From the Rector
The Beginnings of Reflection
We have had a practice of meeting as a congregation at the beginning of the year for over a century. In fact, when we meet on Sunday, January 31st at 10:10am it will be the 117th time that we have done so. But it will be the first time that we have done so virtually, in this case via Zoom videoconferencing, <for that you can register here>.
There are many reasons why we’ve kept this practice for so long. Yes, it is part of our collective fiduciary responsibility. But it is also an opportunity to take stock, to make plans, to look back, and to reflect.
This year we will be doing all of these things, but as with much of life, in some very different ways, because this was a very different year. Yes, we will be making plans, especially in who will be leading among us––we will be electing four new Vestry members and six delegates to our regional deanery and diocesan meetings. And I will be helping is to look back, this year to 1971 and 1996.
And we have once again taken stock and have produced an Annual Report, <which you can find here.> There you’ll find the financial reports for 2020 and the budget for 2021, both of which will be presented by our Treasurer, Vimala Tharisayi, as part of the Annual Meeting. You also see other basic statistics of the congregation: those who were baptized, ordained, and who have died in the past year.
But the work of reflection is perhaps the most challenging of our current moment. Because, well, the crisis is not over, and because it is so close to us, I know that I have felt a reluctance to reflect. It’s also hard to reflect because of the significant amount of pain and loss this past year. I believe we saw some of this recently in the cultural wishfulness for the turning of the year, 2020 to 2021, to mean that everything was going to change, immediately. And it hasn’t.
So looking back on this past year, reflecting on what has taken place, can feel fraught. And, it’s something that is important to do. To remember the times that were trying, but that we remained faithful. To remember how uncertain and frightening it was, but that we reached out to one another and to many in need, and responded. To remember that we were not alone in it all.
As the staff of All Souls, we began this work of reflection a couple of weeks ago in a Zoom call that lasted over an hour and fifteen minutes. It was stunning to remember and to reflect. The number of events and challenges and moments of grace in this past year confounded us. As did the response of this parish in and through and because of it all.
Now, you’ll be heartened to know that we won’t be watching all hour and fifteen minutes this Sunday. Maggie and Emily have distillled it down to four six minute segments of stories, images, and reflections. These videos clearly can’t tell all the story, but they are the beginnings of reflection on a year like none other.
So please set aside the time this Sunday morning, starting a few minutes before 10:10am, download the pdf of our Annual Report, discern who might lead us in the years to come, join us in reflecting on what has happened this last year, and wonder with us what might come to pass in this year to come.
From the Junior Warden
On Wednesday, Jan 20th, the Vestry of All Souls met over zoom for our monthly meeting. Chaplain Howard Purdue led a reflection on the Gospel passage about reconciling with our brother or sister before offering a gift at the altar (Matthew 5:21-24). We reflected on the challenges, but also the need to continue aiming for true and meaningful reconciliation efforts at the personal, community and national levels.
Bob Cross joined our meeting to introduce an amendment to the bylaws of All Souls, related to the church facilities in Jordan Court (office space and two residential units). In order to maintain these facilities within the tax-exemption status of the project, this bylaw amendment establishes the standards by which any uses of church facilities must provide a direct and discernible benefit to All Souls. It includes provisions for the two residential units, which will be available for use by All Souls clergy and staff, and people who provide a direct and discernible benefit to All Souls, such as clergy on sabbatical, visiting missionaries or visiting scholars, upon agreement with the Vestry. The amendment was unanimously approved.
In his Rector’s Report, Rev. Phil expressed his joy about the very different, yet meaningful Advent and Christmas seasons in 2020. The generosity of All Soulsians reflected on the Advent ingatherings, the Advent Window Project, Taizé services and Lessons and Carols during Advent, gave parishioners different ways to engage in the waiting and wonder of Advent. On Christmas Eve, thanks to our Sacristans and our Associate Rector, 163 Communion kits were distributed for parishioners to celebrate the Eucharist together while apart. Christmas morning service over Zoom was an intimate and joyful celebration, filled with song and connection. Donations to the Berkeley Food Pantry are ongoing, and have resulted in 550 bags of groceries delivered to this date! Rev. Phil also shared that in the middle of this pandemic, new people have still found their way to All Souls, and 11 people have joined the newcomers class these past weeks. Sacred Ground groups finished their 10 session program, with more than 80 people participating, and with the emergence of a new initiative of forming Sacred Ground ambassadors, who can share this program to other churches. Some groups have also decided to continue deepening their work together. A Racial Justice ministry has now been re-formed at All Souls, so expect information and new initiatives coming up. Finally, Rev. Phil proposed that the Vestry approve offering a 6 week sabbatical to Emily Hansen Curran, for a well-deserved time for respite and reflection, and for her to engage in deep listening for projects that she is planning.
