From the Associate Rector
Last Thursday night, a few families gathered in the Parish Hall for Faithful Families. We ate dinner together and chatted for a while before we got in a group and talked about our guiding image for this Lent and Easter season, the labyrinth. While looking out the Parish Hall window, overlooking the Jordan Court Labyrinth, we talked about the difference between a labyrinth and a maze, and about how labyrinths can sometimes help us calm our bodies and minds down. Then we all went over together and walked the labyrinth. Now, walking the labyrinth in a group can be a challenge, especially when some in the group are eager eight-year-olds, and others are unsteady toddlers. But as we walked, something beautiful happened. When they got to the center of the labyrinth, the more eager among us (who had seemingly been trying to do their best speed walking impression) sat down and waited patiently for everyone else to finish. This was not something that was planned, or that they were told to do. It was their instinct, to sit and rest a while in the center until the last child toddled into the center circle. After spending a moment in the center circle, we followed the path back out and back into the Parish Hall where we made our own mini-labyrinths to take home. Then, we went down to the chapel where we lit candles, sang some songs, and shared some evening prayers. All of this in just (more or less) 90 minutes! Here’s what some parent participants had to say about their experience:
“Faithful families is such a sweet time to connect with other families and slow down a little from the craziness of the day. My favorite part has been the evening prayer in the chapel. It feels truly sacred to be still with those I love most, light a candle and pray/meditate/sing.”
“…the activities were so thoughtful and organized. It was such a treat to be able to just show up and have a relaxed but stimulating evening with other families with young children. Outings with the kids that are both spiritually-rich and low-stress like that are really hard to come by.”
I share this with you because sometimes we may imagine that for children to engage in the life of the church, we have to provide constant, high-energy, entertainment. While I certainly think that type of engagement has its time and place (I am a retired summer camp counselor, after all), it’s a mistake to think that children don’t have the capacity or the desire to simply be included in the practices of our tradition. Things like walking a labyrinth, breaking bread together, lighting candles, and prayer. If we want our kids to grow up to be mature practitioners of Christianity, then we have to teach them how.
If you and your family are interested in an opportunity to engage in the life and practices of All Souls Parish in a fun, hands-on, but also deeply meaningful way, I invite you to join us on April 3rd to help us make the Paschal Candle. Here’s what Phil has to say about why All Souls makes our own candle:
Crafting ritual objects is important to the culture of All Souls. We have made some of our own vestments (the red and purple sets), fashioned our own stations of the Cross, some of our prayer desks, and every year we make those clay crosses. Former All Soulsians attribute this to our “maker culture” and our love of verisimilitude. One of my favorite practices comes from another Episcopal church. Some churches use candles in worship that are filled with oil––we use candles that are made from beeswax. (see: verisimilitude) We replace those candles when they get to be stubs…but rather than throw them away, each year we melt them down to create a new beautiful Paschal candle for Easter and baptismal candles. And, thanks to the imagination and skill of our resident artists, we paint the Paschal candle with a new theme. It takes some work to do this, but melting the candles and making new ones is a really fun and powerful way to get ready for Easter.
We’ll meet in the Parish Hall at 3:00pm on April 3rd to be a part of the long process of making this year’s paschal candle. Each participant will get a chance to make and decorate their own candle to take home as well. I hope you’ll join us! RSVP Here
From the Living Waters Campaign
Living Waters Coffee Conversations
These mostly weekend afternoon gatherings are your opportunity (if you’re not participating in Soup and Story this year) to exchange perspectives, ask your “I’m wondering…” questions, and get information about this season of preparation for future All Souls ministry.
Hosted by parishioners who have opened their homes, these conversations will not include requests for financial commitment. Currently scheduled offerings are open to vaccinated/boosted persons. A masked/ventilated/distanced in-person or Zoom option will be listed shortly.
Sign up for your preferred date, starting March 26, online (click here) or in the narthex on March 27.
You can also sign-up to pray during some hour of the night for the all-night prayer vigil on Maundy Thursday to Good Friday. Sign-up in the Narthex this Sunday.
The Pilgrim’s Path
The Labyrinth at the Stickney’s House
What is a labyrinth?
In trying to start at the beginning, I looked up the definition and was surprised to find that 99% said “complex system of paths or tunnels in which it is easy to get lost”, i.e., maze. To me the labyrinth could be complex, but unlike a maze it has a single path to the center and back. You may dawdle, or turn around, but you are always on the path, just like the path of life.
When did you put in your labyrinth?
