From the Rector
Treasure in Earthen Vessels
One of the interesting observations about our annual meeting this last Sunday that several people offered me was how human it was. Yes, it had the required elements to it: a thorough written report, a quorum of participants, the approval of the previous year’s minutes, the election of leadership, and a review of our financial health. But alongside all of that, we did our best to recognize, hold up, and honor the people that are the parish.
And I wonder if that observation about the human-ness of our annual meeting is also a reflection of the lack of humanity that we regularly witness in the institutions around us. We are at a point in which distrust of institutions is at an all-time high. Whether they are governmental, financial, religious, educational, or social, there is a growing sense that participating in an institution, by its very nature, is detrimental to our wellbeing.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I don’t see this necessarily is an institutions versus people issue, and I don’t believe that those who saw the human-ness in our annual meeting do either. But, having participated in my share of institutional annual meetings, I understand where this observation might come from. I think it’s a question of how people create and use the institutions we have. Which right now may be a minority report.
Because it is clear why institutions are seen as diminishing community instead of strengthening it. A long line of leaders of institutions have mis-used and abused the power and authority given them and have significantly and seriously harmed people, often the people that they were entrusted to protect and care for. And even when these institutions haven’t actively wounded people, they have often acted to maintain their own status quo and have ignored the needs of the humans within and around them.
And believe that I understand many of the reasons why this happens. It can be easy for an institution to hide behind rules and regulations and ignore its impact on the people it was meant to support. It can be easy to hide behind numbers, or achievements, or even threats from the outside. And in the process, to forget or neglect the real purpose for which the structure was once created––to be vessels of truth or compassion or justice or security.
It’s my hope that in reading from the reports of the life of All Souls 25 and 50 years ago, and in offering glimpses of this past year, that in addition to honoring the sacrifice and faith of those who have gone before, we are also acknowledging that we have been, are, and likely will be a flawed institution, that this institution and the people in it can be tempted towards self interest like any other. As Paul wrote in his second letter to the Christians in Corinth, we have received and pass on a treasure, but it is contained in earthen vessels.
The Church, a vessel that contains the gift of the Christian faith, the vessel which we pass from generation to generation, is fragile. It is flawed. And, it also has the capability of passing on to others pearls of inestimable value. Pearls like the visceral path of Holy Week, or the Parable of the Good Samaritan, or the commandment to care for the vulnerable, or the power and beauty of Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee.
Maybe our work as Christians who have received this treasure is to honestly and lovingly look at these vessels that contain the treasure. To see the beauty and the sacrifice, the pain and the hope, and do our best to pass on what is true and just and holy. To see one another as people doing our best to love ourselves, our neighbors, and our God. And then to pass this treasure along to the next generation, as faithfully as we can. One meeting at a time, if it comes to that.
Living Waters Capital Campaign Returns!
After a 2-year hiatus, All Souls’ fifth capital campaign, Living Waters: Renewal for our Second Century, is back! This will be our effort to ensure our physical space can support our ministry. We will seek to raise money, beyond our regular pledge amounts, to pay for projects in four overarching goals:
Some of the planned projects would be transformative – an elevator serving all four levels of the church. Others would be taking care of the current space – rehabbing the windows and replacing the floor in the parish hall. But all will let All Souls continue to nourish the spirit and community for the next 100 years.
You will soon begin to see blue “Imagine If …” signs throughout the church that highlight specific changes we could make with a successful campaign. Let these signs help you imagine a renewed church.
A dedicated campaign team has been working and planning to restart the campaign for several weeks. Team members will be (re)commissioned to this work this Sunday, February 6th, at the 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. services. We hope you will come help send the team forth on this important work.
With that rededication, the campaign will begin a season of communication, education, prayer and discernment about the mission that will be served by the campaign, the projects that will be supported by the campaign and how we as a community can renew the Living Waters that have been flowing at the corner of Cedar and Spruce for over 100 years.
Look for our first outreach in your inbox or mailbox in the next few days. We look forward to walking this path with you all.
Marilyn Flood–Living Waters Campaign, Vice-Chair
Richard Lynch–Living Waters Campaign, Chair
A Note About Our Prayers of the People
For those who have been praying with us on Sunday mornings, you might have noticed that we have regularly been praying for the village of Chabusiku, Congo, as it copes with the massacre of civilians, and for the Anglican Church of Congo’s Peace Center nearby. We learned of this Peace Center and the troubles in the area by way of the Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt who has been working with a local Anglican priest, the Rev. Bisoke Balikenga, to write a piece about the Peace Center. Paula writes that “[t]his area in northeastern Congo has suffered the brunt of the country’s lengthy civil war and intertribal conflict, and the Peace Center has been a site of transformative healing and peace-building. I was amazed at the good they are doing with so few resources. They will need our prayers to help cope with the added workload that this tragedy brings.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the Peace Center and the work they are doing, click here to read an article by Rev. Bisoke Balikenga.