Rev. Maggie shared with the Vestry the work that she has been doing on Pastoral Care, which she shared in last week’s Pathfinder. She shared the challenges of making connections and relationships with shelter-in-place orders, but also the creative ways that she is, not only reaching out, but also engaging other parishioners to extend pastoral care, and ensure that parishioners remain connected and cared for.
Finally, outgoing Vestry members Priscilla Camp, George Tharisayi. Stacey Alexeeff and Laura Eberly offered their reflections about their experience serving in Vestry for the past 3 years. We are grateful for their service, love and commitment to this Parish.
Tonantzin (Toni) Martinez-Borgfeldt
From an Outgoing Vestry Member
Five Things I Learned on Vestry
1. I learned a wealth of ecclesial and facilities maintenance trivia, not least of which is that an organ has leather gussets that seal the reservoir, that Jamie Apgar is precisely the person you want paying attention to them when they break [also rats nest there?], that there are approximately 9,326 types of cladding for a residential building, and that Kirk Miller has opinions – and good reasons for those opinions – about every single one of them. This taught me – practically, and profoundly – that I personally never want to have to know these things and always want to seek the spiritual gifts and guidance of those who know what I do not. This is how we live in community.
2. I learned how to play Salad Bowl, a hilarious party game with malleable rules, seemingly specifically designed for undisputed champions Kieran King and Matt McGinley, and that every vestry should begin with prayer and a solid foundation of laughter, levity, and a healthy dose of the ability to make fun of ourselves.
3. I learned that for absolutely any task there is an All Soulsian who will do it, eagerly and well and all you need is a wall of post-its to figure out who – whether it’s taking vigil shifts at 3am, wrangling developers, changing city regulations, constructing Advent-themed masterpieces in living room windows, cooking pancakes, serving jambalaya, putting roofs on tiny homes, poring over budgets, playing the mandolin, manufacturing paschal candles, brewing beer, pitching dodgeball, livestreaming liturgy, or teaching us about our most ancient sacred rituals. All of these are ministry, Good News, and gathering, transformative acts.
4. I learned that a good gradient of agreement is the quickest way to Phil’s heart – and to ending a 3-hour good faith, exhausting, consensus-based decision-making process with twelve thoughtfully critical, dedicated Episcopalians, at least one of whom (Howard) will always have insightful pivotal questions I haven’t thought of.
5. Finally, I learned – in a way I cannot forget and will forever seek to recreate – what it feels like to move together with a group of people dedicated to a common purpose of following Jesus through worship, mutual support, and care. To hold collective responsibility for the stuff of all our lives, from the most unglamorous and mundane minutiae to the most sacred practice and divine encounters.
From the Associate for Ministry Development
Ways to Connect
If you are newer to All Souls, or are just looking to connect in new ways with the community here between Sundays, consider some of these possibilities for finding each other and making community on the other 6 days of the week. And, if you have questions about how to connect, get involved, or become a member, you can always reach out to Emily Hansen Curran: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know that we have an online directory? It is a super handy website and app, making it a quick thing to get in touch with other All Soulsians. If you or your family are not yet in our directory, please see Mardie Becker (email@example.com) to add your name and your picture!
Connect on Facebook
Facebook offers an easy digital space to find out what’s going on and share photos, questions, and make plans to connect in real life. Find us on Facebook at All Souls Episcopal Parish and “like” the page to get updates, and request an invitation to join the All Soulsians group, a closed group for the people All Souls to check in and share together. Email Emily Hansen Curran to be added to the closed Facebook group.
