From the Music Ministry
The Symbol that is Music
Q: How many church musicians does it take to run a church music program?
A: There should be a punch line, but there isn’t one. It takes all of us. That’s what this missive is about.
Some of you may not recognize the back of my head, but I’m Tripp Hudgins and I’m the Interim Interim Music Director Person with Jim Armstrong until Jamie Apgar begins his tenure with us on March 6. It’s been quite a ride since Christopher Putnam retired. Let me tell you a little about it.
Carol Terry and Joe Rosenmayer started pitching in as Christopher’s health flagged. They pooled their experience as church musicians (both have done the job before) and gave of their time and energy to make sure we kept singing, as Phil+ reminds us again and again. It was a great gift. But they were not alone. So many people have been stepping up and singing solos or bringing their instrumental talents to bear to make sure that the parish’s song does not flag. I won’t try to name them all, but as you are able, introduce yourselves to any one of our musicians and thank them for their time. From the Gospel Choir to the Angel Band, the percussionists, and the trumpeters, people have been lending their expertise and their love for All Souls to make sure all went well.
You read about our search process in the annual report (You did, didn’t you?) and know that we had almost 20 applicants and various other inquiries. One of the things I learned in the process was just how many church musicians are looking for an opportunity to do what we do at All Souls. The eclecticism, the involvement of so many people and their gifts, the charism of the parish itself with our focus on doing the work of the Gospel and not just singing about doing it, were all contributing factors for those who applied. The opportunity excited them.
So, now it’s my turn to stand up in front and wave my arms in some musically compelling manner. I have to tell you that it’s an incredible experience.
Part of my doctoral work is the study of how music serves as a kind of symbol, a performed, momentary, and deeply affective symbol of the social relationships embodied in the people making music. Music never stands “on its own” as it were. Each person, the life they represent, contributes to the symbol that is music. We listen to one another as members of the musical groups and as members of the wider parish as an act of love. We sing, you sing, as an act of love…for God, for one another, for music, and for “the least of these.” This theoretical approach has never been more real to me. We are listening for one another and listening for God as an act of love.
Jamie Apgar, our new Associate for Music, will be with us shortly. He’ll be bringing himself, his life, his experiences, his expertise as a musician, and, most importantly, his love to the position. He will be listening to us and we will be listening to him. This act of musicianship in which we all share is an act of love. I, for one, am grateful to be a part of it.
– Tripp Hudgins
From the Associate for Ministry Development
I remember my first Sunday here at All Souls. It was the first Episcopal service I had ever attended and I was simultaneously baffled by all the ritual and stunned by its beauty. There were so many elements that I did not know about – the holy water, the bowing, the crossing oneself, and all these statements and gestures that seemed to come second nature to everyone else. I knew that each of these elements had great meaning, but had no idea how I was supposed to learn their significance.
And that is what the Catechumenate is about.
Each year, during Lent, we offer our Catechumenate course. This is a course designed to prepare adults for Baptism, Confirmation, Reaffirmation, or Reception into the Episcopal Church. While it has these more formal end goals, it is also available to anyone who is curious to know more about the Episcopal tradition, theology, spirituality and practices, and history.
The class will cover a walk-through liturgy, a brief history of the Episcopal church, the Book of Common Prayer and its uses, an Episcopal approach to scripture, where the Episcopal church sits compared to other traditions, the structures of the church, and lastly a bit of Christology, theology, and spiritual practices of the Episcopal church.
All are welcome to join, no matter where you are on your path. We will meet on Sunday evenings from 7:00 – 8:30 pm in the Common Room at church. Our time as a class will culminate in Holy Week, and finally Easter Sunday.
If you are looking for a way to spend Lent that might enlighten your practice or encourage your mind, this is the class for you. Please contact me or Stephan Quarles for more information.
Standing with Foster Youth
To our All Soulsians interested in continuing to find ways to stand together in support of foster youth, we wanted to share with you these updates on the parish Standing with Foster Youth initiative. First, we’d like to announce that we are in the process of forming mentoring teams for foster youth through a partnership with Braid Mission. Second, we want to highlight the accomplishments of our parish initiative in 2016.
