FROM THE RECTOR
Recently I was asked by a member of this parish if they could vote in this Sunday’s Annual Meeting (10:15am, Parish Hall) by absentee ballot. Like many parishioners who work in hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants and other establishments that are open on Sundays, they have to be at work while we are meeting, but wanted to be able to participate in this particular way of the communal life of the parish.
The answer, as it turns out, is no. This being the Episcopal Church, an organization that prizes order, there is a rule about this. Our diocesan canons, in Section 11 about parishes, state the following, “No person shall be entitled to more than one vote or to vote by proxy or absentee ballot.”
Now, there are likely many reasons why rules like this exist. In my experience in general, humans seem to make rules after we feel that something has gone awry. And since elections are inherently political processes, my guess is that somewhere along the way, a remarkably intense Vestry election must have involved Chicago-style (or, more recently, North Carolina-style) voting.
And, I also choose to believe that there are more positive reasons behind the desire for all of the people weighing in on a corporate decision to physically be present in the room together. And I believe that one of them might have to do with conspiration.
Conspiration, you might ask, what and why? First, the what. Conspiration actually has at least two meanings. One is to meet together secretly to plot, which definitely has a history in the Christian church, though not one I’d like for us to draw upon. The second is to meet together jointly to a particular end, which is closer to what we are going to be doing on Sunday morning. But there’s something more.
The reason why conspiration (and its cousin conspiracy) have negative connotations can be seen in the roots of the word, con + spire, quite literally to breathe together. If you are conspiring with another person, you are meeting so closely together (think small, darkened room for fear of being seen) that you breathe the same breath.
I think that this is actually why the Episcopal Church has a rule mandating that anyone who wishes to cast a vote in an election for leadership must be in the same room. Because the work of the body is best done when people are present, with each other, breathing together. And given the number of people who come together in the Parish Hall for our Annual Meetings, we are often sharing the same air.
It’s why communal singing can be so powerful, as one thing that singing a piece of music with a group of people forces you to do is to breathe together, to become aware of one another. Similarly, these are decisions that best undertaken in each other’s presence, paying attention to the needs, hopes, and desires of the many members of the body.
So come. Join us on Sunday at 10:15a in the Parish. Listen as the stories of All Soulsians from 1969 and 1994 are told. Hear the stories of All Souls Parish from this past year. And discern who will lead us into the years to come. Come and breathe together.
FROM THE JUNIOR WARDEN
January 16, 2019 brought some treacherous weather. The day of the week – “Winds-day.” Two of your Vestry attended by speakerphone (not to be confused with “phoning it in”) and FaceTime because the weather posed problems. But we had a quorum and Senior Warden Bob Holum called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m. Chaplain Laura Eberly offered The Wedding at Cana for scriptural reflection. You remember when Mary told her son there was no more wine, she knew perfectly well He could rectify the situation, but Jesus said no. I had not realized until Laura put it forth that Jesus was bullied into his first miracle by his mother who turned to the servants and just said, “Do what He tells you.” How many of us realize our inner strength only after someone else sees it from the outside? When have you felt unqualified for a task or not up to a challenge presented to you only to find out you were indeed able to deftly pull it off? Others often recognize our qualities before we do, and we are challenged to look within and recognize the gifts we have to offer and then muster the courage to act on them. We offered our many and varied experiences when others had faith in our abilities before we did.
Ed Hahn gave us a progress report on the Parish House project, and shared that the project remains on track. He went on to summarize the funds that are promised from the City of Berkeley and the County of Alameda, as well as applications that are awaiting decision. When our funding is in place, only then can we apply for tax credits. The application for the tax credits could possibly happen in the fall, hopefully finishing in October. It was a busy and exciting 2018, and Ed offered the Parish House Proposal Group’s thanks to the Vestry for being thoughtful and articulate in our working with them. It is obvious the admiration flows in the other direction as we applauded the committee’s tireless commitment to this project. Remember, our PHPG is an award winning body, having garnered the Rector’s Cross just a year ago. They continue to exceed all expectations.
Fr. Phil’s Rectors Report touched on staffing issues, attendance, and giving. Two of our beloved staff are expectant parents, and preparations are ongoing to accommodate Nettie Pinell’s parental leave likely to start at the beginning of March, and Emily Hansen Curran’s parental leave estimated to start mid-May. I expect both infants will be in contention for the coveted role of Baby Jesus in the Nativity Pageant.
Average Sunday Attendance was 250 in 2018, down a bit from 2017. Some explanation is clear: we saw more of our elders leave us in 2018 than in the ten years prior. For some younger members and families, economic impacts were likely a driving force. We are able to track a significant increase in attendance to the 2016 election, both leading up to it, and for a full year afterwards before that increase began to wane. In challenging times we search for a new equilibrium, deciphering along the way what is going on and how we fit in.
The Stewardship Campaign for 2019 was the most fruitful in decades, and 2018 ended with income having met pledged numbers. We tend to give to what we are invested in, and by clear and honest illustration of the numbers we face in budgeting our expenses and our many ministries, the Stewardship Team received a response from the Parish that revealed trust, grace and generosity. If this pattern continues, we are hopeful of a balanced budget in 2020.
The January meeting traditionally draws to a close with the outgoing class of Vestry members offering thoughts on their three years hopes for the new vestry members. Bo Burlingham, Ivor Emmanuel, Rebecca Whitney, and I reflected on our time, and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say we are both proud and honored to have served, and we will pay close attention to events in 2019 that inspire this community. Personally, I participate more when I understand and I understand more when I participate. It’s been a pleasure to serve as Junior Warden, and to share these meeting reflections. Happy New Year to all souls at All Souls and beyond.
