From the Associate Rector

liz_tichenorOpen and Searching

As we move into the green, growing season after Pentecost that Phil talked about last week, such growth is becoming visible in exciting ways. One of the primary ways this is taking shape right now is in our searching and openness. While I trust we are living into hopeful possibility in many ways, one way in particular that we are embracing this green growing season is in launching the search for our next Associate for Youth Ministries yesterday. Who might join us? Where might they guide us, and how might they accompany our youth as they come close to God? We are in an exciting space of waiting and wondering, praying and preparing.

After much consideration and conversation with Phil, our wardens Toni and Kim, and many of you, we have decided to take advantage of this searching time to reshape our staff responsibilities. As such, I am delighted to be taking on leadership of our children and family ministries. I believe deeply in the importance of supporting our littlest members and their families at the center of our common life. It’s part of who we are at All Souls, and also is an area where we can continue dreaming big, taking thoughtful risks as we listen to the Spirit’s stirrings, and planting seeds for the months and years to come. In particular, I am excited to find ways to foster greater fellowship among parents and families – think laid-back time to connect over pizza and park playdates, space to reflect together on how to engage this monumental job of raising up our young people, and general adventure and merriment together. It’s going to be grand.

As I take on responsibility for children and family ministry, we begin our search for a half-time associate dedicated entirely to youth ministry. Caroline McCall is chairing the search team, and is joined by Toni Martinez Borgfeldt as senior warden, myself, Joey Rees-Hill, Ivy Waegel, Nancy Pryer, Reed Loy, Jill Anderson, and Frances Thomas. You can find the full job posting here, please share it widely!

Later this summer, we will be embarking on a second search, this one for a half-time Associate for Ministry Development. The description for this position is still in process, but will include elements of parish life, newcomer/greeter ministry and new member incorporation, and volunteer coordination.

As we search for the people who will join our community and leadership team next, I’m struck by the parallels this process offers for our day-to-day life through the summer. For many of us, workloads ease, flexibility grows a bit, our children gain some seasonal freedom. Days are long finally enough to let us explore with sunlight well past dinner. What do you see as you set out into this openness? What are you searching for? In step with the intentionality, discernment and prayers of these two job searches, I hope that we can all embrace such open searching in our own lives, as well.


From the Interim Sabbatical Rector

stephen_shaverA Spirited Summer Together

Almost every Pentecost, I find this song running through my head.

Go ahead—watch the video. (I’ll wait.)

The video is from a 2008 congregational music workshop. It’s a group of Episcopalians and others at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City. St. Paul’s is a major tourist destination for a number of reasons. For one, it’s a historic chapel dating from colonial times: you can see the pew where George Washington worshiped. More than that, though, St. Paul’s is directly across from the World Trade Center, and it served as a primary staging area for relief efforts after September 11. Since then St. Paul’s has become a place of pilgrimage and reflection for hundreds of people each day. It’s not uncommon for liturgies or other events to be going on in the middle of the space while lines of visitors walk around the perimeter.

When I first saw this video, it caught my attention and stuck with me. Partly that’s because of the way the infectious rhythm, the simple harmonies, and the easy-to-learn call-and-response teaching style get people praising God together using their bodies and voices. But it also stuck with me because it shows Christians “doing church” in the public square. It’s easy to imagine how a visiting stranger might be fascinated, attracted, or confused, or maybe even put off by what’s going on in this chapel. But it’s hard to imagine anyone not noticing. It’s a bit like what must have happened at that Pentecost in Jerusalem when the disciples came spilling out of that upper room praising God in many languages. “All were amazed and perplexed,” the story says. Some thought they were crazy or drunk. But others were drawn in, fell in love with God in Jesus, and “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

Even in the short time I’ve spent at All Souls so far, it’s obvious to me that that same lively Spirit of Pentecost is tangibly present here. We sing and pray and praise God together. We live together in community as very different people, knowing the whole Body is much greater than the sum of its parts. And, here in 21st-century Berkeley—an environment at least as pluralistic and cosmopolitan as the 1st-century Roman Empire—we do church in public. Sometimes that “in public” is literally outside church walls: marching through the city streets together singing the Litany of the Saints at the Great Vigil of Easter; keeping vigil for justice at the immigrant detention center in Richmond. But even when we’re inside our “upper room” on Cedar Street, we have newcomers and visitors come through our doors every week, and our life, worship, and service are helping people fall in love with God in Jesus in this place each day. All Souls is a Pentecost community to its core, and I’m delighted the Spirit has brought us together this summer.

