FROM THE RECTOR
To Take Up, To Put Down
Despite the calendar nearly reading March, we are just now getting ready for Lent. Every year as we come to this week, the week before the start of this season, if I have haven’t chosen the practices that I will take on for the season of Lent, anxiety begins to creep in—what should I fast from? what should I take on? what will be my acts of mercy? which Gospel should I re-enter? which relationships especially need repair? is it too much? is it enough? why again am I doing this?
For the past couple of weeks, in our class, “The Heart of Lent,” Sheryl Fullerton, Emily Hansen Curran, and I have been working through these questions, attempting to dig deeper as we approach this time the Church has set aside for centuries. We’ve been working through these questions because for each of us, at different times, we’ve struggled with them.
Recently I’ve had the mental image of being at the start of a trailhead. It’s a clearing of sorts, and the path stretches out ahead of me before disappearing around a corner. The trail beckons, for days ahead, and I have a decision to make before taking the first step to begin this journey. What will I take up with me for this next stretch? What will I put down for awhile?
At its essence this is what a Lenten rule, or set of practices, is about—taking up and putting down. Yes, we’ve hiked this trail and camped in these clearings before. But as any backpacker or hiker or fisher or hunter knows, the world around us is always changing. It will be different than last we were here. Partly because we ourselves are different every time we re-enter the wilderness.
What are the habits that will slowly, day by day, open your heart to the wilderness that you will be walking through? As you set time and attention aside, what will help you become aware of the Mystery of death and life that surrounds us? How might you participate in the repairing of this fractious world?
Again, this is not about filling the space, or checking the box. This is about the slow work of transformation, the courage to turn a part of ourselves around, the willingness to open our hearts to a truth that will challenge and inspire us. And to do this work alongside people who will love us when our lives miss the mark, and who will love us when our lives make us sing.
And. For those of us who are still unsure, waiting for inspiration to strike about what to pack, because of the changes and chances of the world, there is unexpectedly one more week of our class, this Sunday at 10:15a in the Parish Hall. If you have no idea what your Lenten practices will look like, come listen and learn. If you know what you will be taking up or putting down, come and share.
For all, at some point in the five days ahead, create the time to become still, gather the courage to listen, and prepare your pack for the weeks ahead, as the joy-filled sounds of Mardi Gras are coming closer.
And our path lies ahead.
SHROVE TUESDAY/MARDI GRAS
Feasting! Fellowship! Fundraising! Fire!
All that and more — it’s quite a night. This Tuesday night, March 5th at 6:00 pm, we come together to get ready in one of the best ways we know how with a really great All Soulsified party. Because we can’t quite choose between the traditions of Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday, we do both! We cook up some giant pots of jambalaya (the same recipe we serve each month at our Open Door Dinner), including a vegetarian version, and then also make piles of pancakes, following the British tradition of Shrove Tuesday. It’s a hoot: a packed Parish Hall, kids running amok, beads flying, and general merriment before we slow way down the next day and begin Lent with Ash Wednesday.
After dinner, we’ll all gather in the darkened courtyard to light the fire that will burn last year’s palms from Palm Sunday to make the ashes for the next day, and then also fire the clay touchstone crosses that we’ve been making in recent weeks for people to carry with them through Lent.
Finally, it’s all for a great cause! Tickets are $10 adults /$5 kids / $25 max per family, and the money all goes to support our high schoolers on their immersion trip. This summer they’ll be heading to Dulac, Louisiana, to a community of mostly Native Americans of the Houma tribe. These folks were slowly (sometime in the beginning of the 19th century) pushed south to these swamp lands, where they now live, and which regularly flood. We’ll be staying and working out of a Methodist Community Center, to do housing rehabilitation, and any other work the community might need. Please come out and support our youth!
Soup + Story
It’s time for Lent, which means that it’s time for Soup + Story! In Soup + Story we gather weekly in each others’ homes to study the Bible, share our stories, and eat soup. It’s a great opportunity to get to know other folks, and to be known by other folks in the church. If there is a silver-bullet to getting involved here or diving a little deeper, this is it. The groups meet on different nights during the week, so you get to pick what night works best for you and/or your family. This year we will dive deeper, through images and story, into the lectionary from the previous Sunday and into the sermon that was given on that Sunday. This is meant to be a full-family event, so feel free to bring your kids along (if the group is noted to be kid-friendly!). Any questions? Or need help finding a group that fit you/your family? email Emily, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to sign up!