In 1999 we decided to enclose all the property of the backyard behind a fence so that I could grow a garden without the deer getting too fat. The lower back property line is actually on a street that kids take to get to Madera Elementary School. We weren’t going to build a fortress wall to have a flat lawn, besides the little hump that makes Devonshire Ct. higher than the Arlington is all rock, hard rock. So, we wanted to contour whatever we were going to do to the topography of the land. I surveyed the backyard and sketched in how the path would around various trees and stumps. Being the last house on the court, our property is pie shaped and the back property line is 135’.
Using this sketch as a map, I walked the path and scraped the dirt with my shoe and Jim followed along with a container of white chalk to mark the upper side of the walkway. We ran out of chalk before we finished, and creative person that I am, I filled the container up with flour. We finished the whole path, which doesn’t exactly look like the above sketch, and Jim started digging the high side down to imprint the path in the dirt. A few days later we realized our white line had disappeared because the racoons had found it and thought it tasted great! My creativity had given them a free lunch.
We had a professional put in the irrigation and first plantings, but since they didn’t do much soil amendment, most of those plants have not survived.
The path of the labyrinth is not a straight line, both in the walking of it and creating it.
Why a Labyrinth?
Not only did it fit the requirements of the land, but there was a lot of hoopla about labyrinths in the late ‘90s and we were even installing one in the courtyard at St. Alban’s, Albany where my husband Jim Stickney was the priest. The one at St. Alban’s was basically done by one man, Bob Essert, a tile saw for the bricks and a trowel. So how hard could it be? Twenty-three years later I am still learning.
The Labyrinth today?
Our older son Jath got a drone for Christmas and we were able to see almost the whole backyard in one shot. This time of year, it is very green and lush. I retired in 2014 from PG&E and then took training to be a U.C. Master Gardener. I probably could have saved many plants that died off if I knew in 1999 what I know now about “growing the soil to grow the plant”. But some things survived and reseeded themselves or I propagated them and now the 1/6 mile walk into the center is mostly all covered in vegetation.
Do we walk the labyrinth?
Joni: It is very difficult for me to walk it as I am always checking the status of the plants or what needs to be clipped back. But when I work in the soil I am at peace, and the beauty that grows up is amazing. I see the labyrinth out the window of where I eat breakfast. I have more than once found myself with a cold cup of coffee while I had spent the time taking in the beauty of what has grown here.
Jim: Joni mentioned the distinction between a labyrinth and a maze. In a labyrinth, there are no “dead ends,” unlike in a corn maze. As always, Wikipedia has a succinct answer:
In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate, confusing structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur, the monster eventually killed by the hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it. Here’s the image from the Wikipedia article:
Imagine that the original labyrinth had very high walls between the paths. The twists and turns of this original labyrinth presumably kept the monster from figuring the way out. So it was a prison for the beast and a challenge for Theseus.
You’ll notice how similar it is to the geometric patterns of church labyrinths. But instead of finding a monster at the center, church labyrinths have at their heart an experience of the sacred. In fact, labyrinths were used in the Middle Ages as a kind of substitute for actual pilgrimages.
Think of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a series of stories that pilgrims told one another while on the way to the tomb of St. Thomas a Becket in the Cathedral at Canterbury. On the Continent, pilgrims such as St. Francis actually could make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Since most people could not undertake such a journey, a sacred labyrinth provided a pilgrimage in miniature. Cathedrals, such as the one at Chartres, provided local pilgrimage experiences.
I’ve been meandering in our backyard labyrinth for more than 20 years. I think of all the changes over those years, and also of what has stayed constant. I walk it in different weathers and different times of day. I have a person who comes to me for spiritual direction, and he walks it each time he arrives before we start our conversation. I’ve done some minimal maintenance of the borders between the paths, including some stained glass stepping stones which provide a kind of short cut for gardening.
So, we’re happy to invite you to come and walk it for yourself. We’re eager to share this garden labyrinth with anyone interested.
Although we have not made access to walking our labyrinth public (we do have gates to keep the deer out) we would welcome anyone who may feel inclined to reach out to us. We can show you the start and you can walk in silence or I could guide you in, pointing out various features and leave you in the center to walk out in silence. We feel it is a little blessing that we want to share.
