From the Stewardship Team
Working in my garden brings me deep contentment and peace. Gardening is a way for me to get close to the earth, to produce food for my family, to have every one of my senses engaged, and to be part of the beauty and abundance of creation. Gardening also has the potential for great disappointment. I am engaged in an ongoing struggle against gophers, squirrels, snails, and slugs, not to mention hail, drought, extreme heat, and frost. Sometimes I get so caught up worrying about whether I planted the right seeds, whether the garden is producing enough of the right things, or what has been consumed by the various pests, that I miss out on the joy that comes from the creative activity of gardening and the harvest of what is rather than what I think should be.
In the fall of 2015 the Stewardship Team picked “Sow in Faith; Reap in Joy” as the theme for our annual pledge campaign. We saw this as a metaphor not only for individual pledges, but also for our work. You may have noticed that this year our pledge campaign did not focus on generating a specific dollar amount or a percent increase in giving. This was intentional; we wanted to shift our pledge campaign to focus on prayerful responses to God’s abundance rather than on meeting a budget target. This is a new approach for All Souls pledge campaigns, and at times it felt quite risky. We also asked each of you to consider making a pledge that is a specific percent of your income – what we call proportional giving. This is a practice that members of the stewardship team have experienced as a life-giving. Although we were committed to these changes, it was sometimes challenging to remain confident that sowing these particular seeds would indeed produce joy in the harvest.
I cannot report on the congregation’s experience of the pledge campaign, although I have heard anecdotes about how different it felt from past campaigns. What I can share is the congregation’s response through the campaign results as of January 10, 2016.
• A total of 164 adults or households and 7 children/youth made financial pledges.
• Five children/youth renewed their commitment to service in the church and two pledged to participate in new ways.
• Thirty-two individuals or households determined how much to pledge by making a proportional pledge.
• The average adult pledge for 2016 is just over $3,000 and the average pledge by children and youth is $30.
This faithful participation in the spiritual practice of giving is certainly something to feel joyful about. The overall campaign results and distribution of pledges are shown below.
We are a congregation that is rich in resources, often categorized as time, talent, and treasure. Our annual pledge campaign is a time of year when each of us is asked to consider how we will respond to God’s generosity by giving of ourselves and of our financial resources to strengthen the ministry of the church. I believe there is much more we are called to bring forward in faith and that there is joy abundant to reap when we do. The table below is one way of imaging the possibilities.
In gratitude and hope,
The Priestly Ordination of Reed Loy
It is my bewildering joy to write to you from Portland, ME and notice all that I have been a part of and known in you these past years. Your nurture, trust and vulnerability are a light to the world, and continue to shine in my heart thanks to my “extended exposure.” Linden, I know, echoes this sentiment. We are still grieving our departure, but alongside that we are finding joy in sharing the spirit, music, liturgy and ministry wonders of All Souls with the wider Body of Christ.
I am serving now at a pair of churches in and near Portland, and Linden has been brought on as the first ever staff educator for a local land trust. She has of course jumped into music at our churches as well! We also anticipate (with a host of emotions!) the arrival of a child in April!
And particularly today, I write to invite your participation in my upcoming ordination to the priesthood! This being planned to happen in Cape Elizabeth, ME, I realize it’s a bit of a drive for you, but I also take seriously the words of the invitation that your, “prayers and presence are requested.” I will certainly be in a spirit to receive prayers from far and wide, so do send them along!
I look forward to that day when I will worship alongside you again in body as well as spirit. Our fullhearted love is with you.
Welcoming New Members
In December, we welcomed new members into the All Souls family. Today and in the coming weeks, we’ll hear from many of them.
Originally from rural Wisconsin, I live in Oakland and work for a nonprofit organization serving gay, bisexual, and transgender men in San Francisco. When not working, I enjoy gender-neutral contra dancing, quiet times with friends, watching documentaries on Netflix, and occasionally traveling with my backpack in Europe. I was raised Lutheran, and in college I had a powerful experience of the Episcopal Way through a campus chaplaincy and co-op where I lived. This past year, after living life apart from the church for twenty years, I felt drawn to reconnect with my faith tradition, and for me the Episcopal Church has become the place that feels like my true spiritual home. I look forward to getting to know you all better as we continue our spiritual journey together.
– Bob Holum
How can we keep from singing?
