From the Rector
A Great Goodbye
According to many, the Parish Hall at All Souls Parish this past Sunday smelled like “a Grandma’s home at Thanksgiving.” The aromas of hot dishes wafted in every direction: potatoes served 47 ways, green bean and still-to-be-named casseroles, ambrosia other jello delicacies and, yes, a chocolate fountain that runneth over, all making it a feast of Midwestern proportions.
Even the warm, steamy air in the Parish Hall seemed trucked in for the occasion: a celebration of Krantzs. After the delicious feast, we cleared space to remember, celebrate, give thanks and wish well. Madeline Feeley hosted the gathering with wit and wisdom, and began by sharing a letter from the Rev. Andrew Walmisley, former Rector of All Souls, who hired Kristin nearly eight years ago.
We then watched one of the most hilarious, touching, heartfelt videos you may ever see. From former seminarians to parishioners in far-off places, to those whose lives Kristin closely touched, it is a remarkable testament to the ministry of the Rev. Kristin Krantz at All Souls Parish in Berkeley. If you weren’t able to be in the Parish Hall this past Sunday (and really, even if you were), clear 15 minutes in your calendar, turn the up the volume and locate your nearest Kleenex box. Prepare to laugh. And be moved. And laugh again.
After the screen faded to black we sang and laughed along to “Plastic Jesus” in honor of Kristin’s love of Christian kitsch, watched a photo slideshow to the sounds of Mumford and Sons’ “The Cave,” played by the Angel Band, and heard newly Krantzified versions of well-loved poetry. Then Kristin and Bryan offered heartfelt and touching words about what it meant for them to lead and participate in this Family of Families. We offered them gifts from this community – of memories and of well wishes and of a purse – all tokens of our love and appreciation. We invited them into the center of the room where we laid hands upon them, and asked for God’s blessing to be with them. It was an emotional, inspiring, uplifting and exhausting day.
And it was just what was needed. Several decades ago, the Alban Institute released a monograph called “Running Through the Thistles.” In it, the author, Roy Oswald, likens the leave-taking of a pastor to running through a field of thistles. Because even as we know that Kristin and Bryan and Zach and Jasper are headed for great things, we also know of the loss we feel at their leave-taking.
In this piece, Oswald talks about leave-taking as a spiritual practice and he wonders if all the ways that we leave might be inter-connected. For instance, he offers that the way we enter and leave parties could be indicative of how we enter and leave communities. Do we make a grand entrance? Do we slip out of the room, hoping to be unnoticed? Do we greet each person as we go? And, he wonders, could all of our goodbyes also serve to prepare us for our own eventual leave-taking from life itself?
With this in mind, I am so thankful to all of those who put such time, effort and attention into our sending Kristin and her family off to Baltimore. Because a good leave-taking is essential for all of us. Without it, it would be a challenge for Kristin, Bryan, Zach and Jasper to do their own work of letting go in order to take on. And for us, without the celebration and outpouring of grief and of love, it would be very hard to begin the next part of our journey: to welcome Liz, Jesse and Alice and the Associate for Children and Youth yet to be called. Saying goodbye well is one of the most important acts we undertake in life.
And so it is that I am deeply grateful for the clear, honest, practical and deeply faithful witness of the Rev. Kristin Nelson Krantz. From her extensive google doc of all the tasks and responsibilities that she has held, to her final sermons and articles, to the last services she presided, to her very presence this past Sunday in the Parish Hall, she held up for us all an incredible gift, humbly offered: a great good-bye.
Thank you Kristin. Godspeed.
A Movie and Conversation
Forgiveness and reconciliation are things we often talk about in the abstract. Three decades ago, Tim Zaal nearly killed Matthew Boger for being gay. The film Facing Fear tells their very concrete story of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Facing Fear retraces the haunting accounts of the attack and the startling revelation that brought these men together. Self-doubt, anger and fear are just a few of the emotions they struggle through as they come to terms with their unimaginable situation. SFGate calls the film “emotionally potent and thoroughly hopeful.”
