From the Rector
Signs of Life
Something at All Souls is starting to shift. This past Sunday we had the greatest number of people at our Sunday services since February of 2020. The 9a service felt full and the 11:15a as well. Between the 9a and 11:15a services the energy was spilling out from all around the campus–– Toni Martinez Borgfeldt and Jenn Ying were leading kids and parents in song in the courtyard, around forty adults were deeply engaged in Dr. Scott MacDougall’s class, “Evil and Suffering,” the Very Rev. Peggy Patterson, Tom Varghese, and Elena Ramirez led a powerful small group in the Common Room around faith and solitude, there was a lively bible study about John’s use of the Lamb of God in the Shadrach Room, several youth ate donuts and wrote stories in the Fiery Furnace Room, four of our youth were in Maggie’s office discerning their path to confirmation, and members of the Angel Band were singing their hearts out in the nave––this past Sunday All Souls Parish was alive!
I realize that we are not done with Covid yet, or I should say that Covid is not yet done with us. And I also know that we will never go back to who we were in February of 2020––we couldn’t if we tried. (and sometimes we do) But it does feel like right now something not quite perceptible is slowly and surely shifting. There are signs of life and growth, tender buds where there haven’t been many in a couple of years.
We’ve seen it in the new people among us––we’ve received more newcomers in the past month than we’ve had in the last year. Young families are coming to see if this is a community that they might grow in. In fact, all kinds of people are feeling more comfortable walking across our threshold to worship and pray and learn and serve. Some All Soulsians have returned to the corner of Cedar and Spruce for the first time in a couple of years, and the homecomings have been joyous.
I know that past performance does not equal future results. One Sunday does not mean that everything will be as it was this past week. And, I have hope that the buds that we experienced this past Sunday––new life, deep roots, important questions, familiar songs––all of these are signs of life of what is to come, that the horizon we have been waiting for, praying for, is closer than we might think.
From the Vestry Nominating Committee
2023 Vestry Nominees
The Vestry Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the slate of nominees to be considered for election at this year’s Annual Meeting: Ryan Greene-Roesel, Michael Lewis, Grace Telcs, and Mark Wilson. I hope you will take some time to get to know each of them by reading their introductory statements below. In creating this slate, the Nominating Committee sought a diverse mix of new voices and long-time parishioners. We also focused on recruiting parents of school-aged children who are actively engaged in Parish life in one way or another. Now that this slate has been announced, we also want to make space for the Holy Spirit to move beyond the Nominating Committee. If you feel a call to serve on the Vestry for the next three years, or would like to nominate someone else to serve, you may do so (get permission from the person you are nominating first) by communicating with Tim Ereneta by next Tuesday, January 17th. If additional nominees meet the criteria for Vestry service, we will announce them in next week’s Pathfinder and have an election at the Annual Meeting on January 29th in which the top four candidates will be seated on the Vestry. If no additional nominations are made, we will vote to approve the Nominating Committee’s slate at the Annual Meeting.
Tim is also taking names for those interested in serving as an Alternate Delegate to the Diocesan Convention and Deanery Delegate (one job). This is a great, and relatively light-lift, way to represent All Souls in the larger Diocese. As an added bonus, at the 2023 Diocesan Convention, you may have a chance to vote for the new Bishop of California! To learn more, or to nominate yourself or someone you love, please contact Tim Ereneta.
I am excited by the opportunity to join the All Souls Vestry where I hope to focus on growing our membership base. After many years singing in the choir, and recently serving on the search committee for a new music director, I feel called to deepen my commitment to the church. Specifically, I would like to better understand barriers to church participation and discover how we might broaden our reach, particularly to the socially isolated. I am an urban transportation planner by training, and currently work at BART, where I lead technology projects to improve the parking payment experience. My job responsibilities also include financial management, property management, contract negotiation, and market research and communications, skills that I believe will be of value to All Souls. I live just a few blocks from church with my husband Ray and two high-energy boys (Raphael, 10 and Phoenix, 11) whom you may have seen romping in the playground, or, in the case of Raphael, asking us all difficult questions during an Advent service. Thank you for considering me for this opportunity and I look forward to serving you all.
