From the Associate Rector

Both Sides Now

This week, the news feeds on my various social media accounts have been chock full of clips of Joni Mitchell performing at the Newport Folk Festival for the first time since she suffered an aneurysm in 2015. After her aneurysm, she had to re-learn how to sing and play guitar (which, hilariously, she taught herself by watching old videos of herself playing.) Joni’s performance at Newport was a surprise to the guests and was organized by her friend, fellow musical artist, Brandi Carlile. Brandi has been a long time admirer of Joni, whose music she says has heavily influenced her own songwriting. If you haven’t seen the clips, I can’t recommend them enough.

What I find the most compelling about this performance, aside from the musical genius of everyone involved that’s on full display, and the fact that Joni Mitchell has only recently recovered the ability to sing and play guitar, is the immense love and respect that everyone on stage clearly has for Joni. The event was a recreation of what Brandi Carlile calls a “Joni Jam,” these legendary jam sessions that Joni Mitchell hosts at her Laurel Canyon home, in which artists gather, many of them legendary in their own right, and just play. As Brandi Carlile mentions in her introduction to the set, it creates an environment in which egos disappear, and the best that everyone has to offer is drawn out, simply by being in proximity to someone who is so loved, admired, and respected.

These kinds of relationships, relationships of mutual respect between trailblazers and the ones who follow behind them, give all of us a chance to grow into our best selves. I’ve been lucky enough in my life as a priest to have several of these relationships with women who faced significant barriers to the ordination of women; women who redefined what it means to be a spiritual leader; leading with grace, compassion, prophetic wisdom, and what Bishop Mary Gray Reeves call “beautiful authority.”

Tomorrow, July 29th, marks the 48th anniversary of the first ordination of women in the Episcopal Church (which you can read more about in the article that follows by our own Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt.) That means, in my lifetime, I have never known a church that wouldn’t accept my leadership on the basis of my gender. The Episcopal Church is better today than it was before because of the leadership of women. While there is still a long way to go to achieve true equality (rate of pay, positions of leadership, etc.) these first ordinations represented a remarkable moment for women in our church, opened the door for the ordination of Queer and trans clergy, and brought us one step closer to full equality in church leadership. That’s something worth celebrating.


From our Assisting Clergy

The Philadelphia 11: Why they couldn’t wait

On July 29, 1974, eleven female deacons and three bishops took the bold step of ordaining the first cohort of female priests in the Episcopal Church. The ordinations took place as an act of nonviolent ecclesial disobedience.

The era had seen intense civil and political unrest including nonviolent disobedience for civil rights and against our military presence in Vietnam. Watergate added further tensions. The church, too, reflected this unrest through differing views on social and ecclesial issues. Emerging feminist theology and language added further tensions over The Book of Common Prayer’s ongoing revision.

Yet it was also an era of transformation, where people could envision a future of human equality and mutual respect. In the Episcopal Church, the struggle for the full inclusion of women came to a head: allowing women to vote as diocesan deputies at the triennial General Convention and allowing women to be ordained. Both were achieved in 1970.

But because of how delegate votes were counted, women’s ordination to all Holy Orders (deacon, priest, and bishop) failed, even though it had won the popular vote. However, women were granted ordination as deacons. A well-organized backlash movement against women in the priesthood at the 1973 General Convention left little doubt in the minds of many that full access to ordination could be delayed indefinitely.

In Why we can’t wait, Martin Luther King, Jr. writes of key factors leading to nonviolent civil disobedience in the Civil Rights movement: deep disappointment over the lack of school desegregation, the rise of reactionary movements, and hope enlivened by freedom movements across the world.

Those committed to women’s ordination were similarly fueled by frustration, backlash movements, and a social-justice understanding of the Gospel. In Philadelphia’s Church of the Advocate, an inner city African-American parish where one of the women served as deacon, the ordinations took place.

Justice acts are not made lightly, especially when significant sacrifice is involved. The ordaining bishops and supporting priests were condemned but not disciplined because it was unclear whether church canons had been violated. The new female priests faced severe difficulties living out their ministries, yet their vocations would make a profound impact on the church. Lay crucifer Barbara Harris, 25 years later, would become the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

In 1976, the General Convention voted to add a canon making explicit that Holy Orders applied equally to men and women.

The Philadelphia 11 ordinations were one step on a longer journey to free the priesthood from exclusion based on sex, according to a statement by the women and their ordaining bishops (quoted by Pamela Darling in New Wine)—a journey that would later include sexuality and gender identity.

What do the Philadelphia 11 offer today? As King noted for Civil Rights, winning rights for oneself produces benefits for all. As our Gospel last Sunday reminds us, persistence in the pursuit of justice, compassion, and mercy will be heard and responded to–in God’s time, and hopefully our own.