Forming Mentoring Teams:
We are partnering with Braid Mission to provide team-based mentoring for foster youth. Each team will consist of three mentors and one facilitator to mentor one foster youth. Working in teams ensures that each foster youth has caring adults who are consistently present in his or her life, even when a mentor is out of town or when unexpected scheduling conflicts occur. Braid’s team setup gives mentors freedom to decide how and when the team can commit to spending time with the youth each week. Mentors are also teammates who support each other as they venture together into the transformative work of mentoring.
The first step in joining a mentoring team is attending a training led by Braid Mission. We will schedule this training sometime in March.
Thank you to everyone who has signed up so far to hear about that training! To be added to that list, please email Christine Trost.
We still need to find a facilitator for each mentoring team, who will help coordinate the team’s weekly activities with the youth’s caregiver, draw the team together monthly to process their joys and challenges as mentors, and generally serve as a chaplain to the team, keeping the grounded and motivated. Team facilitators do not need to have a particular background in ministry or social services, but some experience in managing group dynamics and processing is a big plus. If you are interested in being a facilitator, please contact Christine Trost by email or phone: 510-364-2182.
Highlighting our accomplishments in 2016:
We learned in the Adult Education series: Standing with Foster Youth (May 2016) about the foster care system and the challenges faced by foster youth of all ages. By interacting with youth who have been in the system, our church community has gained a deeper understanding of what it’s like to grow up in foster care and the vulnerabilities of
foster youth as they strive toward adulthood without the kinds of resources that many of us take for granted.
We crafted holiday cards for foster youth who live in a group foster care home through the “Cards of Hope” program by Braid Mission (December 2016)
We launched the new Serving our World page on the All Souls website with a page about Standing with a webpage for the Standing with Foster Youth initiative
We donated $1,000 to California Youth Connection (CYC), a non-profit organization supporting foster youth through a youth led empowerment-based program. CYC works to develops leaders who empower each other and their communities to transform the foster care system through legislative, policy, and practice change. We hope this contribution will help CYC to continue its excellent work to empower and educate foster youth, and to transform the foster care system.
We donated household supplies and gift cards for former foster youth served by First Place for Youth through our Advent Ingathering of donations (December 2016). First Place for Youth helps foster kids build the skills they need to make a successful transition to self-sufficiency and responsible adulthood. The former foster youth receiving our donations will be using these household supplies in their very first apartments.
We thank all of you for your continued generosity in supporting this initiative to make a difference in the lives of foster youth.
– Stacey and Christine
From the Associate for Youth Ministries
Worship services have occasionally reminded me of musical theatre productions. The altar party makes up most of what I have imagined as the cast, along with the lectors, intercessors, and chalice bearers. The musicians make me think of the pit orchestra. The sacristans, ushers, greeters, and sound techs play the roles of the stage crew. The bulletins remind me of programs, complete with a cast list on the back page.
Of course, there are several glaring differences between worship and musicals. First of all, there are no spectators in worship. Every single person in the sanctuary is called to action in some way. There are times to stand if you are able, to speak, to sing, to share the peace, to present offerings, and to eat and drink together. Those sitting in the pews are not audience members. We are active participants in the liturgy.
For several months now, I’ve been talking with parishioners and staff members about starting the Apprenticeship program. The goal is to guide youth into leadership positions other than acolyting during worship. Youth, this provides you a chance to shadow an adult as they participate in one of those roles. Adults, this is a chance for you to work with and teach our amazing youth!
We already have several youth who are sound techs, greeters and ushers, and many who are acolytes. The Apprenticeship program is meant to encourage such types of involvement. Youth, I am grateful for the leadership that you already live into. This is a way for you to continue to match your gifts with roles in worship other than sitting in the pews.
At some point, the youth will age out of youth group and young adult ministry programs. When those opportunities are no longer options, what can they do as parishioners? The Apprenticeship program intends to answer those questions and provide youth a space to experience that now and to help church be a space that they can always call home.
Youth and adults, I invite you to talk with me if you have any questions or would like to get involved in the Apprenticeship program. Remember, we are always active participants in worship. It isn’t a musical production. The question is only what part of the cast that we play.