Save the Dates
March 1, Mardi Gras
March 2, Ash Wednesday
March 6, First Sunday of Lent
Join us at 9am, in-person, outdoor service in the courtyard. This service will move indoors if the weather is below 40 degrees at 8:15a, if the AQI is over 150, or if there is rain.
Or (and!) join us indoors for the 11:15 service or on the live stream at 11:15a, which can be accessed through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning. At our 11:15 service, masks are required.
Then join us outdoors at 5p Sunday Night Service for a Compline Service.
Due to the CDC mask mandate, masks are required for all large indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status. This also applies to when you visit the church offices during the week. Thank you!
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here, or join us in person in the Nave at 9a. Password: 520218. Masks are required for this service as it is indoors.
If you’re looking for the Annual Report of 2021, you can find it by clicking here.
Adult Formation Classes
We have just three classes being offered this Sunday:
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Contact Kate Murphy, email@example.com to join that Zoom call.
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:10a. This Bible Study meets in the Common Room downstairs or on Zoom. Contact Daniel Prechtel, firstname.lastname@example.org to join that Zoom call.
Resurrection, part 3 taught by the Rev. Michael Lemaire. This class begins the final part of a three part series on the resurrection. Last spring we explored the range of beliefs that were present in the pagan and Jewish community about life after death. In the second part, we explored the resurrection as reflected in the letters of Paul. In this third and final part of the class, we will take up the various Gospel traditions that tell of the resurrection and look at each Gospel in turn from the empty tomb in Mark, to the encounters of the resurrection at the tomb in Matthew, the Emmaus story in Luke, and finally the story of Thomas in John 20 and the appearance of Jesus on the beach in John 21. It is my hope that this journey together will enrich our faith by clarifying both our questions about the resurrection as well as our hopes in the resurrection. This class will meet on Zoom (click here) and in-person in the Parish Hall, February 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 10:10 am.
Children & Family News
Sunday School for kids age prek-5th grade is moved to Zoom for the next few weeks. Click here to access the Zoom call on Sunday morning at 10:10a. Keep an eye out for the Pathfinder and/or the Children & Family newsletter for updates on when we’ll be back to in-person.
Youth Group, for now, is cancelled, until we can meet again safely (or safer) in person.
Other News & Notes
There is 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.
Stephen Ministry: Christ Caring for People through People
That’s the motto of Stephen Ministry. The Stephen Minister’s role is to bring God’s love into the lives of people who are going through a difficult time or experiencing a crisis. What do Stephen Ministers do? They listen, care, support, encourage, and pray with and for a person who is hurting. And in the midst of this confidential, one-to-one, caring relationship, God’s healing love comes pouring through.
If someone you know is facing a crisis—large or small—and could benefit from the caring presence of a Stephen Minister, talk to Rev Maggie Foote (email@example.com) or Stephen Ministry Leader Madeline Feely (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our Stephen Ministers are ready to care for you!
No Soulcast this week––just taking a week off. Catch us again, soon! Or re-watch some old favorites on our youtube channel. 🙂
If you are able to help provide some meals for parishioners in need, please contact Cathy Goshorn to help out! We are in great need at this time to help care for each other––please consider helping other All Soulsians in need by providing meals or gift cards for meals. You can reach Cathy at email@example.com.
Memorial for Joan Blair
The Celebration of Life and Memorial Service for Joan Blair will be on February 19th at 11a in the church. There will be a lunch reception to follow the service in the courtyard. The service will also be live streamed from our homepage and on Facebook. You can see photos of Joan and family on her memorial site (click here). Click here to see the announcement for Joan’s memorial.
Lenten Soup + Story Groups
It’s that time of year, again! Soup + Story is a small group program that we host during the 5 weeks of Lent. This year, we’re going to offer a few different tracks of engaging our
Soup + Story programming: one in-person in parishioners homes or in the church courtyard (we’ll likely ask for vaccinated & boosted folks only for indoor gatherings, but if you can host outdoors at your home or in the courtyard at church, then that will not be required or advised), one over Zoom, and one individual track. If you’re interested in hosting a Soup + Story group in any of the forms listed above, please contact Emily, firstname.lastname@example.org. These groups will start the week of March 6th and will meet weekly until the week of April 3rd.