From the Stewardship Team
Community, Stewardship, and Faith
The word “community” does not appear often in English translations of the Bible, and yet we have a strong conviction that Christianity is a faith of community. This conviction comes not from the word “community” but from the experiences of community that are described and promoted in scripture. Community is an experience; an experience of relatedness that reveals our reliance on one another as a strength rather than a weakness.
The same sentiment can be found Paul’s metaphor of the body. The many letters to the early churches exhorting them to care for one another and the description of the Christian community in the Acts of the Apostles are also reminders of this reality. In each case, what is emphasized is unity of purpose, seeking the common good, and the gifts our interdependence provides.
Unfortunately, these concepts stand in contrast to what we hear and see and experience in our time and place.
In his 2008 book Community: The Structure of Belonging, Peter Block offers his perspective on how groups of people build and maintain an authentic community. To do so, Block posits, we need to engage in transformational conversations that move us from the isolation of self-interest to connectedness and care for the whole. Block defines a leader’s role as framing conversations that bring meaning and clarity to community commitment, possibility, ownership, gifts, and even dissent. Block’s approach is a process that is designed to focus on experience and relatedness rather than on structures, fear, or fault.
The Stewardship Team at All Souls has been working with many of these same concepts. We are committed to stewardship as a way to nurture relatedness, create possibility, and strengthen our commitment to one another and to the whole. We recognize that each of us has a complicate life with many demands beyond the All Souls community, thus stewardship of all that we have and all that we are extends beyond the bounds of those with whom we worship on the corner of Cedar and Spruce. And yet All Souls creates a context, perhaps the context, for intentional work to co-create community that is life-giving, by nurturing a shared future of relational generosity, accountability, and commitment.
If you attended the resource fair in January, participated in Soup and Story during Lent, or are a member of a small group or ministry team, these are opportunities for you to take ownership in the common life at All Souls. I encourage you to consider the following questions and to engage any member of the Stewardship Team in conversation about community, stewardship and our faith.
What is the story about All Souls that you hear yourself telling most often? How does that story feed your sense of connection or disconnection at All Souls?
What commitment are you willing to make to the whole of the All Souls community? What gifts will you bring to that commitment?
What creative possibility do you carry within you? How can you bring that forward at All Souls to transform and inspire the community?
An invitation to dig deeper
Education for Ministry
This past academic year, some of your fellow parishioners participated in a program called Education for Ministry (EfM). EfM is a 4-year adult education program designed to “develop a theologically informed, reflective, and articulate laity who are prepared to listen for and respond to God’s call.”
Every baptized person (this means you) is called to ministry. EfM can help you prepare for your ministry by giving you a theological foundation that supports your faith and helps you to connect your faith to everyday life.
Over the length of the four year program, participants will read both the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, learn about the development of theology and the church, and learn how to integrate your faith into everyday life. You’ll also learn the discipline of theological reflection; a way to look at the world through a theological lens.
Each EfM group meets weekly (roughly following an academic school year) and is led by mentors. Mentors are not teachers, but they facilitate the group’s work.
Cathy Thompson and I are currently for a few more people to join our group for 2017-18. We are looking to begin the next session in the late August – early September time frame.
If you are interested, please see me or Cathy for more information. You can also pick up a brochure in the narthex for more information, or go to efm.sewanee.edu.
I hope to hear from you.
– Stephen Southern
From the Treasurer
Good News. In case you’ve wondered…
Our parish financial situation now, as we transition to summer, is remarkably good. Our total income year-to-date (end of May) is somewhat ahead of 5/12 of what we’ve projected for the year, and the pledged giving part of that is right at 5/12 of expected annual total.
A big thanks from all—to all—who contributed to this excellent mid-year report!
Other details: Expenses are running about 6% less than 5/12 of annual projections. The total of the Identified Purpose Funds is up about $750 from the beginning of the year. The Vanguard Funds have unrealized earnings (i.e. not withdrawn, so this could change before withdrawal) of $36,159 since the beginning of the year.
This is a wonderfully positive picture, a reason for much thanksgiving.
– Marilyn Flood
From the Associate for Youth Ministries
On Monday morning, 15 youth and four adults will meet in the Parish House and start the middle school immersion trip. Youth from All Souls, Christ Church Alameda, St. Stephen’s Orinda, and St. Timothy’s Danville and their youth directors will spend Monday through Friday sleeping in the Parish House and exploring the Bay Area. We will work with Monument Crisis Center, Grace Cathedral, Interfaith Power and Light, the Oakland Museum, and other organizations throughout the week.