Joni Stickney firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Stickney email@example.com
Introduction to Jordan Court
Last week, on Wednesday, the staff of All Souls (or most of us, anyway) moved into our new office home at Jordan Court. With all new desks and other furniture, bright airy offices, and windows overlooking the Jordan Courtyard and Cedar Street, it feels like a fresh start. We are still working to get fully settled with some furniture yet to be delivered and full wifi connectivity still outstanding, but we’d love for All Soulsians to have a chance to come check out our new digs. We’re offering the following times as Office Open Houses for anyone who’s interested:
April 6th – 10:00am-12:00pm
April 10th – 1:00pm-2:00pm
April 25th – 5:00pm-6:30pm
You may also be wondering about how to access the Labyrinth in the Jordan Courtyard. The courtyard gate will be unlocked on Sundays from 8:00am-4:00pm for Labyrinth use. Outside of those hours, you’ll need to contact a staff member for an access code to unlock the gate. You’re welcome to use the Labyrinth any time during daylight hours, but please do plan to make prior arrangements to get the code since we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to respond immediately. We hope that you’ll find the Labyrinth to be a useful tool in your prayer life this Lent and for the months and years to come.
Save the Dates
Holy Week Schedule (April 10-17):
April 10, Palm Sunday
- 9a Eucharist
- 11:15a Eucharist
April 14, Maundy Thursday:
- 6p Agape Meal (over dinner)
- 7:30p Holy Eucharist with Foot Washing
- 8:45p all-night Prayer Vigil in the Chapel
April 15, Good Friday:
- Prayer vigil in the Chapel until 7p
- 12-3 Reflective Good Friday service
- 4p Holy Week for Families
- 7:30p Good Friday Solemn Liturgy
April 16, Holy Saturday:
- 9:30a in the Chapel (a simple liturgy)
April 16, Easter Vigil:
- 8:00p the Great Vigil of Easter
April 17, Easter Sunday:
- 9a Eucharist
- 11:15a Eucharist
Join us at 9am, in-person, outdoor service in the courtyard. This service will move indoors if the weather is below 40 degrees at 8:15a, if the AQI is over 150, or if there is rain.
Or (and!) join us indoors for the 11:15 service or on the live stream at 11:15a, which can be accessed through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning. At our 11:15 service, masks are optional.
Then join us outdoors at 5p Sunday Night Service for a Eucharistic Service.
If you miss a Sunday, you can always catch the sermon on our homepage or as a podcast, anywhere you listen to podcasts!
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here, or join us in person in the Nave at 9a. Password: 520218. Masks are required for this service as it is indoors.
Living Waters: Renewal for our Second Century Capital Campaign
The Living Waters team invites you to visit (and bookmark) the new module of the All Souls website to keep track of our campaign efforts, http://www.allsoulsparish.org/capital-campaign/. There you’ll find an overview, FAQs, campaign calendar, resources, and general announcements about our effort. We also invite you to read our first newsletter, if you didn’t already see it in your inbox. We look forward to communicating with you through the website, email, print, and social media in the weeks ahead.
Adult Formation Classes
We have three classes being offered this Sunday:
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Contact Kate Murphy, firstname.lastname@example.org to join that Zoom call, or join them in the Common Room!
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:10a. This Bible Study meets in the Chapel downstairs or on Zoom. Contact Daniel Prechtel, email@example.com to join that Zoom call.
- Reconsidering Sin and Salvation taught by Dr. Scott MacDougall. Contemporary Christianity in the United States often thinks of sin and salvation in one of two ways: it makes them the absolute center of theology and practice, or it downplays them almost to the point of being invisible. What would happen, though, if we reconsidered sin and salvation? That is, what difference might it make if we thought about them more robustly again in places where they have slipped from view, on the one hand, and if we thought about them differently in places where they are almost the sole focus of attention, on the other?
- March 27th – “Sanctification” – we will address what all of this means in terms of Christian life and practice. Throughout the series, these reconsiderations will be based on scripture, theology, and the Anglican tradition, in conversation with our own lives and experiences. Scott will be presenting in person (in the Common Room) and we will also be sharing this via zoom (click here to enter the Zoom call).
Coming Up in Adult Formation
Explore the breadth of mystical experiences in Christian faith communities, and ponder some of the ways the Sacred breaks through into your own life. Co-taught by the Rev. Daniel Prechtel and the Rev. Marguerite Judson, this four week drop in class introduces a wide variety of ways we draw closer to the Holy. There will, of course, be a substantial bibliography provided!
The classes will be held in the Parish Hall (internet permitting) or in the Common Room if the internet is not cooperating, and on our Zoom link [HERE] between 10:15 and 11:05 am.
- April 24 – How do we define mysticism? What are some of its Biblical expressions? What are the practices which can open us to a unitive experience with the divine?
- May 1 – Two medieval mystics who led very different lives conveyed their experiences through visual art, music, and human language. Join us for a quick introduction of Hildegard von Bingen and Dame Julian of Norwich. What are the parallels in our own lives?
- May 8 – Notions about prayer and encounter with the Divine are further stretched when we consider the Cloud of Unknowing, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila and her contemporary, John of the Cross.