Facing Fear is playing at the California in Berkeley at 8:20 pm on Tuesday, August 5th as part of the Jewish Film Festival. The director, Jason Cohen, will be at the screening.
If you’re interested in going, drop me a line at email@example.com. We’ll meet up a little before the movie and have an informal discussion afterwards!
New Sound System Coming to All Souls
I am very pleased to announce that our parish is getting a new sound system! The sound itself will be superior to what we have now; the system will be more versatile.
Of course, change cannot happen overnight. Beginning August 4 the present system will be removed from its hiding place at the back of the church, followed by a rebuilding of that area to house a new sound desk that can be rolled into and out of the back wall. This means the rear wall will be open to the narthex for a few days, but we expect the hole to close on Friday, August 8 (or possibly the following Monday or Tuesday.) Construction work is being done by EcoCraft, a Berkeley cabinetmaker that uses mostly recycled wood for its products.
The new equipment will arrive after construction of the cabinet and sound desk, and will be installed and tested by the end of August. Upon completion what you will see is a retracting sound desk at the back of the church plus a new set of loudspeakers suspended from the ceiling. What you will hear is clear, crisp sound from our clergy, lectors, and intercessors.
During the time of construction and installation we will use the parish’s portable sound system. Unfortunately at this time we will not have assistive listening available for our hearing-impaired parishioners. We request that you sit fairly close to the portable loudspeakers in order to hear everything.
As a final note, please be kind to our sound techs as they learn the new system. We will try our best to be highly competent, but we are bound to make a few mistakes in the beginning. By the way, if you have any interest in helping out, working with a modern unit, and joining a very important parish ministry, please see me, call me, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Senior Warden
The Numbers Part of the Story
June was a good month. Well, all months are good in some way, but in this particular way. From past experience in this academic-year-oriented place, we expect vacations to begin to show up in the attendance numbers in June, have full effect in July, and then edge back up slightly in August as the various school years begin.
But the June average Sunday attendance was 220. And for those who are curious about balance between the 9:00 and 11:15 attendance, this month the averages were 97.8 (77-109 range) and 99.6 (91-106 range) respectively.
News on the pledged income/expense balance continues to be good, though as in past months, that’s partially due to some front-loaded pledged giving at the beginning of the year. At the half-way point in the year, pledged giving stands at $234,673, 51.2% of the 2014 expectation. Expenses are at 46.8% of budgeted total for the year.
The biggest news of the month, however, was the Giving Tree response to a $15,000 challenge gift. We met our goal of the 2:1 match with gifts and near-term promises of $30,077. These Giving Tree gifts substantially shrink the gap between the budgeted 2014 income and expenses. A big thank you to all who contributed to this.
Fair Trade Coffee
Making a Debut at All Souls Parish!
We invite you to share in making the decision on which Fair Trade Coffee to serve. Read on…
The decision to go with Fair Trade Coffee is not one we made lightly – there are many factors involved in making this decision, among them:
Purchasing coffee from coffee growers that are paid a fair wage
Choosing organic coffee (and all that ”organic” entails)
But will we like the flavor?
After researching we have narrowed it down to two suppliers that we feel are within our budget. We are offering tastings two Sundays in August. Taste and provide your feedback. Once we have collated the responses we will make a decision and, God willing, be serving fair trade coffee starting this Fall.
Join us this Sunday, Aug. 3 and Aug. 17 after the 9 and 11:15 services to taste and respond.
Your All Souls Hospitality Team
Interfaith Prayer Vigil
Individuals and families are invited to join All Souls’ Outreach team members at the monthly interfaith prayer vigil this Saturday, August 2, 11 a.m. to noon, at the West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Highway in Richmond, CA. This month’s vigil will focus on migrant children.
Also, next week there will be a vigil at the SF Federal Building on Thursday, August 7th, 4 pm – “Listen to the Children Pray: Lifting Prayer for the Migrant Children at the Border.” Read more here.