Prayers of the People
Next week we begin Sacred Ground. For 20 weeks this Parish, and our neighbors at St. Alban’s, will be engaged in anti-racist study and dialogue in preparation for continued and committed action. We are in this struggle for the long haul. The struggle against racism is a struggle with systems large and small, and with ourselves. Whether we are unlearning internalized racism or dismantling our internal entanglement with white supremacy, this is personal as well as structural.
I, personally, have felt the need to ground this work in prayer. One of the most intense and prayerful things I have read in a long time are the last words of Elijah McClain. McClain was a gentle soul, a vegetarian and a violinist. A Black man, he was walking home one night and was brutally murdered by the police. A Black man should not have to demonstrate gentleness to be safe from the police. This should in no way be a requirement for sympathy and solidarity. But I was moved reading McClain’s words by the compassion and gentleness and grace he demonstrates even as he is being attacked. Here are his last words:
The Last Words of Elijah McClain
I can’t breathe. I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah McClain. That’s my house. I was just going home. I’m an introvert. I’m just different. That’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies! I don’t eat meat! But I don’t judge people, I don’t judge people who do eat meat. Forgive me. All I was trying to do was become better. I will do it. I will do anything. Sacrifice my identity, I’ll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you. Try to forgive me. I’m a mood Gemini. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Ow, that really hurt. You are all very strong. Teamwork makes the dream work. Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t trying to do that. I just can’t breathe correctly. I can’t fix myself.
This violence and death is what we are fighting against. So it is with great seriousness that we will pray together in the coming weeks, every Sunday, prayers inspired by this person and his last words. They are prayers about cherishing Black lives, fighting racism, and holding each other close as a community that is committed to justice. You will note some of these phrases come from protest signs. You will note words from the transcription of McClain’s final words as well as an urgency in the Prayers of the People that comes from a recognition of this life and this tragic death, as well as the many other lives lost to racist violence, and the need for all of us to pray and act to prevent violence in the future.
Our prayers shape who we are, and it is my hope that this is who we are becoming: people wholly committed to the dismantling of racism and to following the path of love that is the path of Jesus Christ.
Prayers of the People
(Adapted from Form V in the Book of Common Prayer and informed by the life and words of Elijah McClain)
In peace, let us pray to the Lord, saying, “Kyrie eleison”
For Michael our Presiding Bishop, for Marc our own Bishop, and for all other ministers, that they may seek space for the oppressed to breathe free, we pray to you, O Lord.
For all who fear God and believe in you, Lord Christ, that all may be one even as we are different, we pray to you, O Lord.
For the peace of the world, and for the cherishing of Black lives, that a spirit of respect and forbearance may grow among nations and peoples, we pray to you, O Lord.
For those in positions of public trust, especially Donald our President and Gavin our Governor, that they may serve justice, and promote the dignity and well-being of every person, we pray to you, O Lord.
For all who live and work in this community that they make their way home safely each evening, we pray to you, O Lord.
For this congregation, especially in this time when we cannot gather, that we may know the love and care of this community, we pray to you, O Lord.
For ourselves; for the courage to fix all that we can and to pray for grace for that which we cannot fix, we pray to you, O Lord.
For our Sacred Ground groups, confronting racism with prayer, study, dialogue, and action, we pray to you, O Lord.
For all who have commended themselves to our prayers;…
for our families, friends, and neighbors; that being freed from anxiety and all oppression, they may live in joy, peace, and health, we pray to you, O Lord.
For Elijah McClain, , we pray to you, O Lord. For all who have died in the communion of your Church, and those whose faith is known to you alone, that, with all the saints, they may have rest in that place where there is no pain or grief, but life eternal, we pray to you, O Lord.
For yours is the majesty and the dream of unity, O Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer; yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and for ever. Amen.
–The Rev. Dani Gabriel
History of the Parish House
The Parish House Storey
As it is about to be raised and replaced with new building, I have been asked to give a little of the history of the “Parish House” at 1601 Oxford Street. The use of the term “Parish House” for the building is of fairly recent origin, and was used for a different structure some years ago. The building was one of two apartment buildings purchased in 1965 for $179,000. 1601 Oxford had 10 apartments and eight garages and was purchased from Richard Sikora. The second building next door at 1611 Oxford had six studio apartments was purchased from William McCutcheon.