- May 15 – Contemporary mystics speak from a wide variety of traditions, including Anglican Evelyn Underhill; Quaker Thomas Kelly; and civil rights activist the Rev. Howard Thurman. What might all the mystics discussed over the four weeks teach us about how the Holy Spirit is moving in our lives and in the world?
Children, Youth, and Family News
Join us this Sunday at 10:00am, for Sunday School! Children Pre-K-Grade 3 will meet out in the courtyard. Grades 4-5 will meet upstairs in the Sunday school classroom.
Youth Group and Office Hours continue this Sunday for youth in grades 6-12. Meet in Maggie’s old(!) office at 10:00am for a donut and check-in, then join us for youth group from 7:00-8:30pm at the Jordan Courtyard entrance!
Join us April 3rd for the Paschal Candle making activity! Read about more upcoming family events in the Children & Family Bulletin.
Other News & Notes
During the 11:15 service on Palm Sunday, All Souls is doing a staged reading “in the round” of the passion of Jesus as expressed in the Gospel of Luke. We are looking for members to participate in the reading. If you are interested, please contact Hallie Frazer ASAP. Catch her before or after choir of the 11:15 service. Or her phone number is in the Church Directory
There is a super easy way to give to All Souls––for either a one-time donation or for your ongoing pledge––that is through an app called Vanco Mobile (what used to be called GivePlus). You can find this app through the app store on your phone. Once downloaded, search for All Souls Episcopal Parish and you’re in! If you’d prefer not to download the app, you can just as easily give online through our personalized online donation page by clicking here.
A Great Way You Can Help a Hurting Friend
Do you have a friend, neighbor, coworker, or relative who is going through a difficult time? Here’s a great way you can help them—tell them about our Stephen Ministry! Stephen Ministers are members of All Souls who have received special training to provide high-quality, confidential, one-to-one, Christian care to people who are grieving the loss of a loved one, coping with a cancer diagnosis, going through a divorce or separation, battling a chronic illness (or caring for a spouse or parent who is chronically ill), experiencing a great deal of stress, facing the loss of a job—or encountering any of countless other life challenges.
Stephen Ministers meet weekly with their care receivers to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts for as long as the person needs care. It’s free, and it’s a powerful way you can help a hurting friend.
To learn how to connect someone you know with a Stephen Minister, talk with Rev. Maggie Foote (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stephen Ministry Leader Madeline Feeley (email@example.com). Our Stephen Ministers are there to care!
Check out Season 5, Episode 13 and our new series on pilgrimage, with special guest, The Rev. Phil Brochard.
A Request from our Friends at Jordan Court
Do you have a hobby or interest that you’d like to share? Are you interested in sharing it with the residents of Jordan Court? If you are, please contact Maggie and let us know what it is! Maybe it’s knitting, maybe it’s gardening, maybe you’re just really good at origami, maybe you like to play music or play cards? If you’d like to share it, we want to know about it!
If you are able to help provide some meals for parishioners in need, please contact Cathy Goshorn to help out! We are in great need at this time to help care for each other––please consider helping other All Soulsians in need by providing meals or gift cards for meals. You can reach Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lenten Pilgrim’s Path Journey
It’s not too late to pick-up your journey through Lent. This year we’re using the image of a labyrinth on which to journey into Holy Week and Easter Sunday (the center of the labyrinth), and then out back into the world through the season of Easter, ending in Pentecost. You can journey with us using our 2022 Lenten Booklet, which provides daily prompts for reflection on this journey (click here to access the booklet).
What is the Catechumenate? The Catechumenate is a class where we teach about the Episcopal Church in an attempt to give an idea of what this Episcopal church and faith tradition are about. Folks who take this class (called Catechumens) will learn from a number of thoughtful people in this community and hopefully get a glimpse of Episcopal theology, history, and structure, as well as how to use the Book of Common Prayer and some ideas on how to read the Bible. The class will meet on the six Sunday evenings of Lent (March 6-April 10) at 7p in person and on Zoom. All are welcome, even if you’ve been an Episcopalian for a long while. But, if you are looking for an introduction to this tradition or are hoping to be baptized (whenever that can happen), Confirmed, Received, or Reaffirmed into this tradition, this is most certainly the class you’ll want to take. I hope that many of you will join this year’s class as we attempt, together, to wrestle with what it means to be an Episcopal sort of Christian in our world. If you have any questions or would like to sign-up, you can write to Emily at email@example.com.
Episcopal Summer Camps––Save the date!
Interested in Episcopal summer camps for your kids? While registration has not yet begun, the dates have been dropped. Check out the latest with all the dates and descriptions of camps!
The Bishop’s Ranch: click here
St. Dorothy’s Rest: click here