From the Rector

A New Season to Come

Roughly five and a half years ago, shortly after I arrived as the 12th Rector of All Souls Parish in Berkeley, I came to a conclusion. I had only been working with the Rev. Kristin Krantz for a short time, but it quickly became abundantly clear that she was a gifted, dependable, conscientious, and faithful priest and colleague. So, I attempted to strike a deal with her: that, when the time came, we would both retire from All Souls.

She laughed, said “sure,” and on we went. While I was making this offer as a way to, in part, humorously acknowledge the transitory nature of the calls that priests accept as part of ordained life (it would be a rare situation to retire from your first position), it was also an initial attempt to let Kristin know of her value to the life of this parish. Since then, I have joined many others in regularly thanking Kristin for the remarkable and varied gifts she has shared with us for over seven years. And so, it is with a deep sigh that this past Sunday we shared with the parish that it has come clear – the “deal” is off.

As many of you know, Kristin and her husband Bryan found their way to Berkeley in the fall of 2006 when Bryan accepted a joint appointment as a professor in the departments of Chemistry and Molecular & Cell Biology at Cal. Bryan has excelled in his field of microbial pathogenesis and biophysics, through his research, teaching and writing. And, after many months of discernment, he has accepted a position with the University of Maryland through their Dental Schools in Baltimore.

As timing would have it, this all came to fruition for Bryan and Kristin just as Kristin was finishing her recent sabbatical. When she emerged from the wilds of Sabbath, she shared this bittersweet news with the congregation this past Sunday. The plan at this point is for Kristin to stay on the staff at All Souls through the month of July, after which she, Bryan, Zach and Jasper will pack up and move out to Baltimore.

As you might expect, this has been hard news to accept for all of us – parishioners and staff, children, youth and adults. Such is the breadth and depth of ministry that Kristin has shared with us. And yet, as Kristin herself has pointed out at every turn, it does come at a time when we are poised to absorb it and through it come to understand where God is leading us next.

As I shared in a recent Pathfinder article, one of the first lessons that I learned as a newly ordained priest came from a long time member of St. Paul’s in Walnut Creek. When talking about the many priests who had served that congregation for well over a century, she said, “You know Phil, the priests come and go. The people stay.” It is a statement that has much truth in it, whether we like it or not.

And even though times like this are difficult, as we are beginning to take in the loss of a beloved priest, colleague, teacher, reconciler, preacher, pastor and collector of righteous kitsch, I also trust that this offers us the opportunity to learn where God is in our midst anew. Because there is something that is moving and guiding among us and I believe that there will be others who see this, much as Kristin did over seven years ago. Through prayer, conversation, discernment and dedication we will be able to hear God’s voice and call another faith-filled leader to serve with us. Through my initial conversations with Bishop Marc and the Canon to the Ordinary, the Rev. Stefani Schatz, I know that there will be many who wish to join us on this meaningful, intense, risk-filled, and joyous Christian path.

To that end, the Vestry will be working with me to gather a search team in the next few weeks and we will begin the work of preparing a description of the ministry that we are hoping someone will undertake with us. In and through it all I am asking that we, as a people and as persons, include this time of transition in our prayers. Prayers for Kristin and Bryan and Zach and Jasper, as they prepare to move to new work, and school and home. And prayers for All Souls Parish as we seek to learn more about who God is calling us to be in this place and time, and for the priest who will come to join us in this way.


From the Music Department

Noticing Subtlety

Lent brings so many obvious changes with it. Right off the bat: the Ash Wednesday service always begins in silence, and goes on from there with plainsong psalms, silence after the Gospel, a spoken Lord’s Prayer, and the like. On Sundays, of course, it’s not quite as stark: we begin with an almost-but-not-yet exuberant introit chant, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, evolving from a simple unison tune to eventually become the great acclamation that begins our Palm Sunday liturgy, when we’ll have all the instruments and all the exuberance we can muster.

Can you hear it coming? It’s not there yet, but is just out of earshot, out of sight, over the horizon.

The other things we do to mark our Sundays begin with the placement of the Confession right at the start. In fact, last week we began with the Decalogue (a venerable old word for the Ten Commandments, coming from the Greek deka logoi, literally ‘ten sayings’), while we will have a simpler beginning moving forward. We sing the Trisagion (another Greek word, ‘thrice holy’), which we sing thrice, giving us a trinity of trinities, and another venerable mystical part of our faith.