I moved to the Bay Area with my now husband over 5 years ago. After my first service at All Souls, it just felt like a place where I not only felt comfortable, but felt like the type of community where I could grow in my faith journey. After joining All Souls, my husband and I adopted our son, George who was baptized at All Souls on Christmas Day of 2021 which was really special for us. Since joining All Souls, I regularly met with the group leaders of Sacred Ground eventually leading to me joining the Racial Justice committee. I have partnered with other committee members to host various Racial Justice programs at All Souls. Last year, I gave a Good Friday reflection, and I participated in Project Sandwich in 2020 which helped to feed unhoused Berkeley citizens. Service in the church is how I grew up, my parents and I were very active in the church when I was growing up in Philadelphia, PA. So when I was approached about joining the Vestry, I sought counsel from my husband and my parents, and this felt like an evolution of another way to serve, so I would like to serve our parish through being an active member of the Vestry.
Hello, All Soulsians. My name is Grace Telcs, and I am grateful for the chance to serve for a second time on the Vestry at All Souls. This year I will have been at All Souls for twenty years, which is hard for me to believe. The Episcopal Church has always figured prominently in my life from serving as an acolyte and attending diocesan youth events as a kid, attending my college Canterbury group, participating in the Episcopal Service Corps as a young adult, to my vocation as a social worker at Episcopal Community Services. When I was new to the Bay Area, I was initially drawn to All Souls by hearing a strong call to social justice from the pulpit, but soon felt this community to be a surrogate family. Over the years I have had many roles in the parish, including chairing the Social Justice and Stewardship committees, participating in the search committee that called Phil to All Souls, serving as Senior Warden, and most recently ushering and teaching Sunday School. I live in Oakland with my husband, Scott, and two children, Peter (age 9), and Rose (age 12), both of whom were baptized here. I find the more I am involved in this community, the more thankful I am to be a part of it, and my faith deepens further. As a Vestry member, I hope to have a part in helping All Souls continue to be a meaningful place for all who are drawn here to feel the inclusive love of God and community.
In 2018, Maria (my wife), Addy (my daughter), and I moved to the East Bay. One Sunday morning, I snuck into the 7:00am service to test the waters. It took only a single service to realize that I had come home. I found a place where the questions one asked about one’s faith were far more important than the answers. Since that time, our family and our relationship with All Souls has grown. Henry (my son) and Addy have been baptized. Our favorite family traditions now include the Easter Vigil, the annual retreat at Bishop’s Ranch, the Advent Festival, and of course the newly minted All Souls Caroling Party (don’t miss this year!). But most important, All Souls has become a place for us to listen to stories filled with meaning and ask the yearning questions. Simply put, All Souls has become a gift in our lives. For this reason, I wish to serve on the Vestry in order to give back to our church family. When I am not asking questions, I’m usually skiing with Addy or watching the Minnesota Vikings with Henry. During the work week, I am an attorney representing Cities, Municipalities, and local governments throughout California.
We are deeply saddened to share that Rev. Joe Pummill has died. He will be remembered for his commitment to the Episcopal Church through many different calls (including one in Hawaii before Hawaii was even a state!) his dedication to the Bishop’s Ranch, his unwavering pursuit of justice and peace and his deep belief that the Church was one way we can participate in those ideals. A service for Joe will be held at All Souls on February 25th at 2:00pm. Until then, please pray for Joe, Doris, and their family and friends, and for this community as we mourn. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
Save the Dates
January 29, Annual Meeting (between the 9 & 11:15 services)
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 (Meeting ID: 811 8105 6561. Passcode: 516358), or join them in-person in Phil’s old office, (now called the Shadrach Room).
- Dr. Scott MacDougall “Contending with Evil and Suffering” This three-session course will struggle with the realities of evil and suffering in a world made by a good and loving Creator who declares it to be “very good.” How can we reconcile all of this? We’ll look at some of the ways Christians have tried to do so over time and consider our own views of these questions, as well.
- January 15: Suffering. Why is there suffering? How are suffering, sin, and death connected, if they are connected? Why would a good God allow suffering? What does Jesus’ suffering on the cross say to us about the role of suffering in Christian discipleship?
- January 22: Meaning. Revisiting some of the questions raised by the first two sessions, we’ll conclude by asked whether meaning can be made out of evil or suffering. If so, what sort of meaning? How can we live Christianly in the face of evil, suffering, and death?
This class will be offered in person and on zoom (click here for Zoom link).
- The Very Rev. Dr. Peggy Patterson “Seasons of Faith in Solitude” (offered in-person only) Are you ready to enter the Season of Epiphany exploring an unexpected blessing…the blessing of Solitude as we enter the third year of the Pandemic? This is the question a recent author, Elizabeth Orens, asked in the Christian Century. In this new year, this Season of Epiphany, how can we cultivate an inner spiritual life with God? How can we live into our own baptism as Jesus did, experience God’s guiding light as the Wise Ones did? And experience our own Epiphany,…opening our hearts to God’s deep presence within us? You are invited to join an Epiphany Community for three Sundays in January to explore the ways God is calling you anew ….
- January 15: Most of us live alone at some time in our lives. How are our spiritual longings affected by our Seasons of Solitude, especially deep grief, divorce, empty nesting, health crises, loss of a child? In these times, how can we cultivate an inner spiritual life with God, inviting God to be our companion on our most difficult journeys.
- January 22: As we follow Jesus into the desert after his Baptism during Epiphany, how does silence, Prayerful Solitude, and facing temptation help us to feel enfolded by God’s love? These Seasons of Solitude offer the quiet to experience the presence of God.
All three weeks will include various introductions and experiences of Prayer which might enrich your Seasons of Solitude: Centering Prayer, Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, The Evening Examen, Compline, Taize Chant, Prayer with Beads: The Anglican Rosary, Walking Meditation in the Labyrinth, Acts of Mercy, Reading the Mystics, especially Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen. We will even have our very own Bethlehem olive wood Anglican Rosaries to begin our Prayerful practice. Start the New Year with a Season of Prayerful Solitude.
Children, Youth, and Family News
Sunday School continues this Sunday, January 15th at 10:10am with our four-week unit on music led by Toni Martinez Borgfeldt and Jenn Ying!
Youth Group No youth group this week due to the MLK Day of Service Overnight at St. Paul’s, Oakland.
Confirm Not Conform continues this Sunday, January 15th at 10:10am in Maggie’s office.
Faithful Families meets Thursday, January 26th from 5:30-7:30pm in their Parish Hall.
Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.
Other News & Notes
This year’s Annual Meeting is on January 29th between the 9 & 11:15 services in the Parish Hall. If you’re able, please bring some small snack (that can be eaten easily during the meeting) to share! The meeting will also be hosted on Zoom for those who cannot make it in person (click here to enter Zoom call).
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.
Sacred Earth: Growing Beloved Community webcast featuring Canticle Farm, Oakland
When: Thursday January 26, 7 p.m.
Anne and Terry Symens-Bucher, Co-Founders of Canticle Farm will be our featured guests in conversation with Bishop Marc Andrus and Dr. M. Paloma Pavel. Canticle Farm in Oakland is an urban garden, educational center, and community of intention experimenting at the intersections of faith-based, social-justice-based, and Earth-based nonviolent activism. As an urban farm, they work for food security, holistic health and food sovereignty through organic gardening, permaculture, herbal medicine and stewardship of their urban oasis. As an intentional community, they live in intergenerational, interracial, and interfaith relationship. As a living classroom, Canticle Farm hosts workshops, retreats, circles and visiting teachers, welcoming people from around the world to grow and learn together.
Anne and Terry were enthusiastically received as retreat leaders at the Clergy Retreat this past fall for the Episcopal Diocese of California. To learn more about their work, please visit www.canticlefarmoakland.org.
More information will be added to the webcast website so check in to see information on this episode as well as view past episodes. Each episode of the Sacred Earth series offers information, inspiration, spiritual practices, and resources for action.
Can we still reach you at the address and email listed in the church directory? If the answer is no, it is time for a refresh! Or has your family changed a bit since your last picture in the directory? If so, please send your updated photos and info to Mardie Becker at email@example.com.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter Talk from the Episcopal Indigenous Ministries
All Episcopalians are invited to register to watch a livestream of Winter Talk, an annual conference that honors and highlights Indigenous and Native American traditions and contributions within the church January 21-23. Hosted by the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, the event includes special greetings and speakers, music, presentations, and more. Watch for the Winter Talk schedule on the Indigenous Ministries webpage.