From the Rector

Tokens of Trust

There are times in life when the best way to articulate our faith doesn’t actually involve words. We are gifted to follow a tradition that has used many means over millennia to come to close to God––words of praise and lament and thanksgiving and petition and confession have been essential––and, sometimes we have needed something to look at or hold on to as we have navigated the turbulent waters of this world. 

The rosary (or prayer beads) are simply stones or wood connected together, but through practice they can help us anchor our hearts and minds as we seek to find that elusive still, small voice. A clay cross is a ceramic disc with etching, but in the right hands it can help to ground our anxieties as we pray, reminding us that we are not alone in our desire for communion. Icons are paint on wood, but they can help us perceive aspects of the mysteries of the Divine that otherwise can seem feel beyond us.

All of these are physical objects of our Christian faith, tokens of our trust in God. And like any token, they can only stand in for the faith in the Unseen, but they can be vital to our practice of the Christian way. And often these objects can help to put into words something that can feel very personal and challenging to describe.

In our upcoming session of our ongoing series Breaking Bread and Building Bridges Sunday, March 14th from 2p-3:30p, on a Zoom screen near you, we will once again be gathering with folks from St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church and Congregation Beth El. (Sign up for the session at this link:

You’ll receive the Zoom login information after you sign up as well as a reminder email with the link on the day of the session.)

During this time together we will be sharing about our tokens of trust, the ritual objects of our lives to help tell the story of our religious identity. As we have done in the past, every small group will have people from each congregation so that we can gain insight into the experiences of others whose realities are meaningfully different from our own. My hope is that along with the ritual object we bring, we will also carry with us a curiosity about the practices and beliefs of those we have been traveling with the past couple of years.

If you have participated in several Breaking Bread, Building Bridges sessions before, or this will be your first time, all adults and teens of All Souls are invited to join in the conversation. And in the days until the 14th, regardless of whether or not you will be able to attend, give this some consideration. If you were going to talk with someone about the faith you hold, what token of trust would you choose? What story of faith would it help you share?



Lenten Reflections

Walking Through the Wilderness of Lent: Daily Reflections

As most of you know by now, this year we are holding a practice for Lent of daily prompts with reflections on that prompt by an All Soulsian. This week we heard from Cathy Goshorn, Jeannie Koops-Elson, Forrest Sedgwick, and Kim Wong. Tomorrow we’ll hear from All Souls alum Holly Quarles, and then one of our youth, Ronan Ereneta to close out the week. If you have missed any of the reflections, there’s no time like the present to pick up this practice of reflecting daily during Lent with fellow parishioners. Click here and scroll down to the numbered boxes to see the reflections (click on the purple boxes for reflections that have been done already; the grey boxes are the days of Lent that have not yet come).

From the Associate for Music

Composer of the Week

Note: this piece is based on our Composer of the Week feature, which appears every Sunday in the back of the bulletin for the 11:15am service!

Our 11:15am service this coming Sunday, March 7, will feature a spiritual called “Nobody knows the trouble I see” (not to be confused with the more famous “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen”), in an arrangement for solo soprano and piano by Betty Jackson King (1928–1994). King grew up in the vibrant Black musical scene of early twentieth-century Chicago. In the years before her birth, the city had seen an influx of thousands of African Americans (particularly from the U.S. South), which sped the growth of Black institutions such as libraries, newspapers, churches, private schools, and symphony orchestras. In 1919 the city hosted the first national convention of the National Association of Negro Musicians. Among the Black musicians enriching Chicago’s artistic life by the late 1920s were Thomas A. Dorsey, one of the first to integrate the techniques of blues into gospel music; Florence Price (recently moved from Arkansas), who would become the first Black woman to win international renown as a composer of art music; and a teenage Margaret Bonds, who in 1933 would become the first Black pianist to solo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (and would go on to enjoy her own distinguished career in composition).

King was first trained by her mother Gertrude Jackson Taylor, a respected local musician and community leader; by the 1940s, she, her mother, and her sister Catherine were performing as the “Jacksonian Trio.” After completing a B.A. (Piano) and M.M. (Composition) at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, King embarked on parallel careers in education and composition. She taught at both high-school and university levels and received a Teaching Recognition Award from the governor of New Jersey. As a composer she left a substantial catalogue of sacred music that includes large-scale works like the “biblical operas” Saul of Tarsus (written as her master’s thesis) and My Servant Job, the Easter cantata Simon of Cyrene, and a Requiem, as well as smaller-scale choral works and spiritual arrangements. She also showed dedication to professional service through a term as president of the National Association of Negro Musicians.

The spiritual “Nobody knows the trouble I see,” which Sarita and I are performing on Sunday in King’s arrangement, is distinct from the more famous “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” The latter, better-known piece (shown in the first image below) was originally published as “Nobody knows de trouble I’ve had” in Slave Songs of the United States (1867), the first published collection of spirituals in the U.S. The piece King arranged (shown in the second image below) was first published in Jubilee songs: as sung by the Jubilee Singers, of Fisk University (1872). The differences between these two similarly titled spirituals are especially significant during this current season of Lent. The more famous “Nobody knows…I’ve seen” uses a major-mode melody and includes a shortened form of the word “Hallelujah,” which in our tradition is suppressed from Ash Wednesday through the Easter Vigil. However, the piece we are offering on Sunday, “Nobody knows…I see” voices a petition more fitting for the season: “Sisters/brothers will you pray for me, and help me to drive old Satan away.”