I’ve been an Episcopal priest since 2007. I’ve served congregations in Dallas and Seattle and have also spent time in hospital and hospice chaplaincy. But I’ve also always had a passion for liturgy and wanted to pursue academic work in it, and in 2012 my wife Julia and I moved here to the East Bay and I began working on a Ph.D. at the Graduate Theological Union. I have family roots in the Reno/Tahoe area, and Julia grew up on the Peninsula, so the West Coast in general and the Bay Area in particular are an important home place for us. Along with liturgy, I’m very interested in congregational development—building healthy, sustainable church communities—and I’ve gotten to work in that arena with a number of people from All Souls over the last few years (ask me more about this if you’re curious!). Meanwhile, I’ve come to know a number of people connected with All Souls while serving as a teaching assistant and instructor at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. So while I’m new here, I also feel very connected to this congregation and I couldn’t be happier to be spending the summer with you as interim sabbatical rector.

My first Sunday with you will be May 31, Trinity Sunday. There will be a lot of ministry to do together this summer, including our two staff searches and continuing the work that is growing out of All Souls’ strategic planning process. We’ll dive into that work together. And yet our shared ministry is about much more than getting tasks done: it’s about life together in Spirit-soaked community. There will be work, and play, and also some Sabbath rest—this is a sabbatical time, after all—and I’ll have more to say about that next week.

Till then. I can’t wait to be with you on Trinity Sunday.

God’s blessings,

Welcoming New Members

martha_and_howard_perdue_-_Version_2On May 17, we welcomed 22 new members into the All Souls family. Today and in the coming weeks, we’ll hear from many of them.

We are Martha and Howard Holden-Perdue, newly-minted members of All Souls, following 6 months of worship and a kind of non-stop welcoming and follow-up that blurs the line between follow-up and being led, for which we are grateful, indeed. The reverence, preparation, humor, generosity, art, music and intellectual rigor of every worship experience we have had at All Souls suggests to us a safe and joyous place in which social justice springs to action from its center in the liturgy. That’s very cool, we think.

We bring a kind of ordinary ecclesiastical background from atheism, Presbyterianism, churchwork burnout, and curiosity to fear and loathing and hope.

Martha is a retired attorney; Howard retired as Sr. Vice Chancellor of the four Peralta Colleges. We have 5 children, the oldest being 43 and the youngest (and still home) is 17. We also have 6 grandchildren, ages 0 – 12. Our 4 older kids live in Seattle, Boston, LA and SF with their respective spouses.

We are not certain we could live without Cal Football and basketball, so we don’t intend to try. We enjoy spending March on Maui and July at Tahoe, as well as occasional trips to Europe, especially England and Scotland. We’re political junkies, kind of lefty, if you will, constantly reminding ourselves that if more folks thought the way we do, “things” would get better in a hurry. And this, thank God, sends us back to church for a well-deserved dose of humility.

We read everything and our tastes in music are eclectic to the point of competing allegiances, from Baroque choral and organ, through the classics, to jazz, folk, and rock ‘n roll when it was rock ‘n roll.

Finally, as we hope you can tell, we have no opinions on anything. Except that all Souls is right for us and we pray we become right for All Souls.

Love in Action

Grace_Telcs_photoSupporting Ministries That Make A Difference

By now, you are all aware of All Souls’ spring campaign, Love in Action, so I don’t need to tell you that we are in our 3rd week of a targeted campaign to raise $40,000 to support the growth of Formation, Pastoral Care, Worship and Music ministries at All Souls. You should have received an information packet in the mail last week. If you have not received a packet, please speak to one of the staff on Sunday or contact the parish office. We ask that you prayerfully consider your gift, and respond with generosity. Just as God’s abundant love is made known to us, we invite you to respond with thanksgiving for all we are given.