So while we foreground our penitence, we move forward into what remain always Sundays in Lent, not of Lent. As every Sunday is still a celebration of the Resurrection, we don’t count them toward the 40 days of the season.

The other notable change is our Eucharistic Prayer, a stunningly poetic prayer from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Its language is new to us, yet grounded in tradition, and structurally it is a bit different, with our participation responsively within the prayer. I was particularly struck with the language that points so clearly to the Sanctus (‘Holy, holy, holy Lord’); so much that I was inspired to write a new Sanctus based on the familiar Trisagion that begins the liturgy.

Read it carefully:
As we stand at the foot of the cross today, we can only wonder at the depth of your
love, and bow down and worship…
As the Hosanna at the entrance points to the start of Palm Sunday, this prayer puts us in place at the cross, the place we reach later in Palm Sunday with the reading of the Passion Gospel. In fact, after the Sanctus ends, “Hosanna in the highest,” the prayer continues:
The crowds came out to see your Son, yet at the end they turned on him.

This, friends, is visceral, profound, poetic language. Some of the changes we make are obvious; others are more subtle. The same is true of how we practice this season: for many of us it’s the Restoration Project’s 20+1+4 Lenten Challenge. For some, following this path is a major change; for others, it’s more subtle. Whether it’s 20+1+4, Lent Madness, attending the Lenten Series on Wednesday evenings, or something else, I invite you into a mindful practice this season. It’s not too late to start, and that mindfulness will attune us to subtleties we’ve never noticed before, both in our own lives and in the world around us.

Christopher Putnam
Associate for Liturgy and Music

Hearing Voices of the Holy Land

Preparation in Lent

Lent reminds us of Jesus’ withdrawal to the desert wilderness to prepare for his public ministry. For me, Lent also awakens my love of the desert where I grew up and of my own call to ministry.

Our Sunday School pastor was correct. He said our Nevada desert was like the Holy Land, the land where Jesus and the prophets had walked. And so, when I actually arrived in the Holy Land, I was not surprised to feel that I had come “home.” The desert air was clear; bright sun was everywhere and the expansive blue sky was ringed at the horizon with colorful mountains. It reminded me of the Nevada desert – a place of beauty and health, a place where I could focus my thoughts, pray, gain clarity, and gather strength.

Despite the desert similarities, the Holy Land today is a land of conflict and struggle, bombs and victims, destroyed homes and farms, soldiers and tanks and walls. It is also a land where many groups are working for human rights, justice and peace. In 2005 and 2009, I traveled with interfaith delegations to support peace efforts, provide nonviolence training, and learn more about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I wanted to hear directly the Voices of the Holy Land, to share peoples’ homes, and to worship with them. We met with Jewish and Palestinian groups: settlers, home rebuilders, nonviolent protesters against the wall, olive and grape farmers, victims of bombings, soldiers and veterans, and with Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith leaders and congregations. Our time with Palestinian Christians included many Episcopalians, especially when we stayed at St. George’s Cathedral and when we met with Sabeel and its founder, a Palestinian Episcopal priest.

Have you heard Voices of the Holy Land? Talked with Palestinian Christians? With Jewish Israelis and American Jews who are working for peace in the Holy Land? With African American pastors and human rights leaders who relate the Palestinian struggle to the legacy of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela? These are some of the voices who will be speaking at the local Sabeel conference this month. There will be Christian, Muslim, Jewish and secular leaders, scholars and activists discussing the current situation in Palestine/Israel. You can attend plenaries, workshops and exhibits; converse at meals; enjoy poetry and music; and participate in worship.

There is still more to learn, more to question and to discuss. This Sabeel conference is part of my Lenten journey in the desert. Won’t you join me?
A Sabeel Conference
Friday, March 21, noon – Saturday, March 22, 4pm,
Christ the King Church, Pleasant Hill, CA.
Registration, Information, & Directions:
BART shuttle provided from Pleasant Hill station

Episcopal Church Connections with Sabeel
• The Episcopal Diocese of California is a co-sponsor of the local Sabeel conference.
• Sabeel is an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians who seek a just peace based on two states as defined by international law and the United Nations.
• The Rev. Naim Ateek, founder-director of Sabeel, is a Palestinian Episcopal priest educated in Berkeley at the Graduate Theological Union and author of a Palestinian liberation theology.
• Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Sabeel’s Patron.
• Friends of Sabeel – North America works with American churches to co-sponsor regional educational conferences, alternative pilgrimages, witness trips, and international gatherings in the Holy Land.
• The Rt. Rev. Edmond (Ed) Browning, former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA, is the President and a founder of Friends of Sabeel—North America.