The McCutcheon building was torn down to create the present parking lot. At the time, what is now called the “Parish House” was known as the Apartment Building, or sometimes “that d–ned apartment building”, because in the view of many parishioners it was deemed to be an endless money-pit. The idea had been to buy the two buildings and keep one to pay off the cost of acquisition, which was erroneously projected to take 15 years. It appears that from the beginning the income from the Sikora property was not sufficient to cover the mortgage. Perhaps the first mistake the vestry made was for All Souls to eschew retaining a professional property manager in order to save money and to manage the apartments ourselves, but later a professional property management company was retained for a while. In 1971 the vestry sought to sell the building, without success.
Part of the problem in keeping with the plan that the apartment would be a financial benefit for All Souls was the fact that in June 1980 Berkeley voters enacted a rent control ordinance which buildings with four or more units. Even prior to rent control, on August 30, 1969, the Berkeley Tenants Union (BTU) was founded to oppose the regular rental increases which in the view of BTU’s founders had become systematic and systemic for rental properties in Berkeley. In the last days of 1969 the BTU sought to have All Souls recognize it as bargaining agent for the apartment house tenants. By January 1970 the BTU had called a rent strike and five tenants did not pay their rent.
After the Rev. William Power Clancey became rector on All Souls’ Day in 1972, efforts were made to resolved the situation by selling the building to C.D.S.P. for student housing. Bill always said he offered to sell the building to C.D.S.P. fo one dollar, but this offer came to nought. At its meeting on April 8, 1980 the vestry again voted to pursue sale of the building to C.D.S.P. At a July 1, 1984 meeting it was reported that a deal has fallen through because of the resignation of the Dean of C.D.S.P.
As more recently, during the 1970s, in addition to other tenants, the apartments were used for some staff members as part of their salary and to house refugees.
In 1982, Fr. Clancey asked me to meet with the representative of a group of monks who were seeking to form an ecumenical priory. One group was from the Roman Catholic Order of Camaldoli and the other was from the Episcopal Order of the Holy Cross both groups following the rules of Order of Saint Benedict. The OHC co-prior was Brother Jack, who had been a field work trainee at All Souls while at seminary. The Monks of the nascent co-priory were living in dorms at C.D.S.P., which frankly wanted the space back for student housing, but was reluctant to evict the monks. At the meeting, I learned about their hopes and plans, which included their own building. Out of that meeting came both Incarnation Priory Berkeley and the idea of the new priory acquiring the apartment building, and an offer was presented to the vestry at its December 14, 1982 meeting to purchase the apartment building. At its February 8, 1983 meeting the vestry voted to accept the offer, which included among other conditions that two tenants both elderly parishioners would be offered life tenancy and that if the building were later to be sold by the priory, All Soul would have the right of first refusal to purchase the building at the same price the Priory had paid. There was a problem getting some of the tenants to move out, principally with the son of a parishioner, which affair caused the parishioner to leave All Souls.
As time went on, The Camoldoli were given a house elsewhere in Berkeley and eventually moved to New Camoldoli near Big Sur and in 2007 the Order of the Holy Cross decided that the OHC monks in the priory should move to Santa Barbara. In addition to renting the upper floors of the building mostly for student housing, Incarnation Priory Berkeley had sought to convert the apartment building into a hospice to house for people with AIDS. This would have required substantial remodeling, and a request was made to the Diocese to co-sign a loan for the work to be done, While the Diocese appeared willing to do so, it required that 10% of the proceeds be turned over to the Diocese, which made the arrangement impossible for Incarnation Priory Berkeley, so the plan never went forward. After the OHC monks moved, in 2007, the building was leased to an order of Franciscans.
During the summer of 2008, the Father Superior of OHC met with our rector Fr. Bouchard to explain the desire of OHC to divest itself of the apartment building but in a way that building might still be used to for the work of the Episcopal Church. After much study and discussion All Souls repurchased the building. After reacquisition, All Souls used the building for extra meeting space, as the office and music library for the music director, as housing for the associate rector’s family and for students from C.D.S.P.