— Maggie Cooke
From Bishop Marc
Letter to the Diocese of California from Bishop Marc Andrus
Dear friends in Christ,
This past summer, at our General Convention in Austin, Texas, the Episcopal Church took some historic and much-needed steps in addressing past abuses by clergy toward lay persons and toward other clergy in the Church. For far too long there has been too much silence, and often misdirection, when people were brave enough to bring such allegations forward. I am writing this letter, and asking that it be read in every congregation on Sunday January 20th and/or January 27th, in order to make you aware of the implementation of one specific resolution from General Convention, namely, D034, which called for the lifting of the statutes of limitations as spelled out in Title IV.19.4 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church specifically as it relates to sexual misconduct of clergy. That three year period of suspension began on January 1, 2019 and will run until December 31, 2021.
While the canon in question, and all the wording of D034, is attached to this letter and available on our diocesan website and in hard copy for anyone who wishes to have it in that form, the basic result of this suspension is that any allegation against a cleric in this Church for acts of sexual misconduct may be brought forward in this three year window, regardless of any prior invoking of a statute of limitations. In short, you do not have to wonder if the allegation comes from too long ago.
In our diocese, the Intake Officers for such allegations are the Rev. Canon Abbott Bailey and the Rev. Eric Metoyer. They can be reached by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com. They can also be contacted directly by phone by calling the diocesan office. If, for any reason you do not feel comfortable reporting this to either of them, you may also report to your local cleric, any diocesan staff member, and finally the bishop himself. Keeping your confidentiality, especially in the early phases of any allegation and investigation, is our duty.
I am in complete support of this measure, voted for it at General Convention, and believe the steps being taken currently to publicize the information widely are important and necessary. To that end, I am also attaching the letter on this topic addressed to the Church from the President of the House of Deputies, Gay Clark Jennings, and our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry. I urge you to read that too. (Letter included below)
There is yet much more work to do on this topic. Our diocesan convention passed a resolution at our most recent convention which calls for the creation of a Task Force on Sexual Harassment in our diocese. I invite anyone in the diocese, clergy or lay, to also offer your input on the creation of this committee.
I want to summarize that this resolution, as well as our diocesan policy, has as its goal to break down every possible barrier to reporting an allegation of sexual misconduct in this church. As President Jennings and Presiding Bishop Curry said so well in the end of their letter, I will end this one. May this resolution and other steps help “our church move closer to the day when, having repented of our sins and amended our common life, we may be restored in love, grace and trust with each other through our Savior Jesus Christ.”
Please pray for all those affected by misconduct, and pray for our Church.
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus
Bishop of California
To read the letter from the President of the House of Deputies and the Presiding Bishop here.
YOUR ALL SOULS COMPENDIUM OF 2018
In our ongoing desire to live as responsible stewards of creation, the 2018 Annual Report is available digitally. If you are able, please download it to your laptop or tablet and bring it with you this Sunday morning to follow along at the annual meeting. Limited paper copies will be available as well. You can download the report from our website here.
This Sunday: ANNUAL MEETING
January 27th, 10:10 am
Please come together for our Annual Meeting: a time to hear about the budget, to listen to stories from this past year and many years past, and elect our new leadership. To read about the people standing for election to the Vestry, please see January 10th’s Pathfinder. Please bring food to share – you can just drop it off in the kitchen ahead of time. Childcare will be available on the courtyard; Sunday School does not meet this day.
CARBON TRACKER APP WORKSHOP
During the 10:10 teaching hour next Sunday, February 3rd, Terry Nicol host a workshop in the Parish Hall for those interested in getting to know the Carbon Tracker App that Dr. Sheila Andrus shared with us a few weeks back. Come by if you just want to learn more, or if you’ve tried it out but have had some hangups in getting it going. All are welcome. Bring your devices with you as that will best enable them to help walk you through how it works. See Terry Nicol, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Gift of Flowers
There are many ways to celebrate our blessings and remember those who have gone before us. One particularly lovely and visible way to practice this gratitude is by giving flowers for our Sunday services. You can offer flowers in memory of someone, or in thanksgiving for a birthday, anniversary, or some other blessing close to your heart, and our fabulous Flower Guild will take care of actually making the arrangements. To sign up for a particular date and make a contribution, email Emily Hansen Curran or sign up on the flower chart in the Narthex.
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.
From the Diocese of California:
– The Why Christian Conference is coming to San Francisco and Grace Cathedral is hosting! Among the speakers are our own the Revs. Cameron Partridge and Jude Harmon. Mark your calendars for April 4 and 5 and visit whychristian.net.
– Join Episcopalians from around the diocese at next month’s Beloved Community Training Day at Grace Cathedral on Saturday, February 23. This year’s theme is “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Register and learn more at diocal.org/beloved-community-
From the Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Berkeley
The Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Berkeley invites you to join us for our annual celebration of Candlemas at St Mark’s in Berkeley at 7pm on Feb 7. The choral service will include the music of Palestrina, Holst, Tchaikovsky and more. There will also be the traditional blessing of candles.
Following the service we will have a festive reception and a brief presentation. Please share this invitation with anyone you think might be interested in joining. This is wonderful opportunity to experience a beautiful choral service and learn more about campus ministry at Cal.
Paid parking is available in the Ellsworth garage (between Durant and Bancroft).
Accessible entrance is available on Bancroft street through the gate that leads to the chapel.
RSVP to Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred but not required)