– Janet Chisholm

New Formation Classes

The Practice of Forgiveness

When I was training to become a chaplain, it is was an accepted truth that whatever issue you needed to work on would present itself in the form of a person. Time and again, I encountered individuals whose lives pressed me more deeply into my learning. For me this was proof that the Spirit of God was at work bringing various people together at just the right moment. It is in the spirit of that training that I received the request from the Sunday formation committee to “teach something about forgiveness during Lent.” Since it was still before Christmas, I readily agreed. The formation class was months away and I figured “something” would come to me.

However, after Epiphany as Lent starting to appear on the horizon, I began asking more questions in the secret hope of uncovering the misunderstanding about my personal story that had led people to the false belief that I had some kind insight to offer about forgiveness.

“Why did you choose me and why forgiveness?”

“ Oh, I don’t know, we just thought you seemed like the right person to ask to teach about forgiveness.” No guile, no long explanation, no rueful admission that the person they really wanted had been too expensive or unavailable – just a feeling. Was this the kind of “feeling” that is the prompting of the Spirit? Was forgiveness being placed in front of me for a reason? Was this God’s way of saying, “I thought it would be good for you and me to spend some time in the wilderness this Lent.”

I hope so because it is in that hope that I will be leading a four-week program I am calling the Practice of Forgiveness. I am interested in using our time together to reflect on the lived practice of forgiveness in our lives as Christians in the 21st century. We will explore our mandate as Christians to forgive one another as we have been forgiven with reference to images and texts from scripture. We will be using actual events from the news and from personal stories (don’t worry not your personal stories) to give particularity and grounding references to our reflection. We will explore both offering and receiving forgiveness, the relational contexts of forgiveness, the relationship of time to forgiveness, and forgiveness at the end of life. For me this class is an invitation to gather together my thoughts about, and experiences of, forgiveness and to evaluate, measure, and inspire our practice of forgiveness. Interested in joining me?

– Michael Lemaire

Michael’s class will meet in the Common Room

Also starting this Sunday:

Kissing the Leper: Our Response to Homelessness and Poverty – If you live in the Bay Area, you’ve encountered homelessness and poverty regularly. How do we, as followers of Christ, respond when we see people around us who are in need? What do we imagine is the “ Christian” response? What do we think when we see a homeless person? This 4-week class will explore the reality of being homeless and homelessness the the Bay Area. We’ll also discuss Biblical views of poverty and what we think a Christ-like response should be to the questions of homelessness and poverty. Is there a disconnect between what we see on the streets and what we see in our popular culture and in our church? This class will be led by Stephen Southern who has been involved with Dorothy Day House for over three years. Guest speakers will included J.C. Orton, a Catholic Worker with his own ministry “Night on the Streets”, and Sara Gunter along with some of our youth who will speak of their experiences encountering extreme poverty. Kissing the Leper will meet in the Parish Hall.

The Hard Questions: Parenting with Doubt, Faith and Wondering – Led by Rev. Kristin Krantz. The purpose of this 5 session course is to create a space for parents (and others) to engage in the hard questions of the life of faith – their children’s and their own. A big part of ‘spiritual parenting’ is sharing wisdom – those things that have and have not worked for us as parents. So a part of each class will be the invitation to share their experiences as we explore and practice different ways of engaging theological reflection with children. The Hard Questions will meet in the Chapel.

Lenten Practices

This week the Lenten Challenge offered ideas for how to practice contemplative prayer:

Be still, and know that I am God” -Psalm 46:10

There are many ways to engage in Contemplative or Centering Prayer. For today, here are the basics:
Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
Sit comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God.
When engaged with your “thoughts” (words, feelings, images, etc.), return gently to the sacred word.
At the end of the prayer, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Episcopal Relief and Development provides concrete, tangible support to communities around the world:

Healing a Hurting World ~ Supporting Episcopal Relief & Development this Lent

The 2nd Week of Lent ~ Creating Economic Opportunities and Strengthening Communities
Episcopal Relief & Development addresses the root causes of poverty by creating income-earning opportunities for families.

• We provide micro-finance opportunities, including savings and credit circles that allow individuals and groups to start or expand small businesses and cooperatives.
• We train people to become effective marketers, managers and leaders of their own small businesses.
• We ensure that traditionally marginalized and vulnerable – such as girls and women, people impacted by HIV/AIDS including children orphaned by the disease and people living with disabilities – receive education and tools to support themselves.