Adult Formation Classes
These are weekly classes taught at 10:10a on Zoom by our Adult Formation team and friends. This team often brings in local theologians, thinkers, and activists from the area and from within All Souls to teach on a range of topics from health and spirituality to racial justice to the Trinity. This is also a great way to meet some new folks at All Souls!
Did you know that we have a midweek service on Wednesday mornings at 9a? In addition to Sunday services, all are welcome to drop in on Wednesday mornings at 9am for thoughtful reflections and conversations around the Bible.
As mentioned in last week’s Pathfinder (scroll down to read about the groups here), there are several small groups starting over the next few weeks. The first is a group for couples/partners led by licensed therapists Paul Guillory and Tracy Smith, and the other is another round of Sacred Ground (you can click here to read more about these groups and to register).
You can always watch the Soulcast (a weekly video announcement on youtube) to learn more about what is going on!
Pastoral Message from the Bishops of California
January 15, 2021
We, the Episcopal Bishops of California, have watched the events of January 6th and following days with deep concern. As Christians we follow Jesus, who is the Way of Love.
This weekend, when we remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we call upon the leaders of our cities, states and country to stand firmly in the place of non-violence, truth-telling and mutual respect.
To lead from the place of non-violence is not passive acceptance of wrongdoing; it is an active call to summon the “better angels of our nature (Abraham Lincoln, 1861).” We know of the difficulty Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced, even among his own followers, as they resisted hatred and physical violence with prayer, song and marches for justice. We call on all people to embrace words and actions that are non-violent.
To lead from the place of truth calls us to resist misinformation and convenient half-truths, and embrace what is real. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free (John 8:32).” To do otherwise is to incite, to inflame and to spread lies. We honor the many thousands of election workers and officials of both parties who worked tirelessly, honestly, and at times in peril, to shepherd our nation through the election process. We call on all people to search for truth.
To lead from the place of mutual respect is to stand against racism in any form. We cannot, any of us, ignore the role that our nation’s sad history with race has played with events in our country. As Christians, we remember that each person is someone’s child, someone’s beloved, God’s creation. When we fail to remember that, we dehumanize our brothers and sisters. In our Baptismal Covenant, we vow to “respect the dignity of every human being.” We call on all people to practice mutual respect.
As we approach Inauguration Day, we ask our leaders to dig deeply into their consciences and to act with integrity to preserve, protect and defend our fragile democracy. We call on all people to pause and pray for the peace of our country, a peace rooted in the Way of Love.
“The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends.” Martin Luther King Jr.
In hope and prayer for peace and grace,
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Marc Andrus
Bishop of California
The Rt. Rev. Lucinda Ashby
Bishop of El Camino Real
The Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce
Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. David Rice
Bishop of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook
Bishop of San Diego
The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor
Bishop Diocesan of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. Megan Traquair
Bishop of Northern California
Sunday Live Streaming News
Join us at 9am on Zoom for what was our outdoor, courtyard worship service. Or (and!) join us for the live stream of Sunday’s 11:15 service, 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.
This year’s Annual Meeting is this Sunday, January 31st at 10:10a on Zoom! Click here to register for the meeting (you must register to attend!)
Adult Formation Class this Sunday
There is no Adult Formation this coming Sunday. Instead we are having our Annual Meeting at 10:10a on Zoom.
Next Sunday there will be two classes:
- Things We Trust and Ways We Know: Exploring the Interface of Theology and the Natural Sciences taught by the Rev. Mark Richardson on Zoom at 10:10a February 7 & 14.
- One of the classic issues of our culture has been navigating the relationship between knowledge and wisdom we trust, but which comes from vastly different sources. As people of faith, we trust, for example, in God as known to us in Jesus. And, on the other hand, we trust in the practical efficacy of technologies based in science, and by implication, its progressive pathways in theory and knowledge. On the face of it, these two domains seem so different. Are they in conflict? Are they both real but so vastly different as to be unrelatable domains? Should we look for coherence across these domains? We will explore these questions in survey on February 7, and look at a case study on February 14.
- Mark Richardson is President and Dean of Church Divinity School of the Pacific. An Episcopal priest, scholar, lecturer and theologian, he has written extensively on faith, science, and evolution. He was founder and director of the Science and Spiritual Quest Project of the Center for Theology and Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
- Newcomer Class Q&A led by the Rev. Phil Brochard & Emily Hansen Curran at 10:10a on Zoom, February 7th.