Thomas Burcham Parish Archivist
Remembering the Parish House
As Thomas Burcham just wrote, the Parish House has had a long and involved history over its many years. And, since about the time that we re-acquired the house from the Franciscans, seminarians (and our former Associate Rector Liz Tichenor and her family) have been living in the upstairs five units of the Parish House. I emailed a few of the past residents that I knew, and then some of them passed that email on to more of them, and soon enough my inbox became quite full of stories and memories from the past Parish House residents, reminiscing on what that space meant to their lives then and now. I asked them to write a couple of sentences about what they remember best about living in the Parish House. What follows are those sentences (some longer than others––looking at you, Liz Tichenor). I don’t know all of these people, but I found tears in my eyes as I read through all their memories. I hope this also fills you up with the goodness that this home provided for so many. –Emily Hansen Curran
“A few of my favorite memories:
- Alice Tichenor being born there!
- Listening to the Franciscan brothers chant prayers and being able to smell their incense everyday. (My apartment was above their chapel)
- The Sunday I woke up to Phil knocking on my door in full vestments just after the early service. He needed me to fill in as Deacon for the later service and it was easier for him to come knock rather than call.”
“Alas, that place was very special to me. Here’s what is my favorite memory. My daughter, when she visited me, would sleep above the Franciscan’s chapel. She loved falling asleep listening to them chant and thought it was one of the coolest things about her Dad being a seminarian and living in that building.”
“I especially appreciated gathering for prayers as an intentional community, sharing our hopes and dreams and prayers, and concerns and lives. It was a powerfully formative time, given how young Haley and I were and the fact that we were just coming out of graduate school and starting out in our respective vocations. I remember Michael Lemaire giving me priceless advice for how to be a hospital chaplain. I remember our next door neighbor Alice Tichenor knocking on Haley and my door as a toddler, asking to come over and visit for a time on weekday evenings. This was my first inkling of what it might be like to be a parent, and was a crucial introduction to the joys and challenges I would later face in seeking to be a good dad for my son and daughter. I remember Will Rogers helping us to plant some native plants around the Parish House at dusk before we left. I remember going up the fire escape to watch the sunset over the Bay while I talked on the phone with distant family. I remember appreciating how warm the second floor always seemed to be, because we were the beneficiaries of the heating coming up from the first floor.”
“One of the best parts of living in the Parish House was that the place had so much character and the characters living in it only gave it more. Because it was not in, um, pristine condition, we felt free to fix, paint, and modify the place in any number of ways, and that made everyone’s place feel like a custom cottage. I liked how personal everyone’s space was. One thing I will never miss is the muddy floor of the laundry room. No matter the time of year, the floor was wet and thick with mud. Figuring out ways to keep clean clothes from falling to the floor and needing to be washed again was something else. It was always wonderful to see the people you lived with in church on Sunday.”
“Obviously the memories of Alice and Sam each being born there stand out prominently in my memory. I also loved my evening jam sessions upstairs with Tripp, watching the gaggle of small children run up and down the balcony, and the fact that it was rare for a week to pass without someone bringing around extras of some homemade baked delight. It was fun taking advantage of the fact that the building’s days were numbered by building monkey bars into the kids’ bedroom, painting the stairs in a rainbow pattern, and filling various cracks and holes in the building with glittery gold caulk. It was amazing to be able to trade baby monitors around between the apartments depending on who had to pick up one child from school or go out on a date while other children were sleeping. It was pretty exciting when we discovered that the overflow drain on Trip and Trish’s bathtub had no pipe remaining and instead drained straight through our bathroom light fixture. There was also the time when Justin’s rabbits thumped their paws thunderously on the floor above our heads all night long in disapproval of his newly acquired cat, the time Tripp and Trish’s cat darted out the window onto the steep 3rd floor roof on my watch and had to be ever so carefully bribed back inside, the time I hauled a two-foot long dead rat out of the laundry room in my first month of residence, though it had clearly been there for the better part of a year. More than anything, I appreciate that by living in the Parish House while Liz was in grad school our expenses were low enough that I could work just half time during most of Alice’s first two years, allowing me to spend time with her that was simply irreplaceable.”
“I lived in Parish House from 2008-2013, perhaps the longest standing resident. The journey involved many transitions from the transition between Holy Cross to the Franciscans. While the Franciscans were there I was an Associate of the order and lived in 2200 on the second floor. Some of my favorite memories included meals with the Franciscans, often joking about a hidden camera in the wall catching the hilarity and ridiculousness of our dinner conversations. When All Souls purchased the building, I was moved to the third floor, which I painted and made more livable, even redoing the kitchen floor and putting up blinds. I remember countless sunsets. Living in affordable housing like that made it possible for me, after ordination, to leave full-time work for a part-time priest job in Moraga as Priest-in-Charge of St. Giles, Moraga. When I was asked to depart in 2013, being only part-time employed I embarked on a year of house-sitting. Parish House was a stable five years, a time when I journeyed from being an aspirant at All Souls, to a postulant, to lay youth ministry leader, eventually getting ordained in 2011 and finding my priestly path. I have so many memories from those five years and am grateful for that building and community providing sanctuary to me during very difficult times.”