From Adult Formation
The Heart of Lent – one last session!
This class, helping us to examine and prepare for the ways we want to practice Lent, didn’t meet this past Sunday due to illness. Come to the Parish Hall this Sunday at 10:10 to catch the last session (even if you didn’t make it to the early ones) and get ready for the incredible season ahead.
Then, new classes begin on March 10th at 10:10 am! Check them out:
O, The (Not So?) Wondrous Cross
This course is on a basic symbol of the Christian vocabulary. How can we, as disciples, speak faithfully about the cross? This class will explore the symbol of the cross and its connections to discipleship through the lenses of prayer, social action, and salvation. The class will be taught by our own Dr. Stephan Quarles, who has just completed a PhD in theology at the Graduate Theological Union.
Eros and Eucharist for Easter: Setting the Table with Transformative Love
If “God is love” is God also “Eros”? Can erotic desire deepen Christian meanings of love? Do contemporary notions of eroticism make any difference in how we read biblical texts and Christian traditions? What is love? What is the erotic? How might these questions frame the Eucharistic table on our Lenten journey toward Easter? This Lenten series will explore the role of erotic desire in patterns of spiritual formation, especially in our shared calling to the work of social change and transformation.
The class will be taught by the Rev. Dr. Jay Emerson Johnson, who is an Episcopal priest and Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at the Pacific School of Religion and a core faculty member of the Graduate Theological Union. His area of research and writing includes the intersections of critical social theory (especially queer theory) and Christian theological traditions, theological anthropology and Christian eschatology, and multimedia/pop-cultural influences on constructive theology. Jay is the author of Dancing with God: Anglican Christianity and the Practice of Hope, Divine Communion: A Eucharistic Theology of Sexual Intimacy, and Peculiar Faith: Queer Theology for Christian Witness.
Services at 7:00 am, 12 noon, & 7:30 pm
Come together to begin Lent on Wednesday, March 6. Services are at 7:00 am in the chapel, and at noon and 7:30 pm in the sanctuary. The morning service is simple and spoken. The midday service is simple as well, but includes some music, and the evening service includes full choral music. We’ll be sharing the imposition of ashes, a reminder that we are mortal and belong to God, at all three services.
ALE SOULS BEER BREWING
The next brew is happening this coming Sunday after the 11:15 service in the kitchen. Our own Laura Altieri is master brewer for what will be our Easter beer this year (opened at the Easter Vigil). Come help think of creative names and hang out while we brew!
CENTERING PRAYER FOR SOCIAL ACTION
Please join the Justice and Peace Committee this Monday, March 4th, for Centering Prayer. We meet on the first and third Mondays of every month from 7:30 – 8:30 pm. We hope that everyone in need of a restorative contemplative practice will join us! See Sarah Bakker Kellogg or Terry Trotter for more information.
CAMP ALL SOULS – Register now!
This summer we are bringing back Camp All Souls, a week-long day camp for kids to adventure, connect, explore, learn, play, create, question and more, all right here at All Souls. This year the camp will be August 12 – 16. It runs from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and is for kids ages 5 to 11, who have completed kindergarten through fifth grade. Cost is $150, and scholarships are available. Once again, we will be welcoming middle and high school students to help lead the week, as well as adults who want to pitch in – it is a whole community affair! You can learn more and register online here or pick up a paper registration form in the narthex.
Last chance to sign up!
Have you wondered about the Episcopal church? Wonder no more! For the five weeks in Lent, starting March 10th, on Sunday evenings, we’ll host this introductory course. In it we’ll explore the whys, hows, and whats of the Episcopal church. If you are looking to get Baptized, Confirmed, Received, or Reaffirmed in the church, this is the course for you. Or, if you’re just looking to learn more about this Episcopal tradition, this is also the course for you. Written by our own Stephan Quarles and Emily Hansen Curran with help from a fellow Episcopalian, Andrew Lee, this course is meant to deepen our faith, our practice, and our relationships. All are welcome. See Emily, email@example.com, for more information.