Save the Dates

August 19, All Souls at the A’s Game

August 21, Rally Sunday & Blessing of the Backpacks

August 21, Safe Church Training for all keyholders and children & youth volunteers

September 16-18, All Parish Retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch

Weekly Worship

Join us for worship this week:

  • 9am, in-person, indoors 
  • 11:15am, in-person, indoors. This service will also be live streamed (click here to access the live stream)

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. 

Then join us in the Parish Hall at 5p Sunday Night Service for a Eucharistic service.

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

There are three class offering this Sunday:

  • Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:45a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in the Common Room.
  • Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:10a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in the Chapel (downstairs at church).
  • Summer Book Group, What Strange Paradise @ 10:10a. This group will meet in the Common Room between the 9 & 11:15 services and on Zoom (click here to access Zoom call).

Summer Book Group, Round 2

Join us July 31 and August 7 to discuss Omar El Akkad’s book What Strange Paradise. This compelling story of a nine-year old Syrian refugee who washes up on the shore of a small island and is rescued by a teenage girl. As the blurb says, “What Strange Paradise is the story of two children navigating a hostile world. But it is also the story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair – and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.” This group will meet in the Common Room between the 9 & 11:15 services and on Zoom (click here to access Zoom call).

Children, Youth, and Family News

While Sunday School is on hiatus for the summer, there are fun activities planned for children at 10:10 on Sundays in the courtyard! Join us!

Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.

Other News & Notes

Upcoming Memorial for Grace Wahlberg

We will remember the life of former parishioner, Grace Wahlberg on Monday, August 1st at 10:00am in the church. All are invited to attend the memorial.

How to access staff & clergy in the new Jordan Court Offices

Wondering how to reach us in the new offices? Here’s how:

  • Enter on Cedar & Oxford and press “001” on the call box. This will take you to the church voicemail system. Select the number of the person you are trying to reach and it will call their office phone directly.
    • For Annie: press 1
    • For Phil: press 2
    • For Maggie: press 3
    • For Emily: press 4
    • For Jamie: press 5
  • Once on the phone with the person you are trying to reach, but before they buzz the door open, they will give you a code that you need to either write down or remember as you will need it to enter the stairwell or the elevator.
  • Once you have been buzzed into the lobby, head towards the stairs or elevator and use the code you were given to get to the 3rd floor.
  • After exiting the elevator or stairwell, turn right and the All Souls offices are at the end of the hall! Voila! 
  • If you are entering from the church building, you can also access the offices through the gate at the courtyard. You can either text or phone a staff or clergy to get the gate code and then may enter the staff offices either by going up the outdoor stairwell or by entering the Jordan Court building and going up the elevator (the same gate code will get you in the Jordan Court building and the elevator).

Church Office Hours:

Staff & Clergy can be reached Sunday-Thursday by phone/text/or email. Tuesday-Thursday from 10-5p you can find staff & clergy in the office. You can reach an on-call clergy at any time by calling our church offices and pressing “8” for the on-call priest.

All Souls at the A’s Game!

Join us in our annual A’s game outing, on August 19th (with fireworks!) We’ll meet up at 5p in the parking lot for some tailgating and then head into the game together. Please reach out to Don Gates to reserve your ticket ( If the cost is prohibitive, please let us know.

Whole & Healthy Church Training

It’s that time again when all keyholders of the church’s keys, and all volunteers who work with children are required to take the Diocesan Whole &. Healthy Church training. To do this, diocesan staff, Caren Miles, will join us after the 11:15 service on August 21st to do in-person training! Lunch will be provided, but please RSVP with Maggie Foote ( or Emily Hansen Curran ( If you miss this in-person training, you will need to complete the training online. We’re also expanding the church keys to include the key fob code to Jordan Court so that keyholders can also access the staff offices. 

Meal Train

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 or just fill out this form (which goes directly to Cathy).

Observing the Season of Creation in congregations, 2022

Zoom Workshop on resources: August 11, 2022, 4:00 – 5:00 PM

The Season of Creation is an annual celebration of prayer and action to protect creation, celebrated by Christians of all traditions. Bishop Marc Andrus is part of the Season of Creation Advisory Committee, and he, along with other faith leaders, encourages religious communities to participate through events, service, and worship.

The season begins September 1, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and runs through October 4, the Feast of St. Francis, who is the patron saint of ecology in many traditions. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Listen to the Voice of Creation”.

On Thursday, August 11, Amy Cook and Dr. Paloma Pavel are leading a one-hour workshop to introduce the materials for the season as well as share further resources and community actions around caring for all of God’s creation. Please register for the workshop here.

Please contact Amy Cook ( by August 5 if you are interested in having Spanish language interpretation.

More information about the season can be found here: