From the Rector
Practices in Discernment
As you may know, this summer we are engaging in two processes of discernment that will have long-term impacts for our parish family. The first is that we are in a search process for the next Associate Rector at All Souls Parish. Kristin, Bryan, Zach and Jasper’s last Sunday with us will be on Sunday, July 27th (save that date for a great big party, more news to come) after which they are driving out to Baltimore, Maryland.
The search team for our next Associate Rector has been diligent in our work: prayer, writing, reading, listening. We have an excellent pool of candidates from all over the United States and are on track for a fall hire. And, remarkably, along the way I received what I consider to be a Godsend in my email inbox.
It was the weekly newsletter from a group of church consultants continuing in the tradition of the Alban Institute. The article was all about discernment, the practice of understanding God’s will. In it the author, Susan Beaumont, reminds us of the need to actively, “free ourselves from inordinate attachments. We must assume an indifference to anything but the will of the divine One as discovered collectively by the group; setting aside matters of ego, politics, personal opinion, and vested interests.”
In this way, it means that we approach these times of great import with a spirit of “unknowing.” If we don’t, she says, pointing to the work of Otto Scharmer, we run the risk of acting from the Voices of Judgment, of Fear, and of Cynicism. By adopting practices whereby we can acknowledge those subliminal forces in ourselves, we have the chance to truly give ourselves over to where the Spirit is guiding. Prayer and candid reflection, and space to own the places in us where these Voices hold sway are critical to being truly open to what (or, in this case, who) is to come. This is a practice that holds just as true for businesses or families: we all need to set aside our unspoken agendas in order to hear God speaking to us.
The second process that we are engaged in this summer is our Strategic Planning process. As I have written about in previous weeks, our intent is to use our current Vision Statement to discern two to three areas of emphasis that we will give ourselves to in the next couple of years. This Sunday, June 8th, at the 10:10 hour we will be introducing the guideposts and schedule for this process that will unfold over the next three months.
Wouldn’t you know it that in my email inbox in the past several weeks, also from these same consultants, came this article on congregational discernment. In this reflection, John Wimberly shares from his experience at a congregation facing a similar moment of trying to understand where God was calling that group of Christians.
Once again, critical to the process was a stance of indifference, or unknowing, what might be called non-attachment in the Buddhist tradition. In order to be truly open, he writes, we have to strive for this space of unknowing. Only then can we experience what God wishes us to know. What I am hoping is that as we all participate in this process over the next several months, that we as a body and as individuals, we can cultivate this stance.
If we are mindful of what we bring to this moment in our parish’s life: the judgment, the cynicism, and the fear, alongside the faith, the hope and the love, then I trust that we will be able to listen. Because in my experience as a disciple, a follower, every time that I have given myself over to truly listening for God’s pull at critical times in my life, I have been met by a sense of what direction to head. It is my prayer, then, that we as members, and we as a body, enter this time of discernment with open hearts, laying aside our attachments, and listening for where God is leading us next.
Come learn about the Strategic Planning Process this Sunday!
We have an awesome Vision Statement that describes the congregation we want to be in 5 years’ time – now we are moving to decide what bold initiatives we will undertake to live into that Vision. We are kicking off a process to involve the whole community in discerning what we feel particularly called and capable to do in the next 18-24 months – what our key initiatives will be in addition to all that we do today. Come learn about the goals, timeline, and most importantly, your role to play in discerning what these two or three initiatives will be. So that everyone can participate, this meeting will replace Adult & Youth Formation and be held Sunday, June 8th at 10:10am in the Parish Hall. We look forward to seeing you there.
From the Associate Rector
Caring for All Souls
A little over a year ago we rolled out a new way of doing clerical pastoral care at All Souls. We formed a Team of all the clergy, those on staff as well as assisting priests, to do in a more intentional and organized way what we have always done – care for all souls. We designated the Associate Rector as the Coordinator and asked that pastoral care requests go through said Coordinator to be matched with a clergy point person. This was a big change from the more informal structures of casual coffee hour conversations and calling solely on the Rector first. What have we learned? We’ve learned that setting up a new way of accessing pastoral care hasn’t been a barrier to people having someone with them when they are in need. We’ve learned that the broad breadth of areas of expertise of our members of our team of clergy means we can match people’s needs in deliberate and profound ways. And we’re starting to come to learn that in order to truly be a Team we need to sit down together regularly.
Thus it was that at last month’s All Ministry Meeting the Clergy Pastoral Care Team joined with all the other ministry groups for our large group opening education session and closing reflection session – meeting together in between. It was a good time for us to pray together, to catch up on the relationships we hold in the parish, and to begin to work on how the Team will hold this ministry through the transition to the next Associate Rector. We will meet again next month to ensure that structures are in place and the Team is ready to both continue to care for this community and welcome in a new colleague. I ask that you please hold Don, Daniel, Paula, Horace, Ruth, Michael, Joseph and Phil in your prayers, being assured that we are always holding All Souls in ours.
Yours in God’s peace, Kristin+
June 8 – Pentecost ~ Sunday School class pictures
June 15 – Sunday School
June 22 – Sunday School
June 29 – Sunday School Recognition – certificates and class pictures distributed
July 6 – Summer Sunday School Combined Class begins!
Big Sur Camping – Sign Ups NOW!
Join fellow parishoners for a relaxed weekend of fellowship and fun!
The Santa Lucia Chapel and Campground, a mission of All Saints Parish in Carmel, is a private and secluded campground in the gorgeous BIG SUR area. The campground itself is right on the Big Sur River and has a family friendly beach area.
The campground has running water and toilets (but no showers), picnic tables, a group barbecue area and a large campfire circle. A communal dinner will be prepared for all on Saturday night, but otherwise meals are individual responsibility. The weekend will be framed with Evening and Morning prayer, and an informal Sunday Eucharist in the outdoor chapel.
There are ocean beaches within driving distance for those who want to venture out. In general this weekend is a time to relax, play in the river and on the beach—and for the kids to roll in the dirt!
The campground is reserved from 1:00 pm on Friday through 1:00pm on Sunday.
The cost is $30 per person for the weekend (children under 5 stay for free).
To reserve your spot you must sign up and pay in full no later than June 9th!
Paper sign-ups will be at the May 18 Continuing the Feast and going forward beginning May 19 you will be able to sign up via email or through a link which will be posted in the blue sheet, on the website, and in the Pathfinder.
Questions? And to register, contact: Jeannie Koops-Elson or The Rev. Kristin Krantz
(firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)
or sign-up here.
Being Christ’s Hands in the World
Immigration Vigil this Saturday, June 7
“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I the LORD am your God.” Leviticus 19:34
Last Advent I led a four-week Formation Hour course on “Welcoming the Stranger.” The Old and New Testaments are filled with stories of migrants (Abraham, Jacob, the Israelites, Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, the Apostles, and many more) traveling to distant lands, as well as exhortations to welcome the stranger and to provide refuge to foreigners and exiles. What do these exhortations mean in the contemporary context, especially given the challenges that immigrants, both documented and undocumented, face living in the U.S.? How are we called as followers of Christ to respond to the stranger in our midst? What might our response entail? These were some of the questions that informed our study and discussion.
During the third week, we were joined by a United Church of Christ pastor, Rev. Deborah Lee, who told us about her work leading the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights. She invited us to attend a monthly interfaith prayer vigil to support immigrants being held at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond – just ten miles from All Souls.
Now, on the first Saturday of every month, a growing number of All Souls members join members of other faith communities (Catholics, Jews, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Unitarians, Episcopalians, and many others) to pray, to sing, to bear witness to the pain, suffering and separation experienced by the immigrant men and women currently being held in detention, and to call for fair and just immigration policy. Each month the vigil is designed and led by leaders of a different faith community. What is striking to me, having attended several of these, is how all of our faith traditions – Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, and others – call upon us to welcome strangers and aliens in our midst.
In addition to prayer and song we also listen to testimonials offered by family members and friends of people currently being held at the facility or by recently released immigrants who are awaiting a hearing to determine their legal status. In March, we heard from a man who was finally released on bond after spending 8 months in the detention center. He is currently awaiting deportation after spending more than 25 years working, paying taxes, and raising a family in the U.S. He told us that he had just celebrated the birth of his first grandchild, who was at the vigil along with two of his children and other family members. And he described the pain that he and all of the members of his family are experiencing as a result of the threat of separation.
Near the end of each service, instead of a moment of silence, there is a sacred “moment of noise” when drums beat, tambourines shake and those gathered hoot and holler so that the people within the walls of the detention center know we are there, we are praying for them, we are advocating for them, and they are not forgotten. A hospitality table sits off to the side, offering refreshments, helpful resources, and a listening ear to people who are visiting family members and friends held inside the facility.
Currently there are 100-150 people being held at the West County Detention Facility for deportation. This facility is one of 250 detention centers across the country. Immigrants picked up in one part of the country can be sent to any facility in the nation, hundreds or thousands of miles from family and friends. Charged with a civil offense, and not a “crime,” immigrant detainees do not have a right to a lawyer and can be held indefinitely while awaiting a hearing before a judge. A recent New York Times article describes the conditions immigrant detainees endure, which include isolation and even unpaid work cleaning bathrooms and hallways or preparing meals that are then shipped to nearby jails and homeless centers.
Other initiatives in support of immigrant detainees (a visitor program for detainees who are hundreds or thousands of miles away from loved ones; a post-release program to provide food, shelter and transportation to immigrant detainees released on bond but who don’t have family in the area) are being developed and we are exploring ways that members of All Souls can be part of these. The next interfaith vigil will be this Saturday, June 7, from 11 am to 12 noon at the West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Highway in Richmond, CA. Please join us, if you can!
