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From the Stewardship Team

Caroline_McCall_2015_125Responding to God’s Generosity

“What does the word generous mean to you?”

I asked this question of the vestry at their retreat in February. The conversation that followed revealed that it held many connotations, ranging from “life-giving” to “given without counting the cost” to “large.” Webster’s College Dictionary offers five definitions that comprise a similar range of meaning – liberal/unselfish, magnanimous, abundant, rich in flavor, and fertile.

Throughout scripture and in my daily life I am reminded that God is generous in all these ways. I experience the liberal and unselfish God in the strength of my body and mind. I enjoy the magnanimous (characterized by a lack of meanness or pettiness) God in the free will that I enjoy. I am the beneficiary of God’s abundant love manifest not only in my relationship with Christ, but also in my experiences at All Souls, in my family, and with friends. I taste the rich flavor of God in the cup that we share with one another in communion. And I am able to use the gifts God has provided for generative and life-giving work and play.

What am I being invited into when I experience and make use of God’s generosity?

This question is at the heart of the work of the All Souls Stewardship team. We are each and all beneficiaries of God’s generous gift of unconditional love and life eternal. Stewardship refers to the way in which we respond to that generosity. W. H. Greever writes, “Christian stewardship is the practice of Christian religion. It is neither a department of life nor a sphere of activity. It is the Christian conception of life as a whole, manifested in attitudes and actions.” This means that all that we do as a people following Christ can be understood as stewardship. It means that all that we have is meant to be used in the service of Christian life through our attitudes and actions.

A generous life is one that is characterized by an unselfish and magnanimous attitude and by actions that share your abundance so that others can experience the rich flavor and fertile/generative power of faith in Christ. I believe that being generous is a spiritual practice – a life-giving practice. As chair of the stewardship team, I hope that you will join me as we work to further develop Christian attitudes and actions that serve as the manifestation of All Souls’ stewardship. I hope that you will find joy in living a generous life – one that is liberal/unselfish, magnanimous, abundant, rich in flavor, and fertile.

My prayer is that as we enter into the annual pledge campaign, each of you will consider how you are invited to respond to God’s generosity in your life, and that meaningful, intentional financial support for the ministries of All Souls will be a significant part of your response. The annual pledge campaign will launch with a catered brunch during formation hour on Sunday September 11th. Please join us for this community gathering. More importantly, I pray that you will find God’s generosity and invitation to stewardship in all that we have and all that we do at All Souls.

– Caroline McCall

WE have to help our world along

isabel gabriel 2A project, known as the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, was being built by a group of developers. After years of telling the community that coal would not be transported through the bulk terminal, in April 2015, community members learned that the developers had secretly cut a deal to export coal through Oakland. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel on Earth. It hurts the health of workers, endangers communities along the tracks, and contributes greatly to global warming and climate change.

I have one question: if we don’t fight back, in the next thirty years will the world be a place we want to live in? Well, that will be answered someday.

But for now we have to shape that answer. The No Coal movement has grown throughout the last year tremendously. You see, coal is particularly bad because it contains mercury and lead. I love Oakland and we need to help it because it is already getting damaged by factory pollution and too many people there are living with asthma and other diseases.

no coal in oakland

All Soulsians rally for No Coal in Oakland

The first action for No Coal that I went to was a family friendly barbecue to get people rounded up for the cause. There were many different people from All Souls. I drew pictures of Oakland in chalk. I also did an interview where I talked about why i don’t want any coal in oakland. There were really good speakers and really good hotdogs and cupcakes and lemonade.

It was very exciting seeing the events play out through the months of No Coal. A day or two before the City Council meeting to make a decision about coal in Oakland there was a music filled event that was pedal powered! I rode a bike with other people from All Souls to help power the stage. The event had many different speakers sharing their feelings about no coal.

bike power

Isabel, right, works hard to power the stage by bike

FINALLY It was the council meeting. They had to set up both overflow rooms. We barely squeezed in. We successfully flooded the chambers! The tension was forming. It was almost time. We listened to speaker after speaker, but i had to get to bed. In the morning it was great to know we passed the ban. It was unanimous!

I decided to join No Coal because the Bay Area is my home and i don’t want to destroy it. God created our world and now WE have to help it along. The success of No Coal is part of the shaping of that future thirty years we were talking about!

– Isabel Gabriel

Welcoming the Stranger

A glimpse of the Middle School Immersion Trip

Last week, middle schoolers from All Souls and four other Episcopal Churches from around the East Bay joined together for the Middle School Immersion Trip, all focused on different ways of practicing “welcoming the stranger.” The energetic crew stayed on the first floor of our Parish House, and went on adventures all over the Bay, serving and learning as they went. Here is a glimpse of their week, narrated by our Associate for Youth Ministries, Jess Powell.

MSIT 1

We used face paint for name tags on Monday. Naturally, we also used the face paint to decorate each others’ faces! We chose a hashtag for the week.

MSIT 2

Standing outside of Children’s Hospital Oakland. We got a tour there on Tuesday and brought snack bags for the kids there.

MSIT 3

Everyone hard at work during one of our stations at All Souls. Here, the youth are working on their elevator pitches about topics where their “deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet” (F. Buchner).

MSIT 4

On Wednesday, we went to Youth Spirit Artworks. We made a labyrinth and decorated thank-you cards for the youth at YSA to send to donors and others. Here, the youth are beginning to paint the labyrinth. Ethan Lowery, the youth minister at St. Stephen’s in Orinda, oversees their work.

MSIT 5

All Soulsians Cloey Klinefelter, Elinor Rees-Hill, and Chloe Howard in front of the YSA mural. They are joined by friends they made on the trip! I told them to take a silly picture.

MSIT 6

The almost-completed labyrinth, which conveniently matches a building near YSA!

MSIT 7

On Thursday, we were given a tour of the Castro by Brother K of St. Dorothy’s the Worker and Rev. Molly of the Diocese of California. Throughout our tour, many of the people we passed looked at us and smiled.

MSIT 8

After standing outside of the GLBT History Museum for several minutes as part of the tour, we were unexpectedly given a free tour of the museum. This was not on our schedule! The man working at the museum saw what we were doing and came out of the museum several times telling us different things (including the prices for a tour) and asking questions. The last time he greeted us, he invited us in for free. It was a remarkable moment and gift.

MSIT 9

Having fun in Dolores Park after our tour of the Castro and lunch!

MSIT 10

Getting a tour of YEAH! (Youth Engagement, Advocacy, and Housing).

Financial Report Reinstatement

This is a restatement of the 2015 Annual Financial Report and supersedes that published in the 2015 Annual Parish Report.

Phoenixes 20s and 30s Formation Hour

Throughout the summer, folks in their 20s and 30s are invited to join the Phoenixes for a special formation hour on Sunday mornings at 10:10. We’ve been discussing different articles and such each week, but this week we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to take a look at a few tracks off of Chance the Rapper’s new album Coloring Book. We’ll take a look at Genius, which annotates every line of his songs (it’s incredible!), and will focus on two of the songs off of his album, it’s worth listening to the entire thing at some point. For those of you who don’t know, both Kanye West and Chance the Rapper have put out Gospel albums this year – super interesting stuff. Here are the links: How Great and Blessings. Meet in the patio off the Parish House (just across the parking lot from the church on Sunday at 10:10am. You can email Emily with questions.