“So many good memories. I think for me, I remember our weekly dinners and morning check-ins. I remember moving the Tichenor’s piano up the stairs and worrying that the whole staircase would give way under us! And I especially remember the feeling of family and belonging that existed in that place and in that time for me.”
“There have not been many places I’ve lived that have been nearly as special as the parish house. I think what I miss most about that place is obviously the intergenerational community and the way we took care of each other––I formed some really close relationships in my time there and I think we all got each other through a lot. As for the physical house itself, lol, the view of the treetops I had from my living room window (it was more like being in the trees) 10000% compensated for the other quirks of the apartment. I deeply, deeply miss that view. Perhaps the only quirk it did not compensate for was the mystery staircase in the hall of my apartment. It was next to the closet, and went…somewhere? I really didn’t like it, and usually after I watched scary movies I’d always manage to convince myself the staircase was haunted by a monk and I’d have to double check the door was locked (as if that would discourage or prevent a ghost from entering my apartment).”
“The best way to describe the Parish House is home. And the best way to describe home is people. Whether it was overflowing toilets, learning how to breastfeed my first baby, hearing the youth group play excitedly (read: loudly) below us, never actually knowing what temperature the oven was at, gathering for meals with our incredible neighbors, or just staring at every spec on the wall while recovering from surgery, someone was always there. In the Parish House, you are never alone. And not just because of the ghosts! (Note: There are definitely ghosts!)”
“Hear your own parable, friends: the kingdom of heaven is like when sweet souls take a risk and buy the dilapidated old building next door, and even while they are confident it must become something new, in the meantime they make it a safe haven for seminarians and young families to live in for years. Just weeks after Saint Marilyn had overseen the finishing touches on the seismic retrofit job (honestly, doing all that on a building headed for demolition? — this is kingdom work!) Alice was born right there in the Parish House, and Brother Derek proclaimed that she was Our Baby, belonging to the whole house. Sam, too, was born there in our living room, and the nonexistent commute made balancing work and family not just possible, but healthy. Over the years, our quiet evenings were filled with the sounds of Chora Nova and the parish choir and Angel Band wafting over, and Sunday nights were punctuated by the dulcet tones of raucous youth group fun from down below. For nearly eight of the last nine years, I watched folks come and go living at the Parish House, and I was awed as this rambling old building held space for us to be woven together as kin: sharing countless meals, swapping kids, wrestling in prayer, finding each other on the balcony to share in laughter and weariness and angst and unspeakable joy. It all happened right there, common life layered in on itself as the stairs bowed under our weight, as the paint flaked, as the windows leaked, as together we were enveloped in fog and Light. The kingdom of God drew near in this place, again, and again, and again, as a way of life. Thank you, sweet souls, for trusting and sharing that grace, and for giving a home to me and my family, and to so many others.”
In the last month we said goodbye to Margie Fay, who died just last Friday, and to Alec Blair, who died on June 25th. For those who missed it, here is Alec’s bio. We’ll keep you posted on information regarding a service for Margie or her own bio as we are able. For now, we remember how lucky we all were to have journeyed alongside these two great individuals.
Alexander Blair was born on March 6, 1925 in Macon, Georgia. His parents had met in their Episcopal church choir. His mother, Dorothy Holden Blair, was a teacher, librarian and church organist. His father, Alexander Blair IV, was a structural engineer. Alec was the oldest of three and remained close to his brother Frank throughout his life. His youngest brother, Berrian, died of polio as a child.
From the beginning, Alec began developing his individual creativity within an interactive community. At age 5, the family moved to Brooklyn, where he watched his father design part of the New York City subway system. By age 7, he sang soprano in their church choir, alongside his mother, an alto, and his father, a baritone. Between 11 and 13, during summers with an aunt in Appalachia, Alec worked for electrician Mr. Leland, boring holes for Romex with a manual brace-and-bit and lighting the blowtorch. As Alec wrote later, Mr. Leland “taught me to do each job properly and according to code, and then depended on me to carry them all out responsibly.”
