if you desire, and will hold in confidence what is shared.

If you feel moved to join this ministry, please keep a lookout here for the date of the next training or be in touch and I will add your name to the list!

I pray that you may know an overflowing of God’s healing, strength, and comfort.

In Christ’s peace,
Nikky Wood

WELCOMING NEW MEMBERS

anne cadigan

In December, we welcomed 24 new members into the All Souls family. Today and in the coming weeks, we’ll hear from many of them.

Anne is not a stranger to the Episcopal church with several generations of clergy in the family. Anne was born in South Africa, grew up in Connecticut and moved to California almost 30 years ago. Today she leads a creative team for a commercial real estate firm and has her own Feng Shui practice. She is a huge nature and animal lover and also loves to sing. Anne recently moved back to the East Bay from Marin where she had lived for the past 8 years. She lives in Kensington with her dog Frankie.

Humans of Lent

lenten touchstoneLent is a season of contemplation, spiritual growth, vulnerability, and intentional practices in our preparation for the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This Lenten season, you are invited to dig deeper into our commitment with each other as we share personal reflections of Lent and Holy Week in a series titled “Humans of Lent.” This series will be in the same format of a photo and a statement like the blog, Humans of New York. Our hope is that this project will facilitate a stronger sense of community through the sharing of wisdom, accountability, and support in our Lenten practices and preparation for Christ’s death and resurrection. We’ll share the photos and responses on our Facebook page, website, and on a bulletin board.

Every member of All Souls Parish is welcome to participate in this project. If you would like to contribute a statement comprised a word, sentence, or paragraph, please consider the following prompts:
– What does Lent mean to you?
– What are your Lenten practices and why?
– It is halfway through Lent, how have your Lenten practices affected your faith?
– How does All Souls serve you in helping prepare for and understand the mystery of the Resurrection?
– What is the significance of Holy Week to you?
– It is Easter; where is your hope in the Resurrection?
– How has your membership in the Episcopal Church influenced your Lenten practice and spirituality?
– Why do you show up on Ash Wednesday/Holy Week? How has it changed you?
– With whom do you keep Lent? How do you walk it together?

To become involved with “Humans of Lent,” please contact our seminarian, Alison Fischer, through private message via the All Souls facebook page or her personal facebook. Alison’s contact information is also available in the church directory.

POET CHRISTIAN WIMAN IS COMING MARCH 9TH AND 10TH!

ASP-WimanFlyer-Final

Yes, Christian Wiman is coming Friday night in conversation with poet and theologian Marvin White at First Congregational Church (you can buy tickets online here). But then, Saturday morning at 10:30a, he’ll be with us here at All Souls in conversation with poet and UCC minister Nate Klug. Emily’s recommendation? Go to both. You won’t regret it.

Saturday’s conversation will be intimate and will focus more on poems and digging deeper into our lives of faith. It is a continued conversation from Friday night, there might be some repeated things, but it will certainly build from the Friday night event. Moreover, Mr. Wiman is preparing an assignment for us all. There will be a $5 suggested donation at the door. Advanced tickets will not be available. See Emily Hansen Curran for more information.

COMING UP IN ADULT FORMATION

Meeting February 25, March 4 & 11

Intercessory Prayer: The Shape of Our Relationship with God, Ourselves, and Others, with the Rev. Michael Lemaire in the Parish Hall
Praying for others is a fundamental practice of the Christian Community. We share the needs of the world, our community, and ourselves as well as praying specifically for named others in our services and in our personal prayers. We are asked to pray for others and ask others to pray for us. In this class we will explore the language, imagination, and metaphors that inform intercessory prayer and consider how our practice shapes our understanding of God, God’s action and involvement in the world, and our relationship to God and one another. What am I saying about God when I ask for intercession? How do I come to terms with the absolute endorsements of scripture to ask and it will be given? How is my faith manifested or circumscribed by what I pray for? Does it make a difference how I ask for something? Are there things I should not ask for? I have more questions than answers and this class is more inquiry than solution but I invite anyone who is interested in these kinds of questions to join me.

Journey to All Souls: Why We Came and Why We Stayed, with Emily Hansen Curran in the Common Room
In this group we’ll hear the faith stories of All Soulsians, new and old. We’ll also spend time telling our own stories, about our own spiritual journeys, and what has kept us journeying here in community at All Souls.

GODLY PLAY TRAINING

Godly Play forms the bedrock of our approach to Christian formation with kids, and it’s central to our trust that kids already have spiritual lives, are wondering about the world, and simply need stories and language to support that work. This spring, trainers from the Godly Play Foundation will be coming to offer the training for new storytellers right here at All Souls. The training is a three-part series meeting March 3, April 21 and May 5, but you can also go to just one or two. If you’ve been curious about Godly Play and are ready to learn more, talk to Liz!

SUMMER BOOK NOMINATIONS

Nominate a book for our parish-wide summer book group! Find the nomination slips and the jar on the Cedar side counter in the Narthex, and in the chapel (for the 7:30 service goers), or online here.