On Adult Formation

Gaining a New Perspective

Phil Brochard and Jeannie Koops-Ellison are teaching an Adult Education class on Old and New Testament stories and how they relate to one another.  I came away from the first class with a whole new perspective on things.  The stories that week were Genesis 1 and John 1.  In his translation of Genesis, Robert Alter writes: “When God began to create heaven and earth…:  suggesting that creation was ongoing – before Time as we think of it.  

John says “In the beginning was the word…”  I think of God as something there eternally and present in all of us including the other animals and the waters, the rocks and those stars which are constantly dying and being born.  Relating the New Testament story puts Jesus Christ back before the beginning and after the ending.   That was the piece that I’d never quite understood.  This is clearly not something with adequate words.  It’s more of a feeling than a thought – like most spiritual matters.  I’m looking forward to the remaining two classes in this series.  

Phil mentioned at the beginning of the class that one’s view of the world depends on one’s perspective with an example of the way the Big Dipper appears to us from a particular viewpoint and the very different perspectives that can be held.  This is surely true about most things in life – particularly in this new world we’re in.  I intend to go to the remaining two classes in this series because I know that I will again see other perspectives than I had before.  I urge you to come to class on the following two Sundays (10:10 am) because I don’t think you want to miss an opportunity to gain a different perspective.

––Gert Allen

Streaming Services

Sunday Mornings: Join us at 9am on Zoom worship service. Or (and!) join us for the live stream of Sunday’s 11:15 service, 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.

Wednesday Mornings: 9:00am PDT

Join the Zoom call here:
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218

Thursday Night Compline: 8:30pm PDT

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 786 3029 4068
Passcode: Compline

Adult Formation

7:30am Bible Study

This group of 9-13 regulars is still meeting regularly. We are open for anyone else seeking an early morning Bible study with rotating facilitators. In order  to receive the Zoom link sent out each Saturday, just email to be added to the list.

Reading Between the Lines Bible Study Contact Daniel Prechtel,, to join that Zoom call at 10:10am. 

Story With Story taught by Jeannie Koops-Elson and the Rev. Phil Brochard at 10:10 on Zoom (click here to enter the class) on February 21, 28, March 7 & 14.

The Bible is full of passages that seem to resonate with one another. The ancient stories of the people of Israel were the foundational texts of the people recording the stories and letters that became the New Testament. These authors seem to intentionally invoke and echo the older stories as they narrate the life of Jesus Christ and His Way. In this class, we will look at pairs of passages from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and through close reading and conversation, explore what new richness or understanding we uncover when we lay these stories alongside each other.

Missed the previous week’s class?? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be recording all of the Adult Formation offerings and loading them to the Adult Formation page of our website. Click here to get there and access the class recordings. 

Children, Family & Youth News

Children’s Ministry

Children’s Chapel meets Sundays via Zoom at 10:10! The theme for Show & Tell this week is healing. Bring something that you use for healing when you’re sick or injured. Maybe you have a stuffed animal that makes you feel better, or a favorite soup recipe, etc. If you’d like to receive updates about this, but do not subscribe to the Family Bulletin, please email Maggie Foote ( for more information.

Kid’s Book Club meets Wednesdays at 4:00pm on Zoom. We’re reading The Magic in Changing Your Stars by Leah Henderson. Hope to see you there!

Youth Group

Youth group will resumes meeting outdoors every other Sunday! Our next meeting will be Sunday, March 14th, at 3:00pm. Hope to see you all there, and if you have a young person in your household in grades 6-12, and do not receive updates about Youth Group events, please email Maggie at to be added to the list!

Other News & Notes

Lent 2021 Practices

Click here to learn about what we’re up to this Lenten season and to participate with the daily Lenten reflections that our fellow parishioners are writing for us!


Check out Season 3: Episode 3 of the Soulcast!

Community Loom for the Reredos (aka the back wall in the church)

Our community loom for Lent is going to be out at the Spruce St steps all day on Saturday (see picture below). Come on by to spend a little time adding to it! Weaving can be a really lovely contemplative practice— it’s also very easy and forgiving, so no experience needed. We’re hoping this will be a collaborative piece that we build as a community over the weeks of Lent. While you’re here, write a prayer and tie it on our prayer arch. All materials are provided!

Stephen Ministry: We are here for you!

2020 was a challenging year, right?! Most of us have been struggling and overwhelmed. You are not alone. Stephen Ministers understand and are available to listen, support and pray for you. We can offer you a confidential caring relationship or an occasional phone call to help you through these ever-changing times. Contact Maggie Foote at (513) 309-1079 or Madeline Feeley at (510) 495-4512 so we can be there for you.

Summer Book Group

During the summer, All Soulsians select a book to read together and devote the 10:10 Sunday adult formation hour to discussing that book. The Adult Formation Committee requests your nominations for a book for Summer Book Group.  Books may be fiction or nonfiction. After nominations are gathered, we will put nominees up for a parish-wide vote.  Beginning in June 2021, all are welcome to join us in discussing the book during formation hour at 10:10 am.   Help us pick the book by submitting suggestions either here or by emailing

Ongoing Canned Food Drive

The ASP Food Drive continues to pick up and deliver food for the Berkeley Food Pantry on a weekly basis. Food contributors and drivers participate every other week. Please email Cathy: for more information.

Meal Train

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