One of our ministries that these funds will allow us to support and grow is Pastoral Care. This ministry involves the many ways we support each other meals for families in times of stress and change, rides to church, Stephen Ministry, clergy visits, and of course through prayer and friendship. It also requires resources to train, coordinate and support all those who participate in this ministry. During our listening conversation, this was a ministry area that many individuals identified as critical and in need of more support. The following reflection by David Wight, a parishioner and Stephen Minister at All Souls exemplifies the give-and-take and spiritual richness of pastoral care. We strive to follow Jesus by caring for one another; There are times that we give this care and times that we receive it, all the while putting God’s Love in Action.

– Grace Telcs & the All Souls Stewardship Committee

“I have long felt grateful for the pastoral care offered through the Stephen Ministry at All Souls, from the perspectives of both a care receiver and a care giver. Five years ago following a family tragedy, I was connected with a Stephen Minister. The experience was a timely and precious gift. My Stephen Minister became a steady, caring presence, showing great empathy and compassion, and he helped me feel less alone in my darkness. Although my beliefs in God were often abstract and vague, I felt that in some intangible but very powerful way, God was present and being reflected through the kindness and the light of my Stephen Minister.

I also felt heartened and inspired by the path I shared with my Stephen Minister and the model he showed me in how we help each other in community. Eventually, after having enough time to heal, I found myself more resilient, ready, and delighted to commit to the Stephen Ministry myself and give back the same kindness that was given to me. In walking the path with others, I continue to feel God’s presence and light reflecting through us.”
– David Wight

Vaya con Dios

jonna_alexanderI wish I was able to thank each of you personally for the kindness you have offered me in this marvelous, spirit-filled place named All Souls. It has given me great happiness to get to know you and to serve with you these past few months. It is with mixed emotions that I am packing up a bazillion books and reams of notes to move back home to Portland, Oregon after graduating from CDSP on May 22nd. My head is full of theology and my heart is full of joy and not a little fear as I begin a new job as an associate chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, and ordination to the priesthood at Trinity Cathedral in Portland at 2 pm on June 13th. Your ministry and spirit at All Souls has inspired and comforted me many times in this journey, and I will hold all of you in my heart and prayers in the days ahead. Please let me know if you head up to the Pacific NW, so we can reconnect! May your engagement with God’s mission be deep and exciting, and your journeys filled with love.



Continuing the Feast Brunch, THIS SUNDAY
It is Pentecost so let’s continue (or begin) the feast of the table with a festive brunch between services. There will be no formation classes for children or adults, so take advantage of the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new connections. Brunch will be between the 9am and 11:15 services in the Parish Hall. Bring food to share and think RED (strawberries, tomatoes, red velvet cake, watermelon, … ?) or whatever the Spirit moves you to bring!

Mt. Cross Day Camp
There’s still time to sign your kids up for Mt. Cross day camp! This year it’s June 15-19, and once again in collaboration with Shepherd in the Hills Lutheran Church. The camp is for kids who have completed kindergarten through 6th grade. It’s $150 for the week, and scholarships are available. There are registration packets in the narthex, and you can email Liz with questions.

All Parish Picnic in Tilden, June 7
Our 11:15 service will be an open-air Eucharist in the park followed by a potluck picnic lunch, games and fun. (There will also be 7:30am and 9am services at All Souls.) Remember to bring a picnic blanket and/or chairs, sunscreen (we hope!), balls or games to share. Please bring grillable items or a side dish to share! If you would like a ride to the picnic site, meet in the All Souls courtyard at 10:30am. Location: Mineral Springs picnic site on Wildcat Canyon Rd. in Tilden (between Brazil Building and Inspiration Point). Sign up here with your picnic contribution.

Idle Hands – At Home
If you’re interested in contributing your stitching to the new altar cloth we are creating for the parish picnic and beyond, contact Jeannie Koops-Elson. We have begun some beautiful nature-inspired embroidery and embellishments on a rustic linen; we are ready to start passing it from home to home and welcome your contributions!

Big Sur Campout, July 17-19
Join fellow parishioners for a relaxed weekend of fellowship and fun! The cost is $30 per person for the weekend (children under 5 stay for free, $100 max per family) To reserve your spot you must sign up and pay in full no later than June 22nd.

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! With questions, contact Jeannie Koops-Elson, and you can sign up here.