- Come with your follow-up questions from our three week Newcomer Class course that happened the three weeks prior to the Annual Meeting! Or, if you’re new and haven’t attended the Newcomer Class, feel free to drop in and meet some fellow newcomers, as well as Phil & Emily.
Missed the previous week’s class?? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be recording all of the Adult Formation offerings and loading them to the Adult Formation page of our website. Click here to get there and access the class recordings.
Children & Family News
There is no Children’s Chapel this week, as we will be in the Annual Meeting. Please click here to read about Kid’s Book Club, Zoom Happy Hour for parents, and more! If you’d like to receive updates about Children and Family Ministry, but do not subscribe to the Family Bulletin, please email Maggie Foote (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Youth group has resumed meeting every other Sunday at 7:00pm via Zoom. Our next meeting will be this Sunday, January 31st. Hope to see you all there, and if you have a young person in your household in grades 6-12, and do not receive updates about Youth Group events, please email Maggie at email@example.com to be added to the list!
Stephen Ministry: We are here for you!
2020 was a challenging year, right?! Most of us have been struggling and overwhelmed. You are not alone. Stephen Ministers understand and are available to listen, support and pray for you. We can offer you a confidential caring relationship or an occasional phone call to help you through these ever-changing times. Contact Maggie Foote at (513) 309-1079 or Madeline Feeley at (510) 495-4512 so we can be there for you.
Sacred Ground Small Groups!
We are launching another round of Sacred Ground groups! What is Sacred Ground? It is a film and article-based dialogue series on race and faith written by the Diocese of the Episcopal church for people looking to examine their notions of race and whiteness. You can read more about the program on the National Diocesan website here.
Back in June, we did our first round of these small groups and had about 80 or so parishioners go through the curriculum together. Because of the response and success (the impact the curriculum had on our lives) of this initial round, we have decided to continue to offer these small groups.
Details: these groups meet for 10 sessions, which can be spaced out as works for the group, but the suggestion is to meet every-other-week for 20 weeks. You should budget about an hour and a half per week of readings or meetings for the 20 weeks. When the groups meet will depend on the availability of the group, which you can indicate by filling out this interest form.
Evening Prayer via Zoom
Here is the link for the Thursday night BCP Compline, which starts at 8:30 PDT:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 786 3029 4068
Check out Season 2, Episode 19 of the Soulcast!
Ongoing Canned Food Drive
The ASP Food Drive continues to pick up and deliver food for the Berkeley Food Pantry on a weekly basis. Food contributors and drivers participate every other week. Please email Cathy: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86087951049?pwd=THNxbjlqMm5zdjc5RGNLWkFrZk16QT09
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218
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.
Wanting to be a remote lector for Sunday morning’s 11:15 service? Let me know and I’ll get you trained. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Around the Diocese
Coming Soon – Good Shepherd Mutual Aid Education
As part of Good Shepherd’s efforts toward community engagement and social justice work, Gordon Gilmore and the Rev. Bill Trego will be co-facilitating a course/reading group on mutual aid strategies (via Zoom.) The course will meet every other Sunday beginning January 17, 2021 from 1:30-2:30 and plans to meet 7 times in total.
The idea of this course grew out of Good Shepherd’s anti-racism and Black Lives Matter initiatives, and the goal is to educate by reading texts on mutual aid strategies, horizontal organizing, and solidarity networks. The hope is that from this course we can develop a solidarity network in the north-/south-/West Berkeley areas, potentially joining forces with ones that already exist. The formation of such a solidarity network would serve to assist in resisting systemic oppression.
In this course, the goal will be to explore the texts together, everyone bringing their experiences in working with the community and critical lens to bear on the texts we are engaging and the strategies they suggest. The texts will look at the history of such strategies and organizing in the history of the church, such as Dorothy Day and the Catholic Workers Movement, as well as in revolutionary groups that often inspire liberation theologies, such as the Black Panthers. We will also look at strategies for such organizing in the present day, and brainstorm with one another about how best to implement these strategies.
If you’re in the Berkeley area and are interested in joining the conversation, please contact Gordon Gilmore at email@example.com