After high school, Alec earned his electrical engineering degree from Georgia Tech and then taught as an instructor in the math department. As his next adventure, Alec became a radio officer in the United States Merchant Marine and joined his brother Frank, a seaman, on a ship, where they sailed together to distant shores.
Alec then pursued a graduate degree in mathematics at Harvard and studied for a year at the University of Zurich. He spent summers working as a mathematician at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Along the way, he discovered a calling to ordained ministry. He attended the Episcopal Theological Seminary (ETS) in Cambridge, MA for his first two years and then transferred to the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in Berkeley.
While at ETS, Alec worked as a seminarian at St. Mark’s Dorchester in Boston and became close friends with Mabel and Allan (Mac) MacDonald (who had themselves met decades earlier in the St. Mark’s youth group). Mabel introduced Alec to their daughter Joan MacDonald, who was home visiting from college. After a whirlwind courtship, Alec and Joan married in Boston and then drove to Berkeley for his final year of seminary.
Alec was ordained in 1957. He had fruitful ministries in the Diocese of the Rio Grande for 20 years. In the racially segregated society of the 1950s and 1960s, Alec served as a curate in the Navajo Nation and then as Vicar of St. Anne’s, El Paso, a race- and class-diverse congregation one block from the US-Mexico border. When their first child was a few months old, the family moved to Costa Rica for a half-year, where Joan and Alec studied Spanish during the week and worked in Caribbean congregations on weekends.
As his next post, Alec served as rector of St. John’s Alamogordo, where he and Joan had three additional children. In 1970, Alec accepted a call to lead the Episcopal Canterbury Center at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Alec and Joan supported student-led civil rights and anti-Vietnam War activism on campus. Joan and Alec nurtured this generation, as it developed from student rebels into teachers, counselors, artists, and nurses, working on behalf of under-served communities in New Mexico and beyond.
In their free time, Alec and Joan bought some beautiful land at 9000 feet elevation next to a national forest near Cloudcroft. Alec drew up the plans for a stunning house, with floor-to-ceiling windows, which blended into the surrounding meadowland and forest. With a little help from their friends, Alec and Joan built their house, from the foundation to the rafters, all the while keeping track of four young children.
In an autobiography reflecting on the communities he served — the Navajo nation, the African American and Latino congregation of St Anne’s El Paso, the small towns of Alamogordo and Cloudcroft, the Central American jungle, and the student activists – Alec wrote: “In all of these posts, I was in awe of the commitment to and interaction within the communities I was serving, like what I saw promoted in both the Old and New Testaments.”
In 1977, Alec began work toward his PhD in systematic theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He developed a framework, based on the Hebrew Bible, the earliest Christian texts, and Liberation Theology, to state what he had learned throughout his ministry: God calls each of us to generative creativity, manifest in loving relationship with others. He published his dissertation as Christian Ambivalence toward its Old Testament: Interactive Community versus Static Obedience (Wipf & Stock 2011).
Alec’s family found a church home at All Souls Parish, Berkeley. Alec was an assisting non-stipendiary priest, Joan served on the vestry, and the four children were acolytes. Joan’s parents, Mabel and Mac, also became active members.
In an ongoing vocation, Alec was a member of the faculty of the School for Deacons for twenty years, where students thanked him, in their words, for teaching them “about the wonderfulness of God’s word and community.” From 1988 to 1993, Alec also served as Vicar of St. Albans in Brentwood, near the school Joan taught first grade. After his retirement, Alec and Joan rejoined All Souls Parish.
Throughout all these years, music was a central avocation. Alec sang with the Baroque Choral Guild in Berkeley. At home, he played keyboard in a baroque quartet with his children on strings, and he studied organ. Alec and Joan sang in church choirs, and they attended gigs performed by their son Peter, a drummer in a metal band.
After a brief period under the care of hospice at home, Alec died on June 25, 2020. He passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family. He was 95 years old.
In Alec and Joan’s view, the most creative adventure of all was raising their family. The family community includes four children, Mary, Anne, John, and Peter, their children’s spouses, and their six grandchildren — Carla, David, Luana, Louis, Madeline, and Josie. Each of these creative individuals carries on Alec’s spirit. Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.