Hear ye, hear ye, musical friends! Perhaps you sing in the car, or in the shower. Maybe you play a fantastic air guitar, and are ready to up your game. Your parish musicians invite you to join in the fun! Though Christopher is away on sabbatical, we continue apace: learning new music, delighting in old familiar tunes, leading this wonderful aspect of worship, and simply sharing in good fellowship together. We would love to have your presence among us. If you’re interested in learning more, connect with Carol Terry, Joe Rosenmayer, or Ed Hofmann, who are leading the Angel Band and Parish Choir in Christopher’s absence, or Katie McGonigal, who directs the Hearts on Fire Gospel Choir. In the meantime, here are some answers to likely questions…
Could you help me pray twice?
Yes! This is what happens when you sing.
Do I need to read music?
For the Angel Band, no! Use your ears! For the more traditional Anglican music, learning to read music would be an added bonus for you.
What about an instrument?
If you secretly play one, (or want to learn) fantastic! If not, your voice alone would be a gift.
Do I need to come to both Sunday services?
No! Some do, some don’t… do what makes sense for you.
How? When? Where?
Try coming to rehearsal with us on Wednesdays in the sanctuary, from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. No pressure, just come! Learn! Sing!
You’re Invited to the Faith Rooted Organizing Training
This training on January 30th will help you to connect the deep wells of our faith traditions to organizing for social justice issues that are close to our hearts. Faith leaders are the moral voice of our communities. Much of our policy work results in small wins because some elected officials do not recognize any sort of spiritual mandate to stand on the side of people in need of housing, a living wage and immigrant rights.
This full-day training will offer you tangible skills around organizing, and will help you to tap your own deep motivations and visions. This training has proven transformative to the veteran and novice social justice advocate alike. It is a great way energize others in your congregation and help build a common framework and ethos among your colleagues and fellow congregants. Come and learn how your faith can have a tangible and long lasting impact on the communities that we are called to serve!
When: Saturday, January 30, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
Where: Chinese Community United Methodist Church, 321 8th St. Oakland.
Cost:10 – $20 requested (for scholarship email firstname.lastname@example.org, no one will be turned away for lack of funds!)
To register, please visit: http://bit.ly/1OZIuIr
Sponsored by: Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy, EBHO, and Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.
For more information, please email Kristi@workingeastbay.org or call 510-893-7106 x 314
High School Immersion Trip – July 31-Aug 9
9th to 12th grade graduates are invited to join other high schoolers from around the Bay on a trip to the Seattle area where we will offer relief work to those affected by the fires. The deadline to register is March 31st and the deposit is $250 deposit. We will all fundraise to cover the remaining costs. There is a mandatory meeting for the trip on April 17th from 2pm-4pm at St. Stephen’s, Orinda. For more information contact Jess Powell.
Please bring back Advent wreath forms!
We would be most appreciative if you would bring your metal Advent wreath form back and drop it off in the basket in the narthex. They are not cheap, and this way we’ll have them all ready to go for next year. Thank you!
January 17th, come to summer camp!
Well, almost. We’ll be hosting Camp Sunday at All Souls. Sean Swift, executive director of the Bishop’s Ranch will be preaching, and Ardath Dixon, summer camp director, will be leading camp activities (with s’more making!) during formation hour for the 4th-5th graders and youth. Ardath and Sean will be available throughout the morning to talk with folks about camp and share information about registering for summer youth and family camps.
Listening for a change: sacred conversations for racial justice
Join All Soulsians for the Trinity Wall Street annual theological conference, a satellite webcast with local discussion and engagment. The conversations will provide opportunities to talk skillfully about charged issues with people who might have differing perspectives. We will learn more about the racial issues of our time, including structural racism, mass incarceration, and policy change. Read descriptions of speakers and presentations here.
Date: January 23, 2016, 7:30am – 7:30pm (with lunch & dinner)
Location: CDSP, 2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley
Registration: https://ssl.charityweb.net/cdsp/event/trinity2016.htm or call 510.204.0700
Cost: $50 standard, $40 GTU student, $25 CDSP student
Presenters: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Nicholas Kristof, Anna Deavere Smith, Michele Norris, Emilie Townes and others
Cheer on Cal basketball together
A crew of All Soulsians will be heading to basketball games in a few weeks. Come to Cal Women vs. Washington, Sunday January 31st at 2pm, $6 (chairbacks!), and Cal Men vs. Oregon State, Saturday February 13th at 3:30pm for $15 per ticket. Email Don Gates to reserve tickets.