– Christine Trost, Chair, Outreach Ministry
From the Stewardship Team
Giving Tree Opportunity
Thanks to your participation and support, some wonderful things are happening at All Souls … and you can help keep them coming! We hope you will join us in supporting the growth of the parish with a gift of $200 or more to our “Giving Tree Gift Appeal.” And thanks to a generous matching donor, if you act now, your gift will have added impact!
Through this Appeal, the Stewardship Team on behalf of the Vestry hopes to raise at least $45,000 before July 1. And one of our fellow parishioners has offered $1 to match every $2 gift, up to $15,000.
Since 2010, average Sunday attendance at All Souls has grown from 217 to 234, and our worship, fellowship, and educational offerings for all ages have expanded significantly. As our community grows, so can we all grow in our understanding and practice of Christian ideals. And as we grow in number, in strength, and in understanding, we can have that much a greater impact on the world around us.
Of course, with the growth of the parish also comes new challenges – including the need for greater support in communications and community building, expanded support for family ministries and pastoral care, and more services to accommodate the growing numbers of worshippers.
With your help, we have met these challenges head-on, and are prepared to continue to meet them into the future. We’ve expanded our staff, adding a half time Parish Life Coordinator, and increasing our Associate Rector position from three-quarter to full time. We have added a third Sunday service and a Sunday morning Formation Hour that provides opportunities for people of all ages to deepen their spiritual understanding and prepare them to live more fully as Christians in this world.
We believe, along with the Vestry, that the work God has called this community to do is important enough that we stretch ourselves toward the ideals set out in our vision statement. We are what God has made us. We have what God has given to us. We strive to live and give in the spirit of love and generosity that God has shown to us. We give to this community so that we might be nourished, strengthened, and formed to be Christ’s hands in the world.
The Stewardship Team – David Rolf, Katie McGonigal, Mark Anderson, Nancy Austin, and Malcolm Plant
High Schoolers Putting Faith in Action
Please sign the Petition
Hello everyone. My name is Riley Cooke, and next year my sister, Julia, and I will be seniors at Bishop O’Dowd. This is a short message about the new teacher’s contract that the Catholic Diocese of Oakland has drawn up for all its high schools, O’Dowd included. In 2012 the Supreme Court upheld what it calls the “ministerial exception” for Catholic school educators. This new contract now defines our teachers at O’Dowd as ministers, meaning that their job requirements now include – more prominently than before – that they teach and uphold the values of Catholicism in their professional lives. Now that teachers are under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Diocese because of this ministerial exception, their legal protection is weakened. Additionally, the new contract states that teachers must model and uphold values of the Catholic Church in not only their professional but also their personal lives. Thus it is now easier – hypothetically – for a teacher to be fired for being gay, having had sex out of wedlock, having an abortion, etc. While that is unlikely to happen, this contract, with its ministerial exception and its morality clause, opens the door for the possibility of that happening.
O’Dowd students, parents, and friends have rallied in the past month against this contract. Just this past week there was a demonstration outside the gates of O’Dowd. We have made the news several times. Recently, Bishop Michael Barber met with some select O’Dowd students and faculty to discuss our concerns. He has repeatedly said that he is not trying to start a “witch hunt,” and that he supports the diversity of O’Dowd’s teachers, many of whom are non-Catholic and some of whom are gay. After all the outcry, the Bishop is considering lessening his commitment to the new contract. A number of O’Dowd teachers have resigned because they refused to sign the contract, but some have said they may return should the contract be revised. The diocese is listening to us but we want to make sure our concerns get specifically answered.
So spread the word. We are trying to keep the pressure on the diocese so that we make sure the contract language is clarified – perhaps a band-aid fix while the contract is revised – and ensure that our teachers have proper protection. You can express your hope and support for clarifying the language by writing a respectful letter or email to the Bishop (if you do, you must address him as Your Excellency, Most Reverend Michael C. Barber). You can also sign the student petition or the parents’ petition. Join the parents’ Facebook group, which is called Friends of Oakland Diocese Teachers. Lastly, you can raise awareness by telling everyone you know in person and via social media.
From the Hospitality Team
Interested in a Summer Internship?
The All Souls Hospitality Ministry is looking for some summer interns to help us keep our Coffee Hours running smoothly while Team Members take vacations this summer.
This is an opportunity to dip a toe in the waters, test drive a new ministry, meet some new and very fun people, add to your life skills. Just for a few Sundays. Not even consecutive Sundays (unless you want them to be). In June, July and August. What ever time you have to offer.
Helpful skills to have going in:
• willingness to give roughly 90 minutes of your time on a Sunday morning
• understanding of tablecloth application
• ability to transfer food from containers to serving platters
What you will learn:
• where to find things in the All Souls kitchen
• what plants are on the grounds of All Souls that are useful for food / table display
• how appreciative the ASP community is of your work
• learning to think on your feet
• slicing bagels
• how to make a little go a long way (aka – the loaves & fishes maneuver)
All ages are welcome. No baking required (although always a nice to have).
Please contact Pat Jones via this FB post/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org / cell: 510-915-0311