Live Streaming News
The live stream of Sunday services can now be accessed through our website (rather than simply on Facebook)! Click here to watch on Sunday morning.
Adult Formation Class this Sunday
At 9:15 we start Wendell Berry’s WATCH WITH ME with Jeannie Koops-Elson in an exploration of the novella in its echoic retelling of Matthew. This book is only 208 pp in its entirety, and the stories provide a quick, comic, even romping read.
Meeting ID: 891 6365 4939
Children & Family News
We will be doing a children’s chapel program this Sunday at 9:30am via Zoom. It should last about 30 minutes. Please email Whitney Wilson for a link so your family can participate. We are hoping that this will give the kids a time together for their own “church” and a time to see their friends as well. Please email Whitney Wilson at email@example.com if you want a Zoom invite or have any questions.
If you are looking for some current information regarding Children’s Chapel or the upcoming Kids Book Club – check out the new additions to the All Souls website. The All Souls Website has been updated to include some new information and resources(including the links for all the storybook videos) for families. Here is the link: http://www.allsoulsparish.org/children-youth-and-families/childrens-virtual-formation-during-covid/
All Souls After Hours
This week The Rt. Rev. Nedi Rivera will host a fireside chat on Facebook live just following the Sunday service. Come ready to ask her any questions you’ve got!
Evening Prayer via Zoom
Here is the link for the Thursday night BCP Compline https://schoolmint.zoom.us/j/7124066649?pwd=d0Z4c1RHeld0QllOLzdlS1IxK3FKZz09. For safety, the password needed to join the call is 329903.
All Souls Geek Squad
If you’re having any trouble with technology during this time of tech-only contact with others, we want to help! On the homepage of our website is a box with the words “Technical Help”. Click on that box and you will be taken to a form that you can fill out. Once you fill that out, we’ll have someone get in touch with you to help with your tech problems. You can also click here to access the form directly.
The Soulcast is Back! Check out Episode 15.
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
More from Children & Family
“Taking It Home”
“Keep the faith” was what Phil wished us as he left to go on his sabbatical a few weeks ago and I been thinking about that phrase ever since. I suppose it is the “keep” part that has tugged at me because I firmly believe that “keep” is an active verb. It is something we must work at and practice and stay on top of or it slips away from our grasp. And at times “keep” can be a lot of hard work.
Over the past several months, as we have been weathering the storm of this pandemic, parts of our faith are showing up in the most interesting ways. I believe many of us have experienced grief and longing for what we miss on Sunday mornings as we cannot gather together and others have realized that beyond the experience of worship, Sunday mornings was a time to ground ourselves in ritual and practice.
As we have attempted to replicate elements of our Sunday morning experiences, there are clearly pieces that don’t translate over the internet. For children especially, a live-stream service doesn’t seem to be a medium that they can connect with for their faith formation. And as we seem to be in this pandemic longer than previously thought; we want to offer you ways to connect with God from your home and within your family units.
But perhaps, most of all, we do not want to add one more thing to your “To-Do” list as you are trying to juggle work, home, children, etc Therefore, we have created something that hopefully can fit into the fabric of your lives. This short evening prayer can be done at the dinner table, bedtime, during a car ride, or even during a walk (as long as someone can walk and read at the same time!). The goal is for it to enhance time you have already created in your daily schedules and perhaps give you and your family a few moments of “grounding” to begin your week.
I believe that creating ritual at home – incorporating it into the already established rhythm of our days – allows us to ground ourselves in our faith. And this grounding, or intentional behaviors, makes space for us to come closer to God. In this closeness, we can become more fully the selves God calls us to be. And ultimately, this grounding gives us the skills to be practitioners so that we can share our faith out into the world.
“Taking it Home” is a simple Evening (or anytime) prayer service that you can find on All Souls website each Sunday. It will be under the “Children/Youth/Family” tag. “Taking it Home” will include a scripture reading, music, and prayers. There is also some extra resources for you including some hands-on activities, the “back-story” for the scripture reading and an extra resource for adults explaining some Episcopal tradition, church resources, or Biblical reference you might not have known about. Consider this section, titled “I was wondering what…”, as a tool to equip you to answer some of those wonderfully deep and spiritual questions that kids always seem to have.
We are going to try this out for a couple of months and see how it works for all of you. Please let me know any suggestions or concerns you might have about it because I would love to hear from you – especially the kids!