We call it an immersion trip because we want the youth to fully immerse themselves in the work, organizations, program, and community. The program will include both study and play! The daily Bible verses give the foundation for activities throughout the day.
This isn’t a trip in the same sense as the high school immersion trip, where we leave the Bay Area. In a way, we’ll travel away from our normal schedules and the rhythms of our normal lives. We’ll be in Concord, San Francisco, Oakland, and of course Berkeley.
There are many reasons why we do this trip and why we do it in this way. Serving organizations in our East Bay community gives youth a foundation in service here before they travel farther from home on the high school trips. The other leaders and I want to give them a chance to serve their local community and to show them how in a new way. Service projects don’t require leaving their hometowns.
We also want to teach and remind the youth that the Episcopal Church is much bigger than any church’s campus. All Souls, Christ Church, St. Stephen’s, St. Timothy’s, and Church of the Resurrection Pleasant Hill all work together to show the youth that their individual groups aren’t the only ones in the Bay. The All Souls youth aren’t alone in going to youth group and participating in their church community.
The leaders want to show and not just tell the youth that our faith is much more than any individual church building or congregation. Our faith is not limited to Sunday mornings. It should extend far past our doors. We are called to do more than go to church on Sundays. We are called to serve our communities. These trips encourage the youth to do that.
On Friday at 4:00 pm, there will be a closing Eucharist. The youth will have some time to share their thoughts on citizenship. I invite you all to join us in that celebration in the sanctuary.
All Soulsians – Come help carry our banner at SF PRIDE!
It’s time to stand together and show that people of faith truly do seek to welcome and love our neighbors as ourselves. The San Francisco Pride Parade is this Sunday, June 25th – Please join us in standing up for and walking with our LGBTQ brothers, sisters and neighbors in Christ. We will meet up at:
10:30 am, Sunday, June 25
AREA: M1 – Main St between Market & Mission, Line-up #138. Look for our All Souls banner near the United in Spirit banner and motorized cable car.*
Please contact Ari Wolfe for details or to sign up: firstname.lastname@example.org
*If you would like to join the contingent but are unable to walk the route, I believe there is room on the cable car – just let me know so I can reserve your space.
All Souls is reading about joy!
Did you come to last Sunday’s first group discussion of The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World? If you missed it, please come this Sunday June 25 to the Parish Hall during the formation hour following the 9:00 am service. Glenn Brown will lead the group in discussing this week’s selection: “Day 1: The Nature of True Joy” (pp. 27-80).
Please come whenever you can, even if you haven’t found time to do the reading. The questions and ideas are so engaging that the discussions will be easy to join. Copies are available at the Berkeley Public Library and in paperback and e-books for about $14. Contact Stephan Quarles if you’d like to borrow one of the copies the parish has purchased for our use.
Please join us!
FAMILY PLAYDATE AND POTLUCK
Parents and children! Come join for a fun playdate and potluck June 24th, 4:30 – 7:00 pm, at the Legrands’ house. The goal is fun, not fancy. Parents, bring your kids, some food or drink to share, and have a laid-back time of fun and connection with other All Soulsians who are in the midst of the adventure of parenting right now. There’s a new (small) trampoline to enjoy, and we will fire up the BBQ. You can RSVP here or email Julie with questions.
BIG SUR CAMPOUT, JULY 14-16TH
Last call (really!) for Camp All Souls!
We’ve had a little shuffling of the camp roster, so there is still a bit more room left. If you would like to send your 5-11 year old kids to Camp All Souls, August 7-11, please sign up online here and pay no later than this Sunday, June 25. Scholarship is still available, too. You can read more about the camp here.
Kids & Baptism
Have your kids been baptized? Would they like to be? While it’s more common for people to be baptized either as infants or adults in the Episcopal Church, kids absolutely can be as well. We’ll be adding an extra date for baptism this year: August 13. It will be unique in that we will have been worshiping with the font as our center all summer, and also because some of the people being baptized will be kids who just spent a whole week immersed in this community as part of Camp All Souls. If this is a possibility you are interested in exploring with your kids, (or for yourself!) just talk to Liz or Phil.