From the Rector
Time to Reflect
This past Sunday, in the back of the church, we started a new practice at All Souls. Recognizing that we are in the midst of yet another transition in this time of pandemic––this time a transition into re-gathering––we have created a timeline to record and begin to reflect on what has happened in this last year.
As I preached about this past Sunday, it seems to me that we are just coming into the kind of space when we can reflect, rather than react to the existential challenges around us. We’re using three questions: what we’ve lost this past year, the unexpected joys of this past year, and what our hopes are for what is to come. We’ve begun writing on this timeline what’s happened in our lives, and perhaps beginning to knit our lives, and our common life back together.
In the months to come––June, July, and August––I will be reflecting in a very particular way, by finishing the truncated sabbatical that I began last summer. And once again, part of the reflection that I’ll be undertaking will be the writing project that I began last summer, with my collaborator, the Rev. Cn. Alissa Newton. The working title of this project is, The Congregation is the Future: Vital Practices for Christian Communities.
My hope is that this generous gift of time away from the parish will allow me to do this deeper work of reflection and distill the practices of that we have learned through the College of Congregational Development. And, I hope to be able to articulate why I still believe that Christian congregations have a future, and one that can be vibrant, even if changed from what they’ve been.
Coming back to the courtyard for the past couple of months, and this past Sunday to the church indoors for the first time since March of 2020, has made it clear to me that gathering, congregating with one another, is essential to the practice of the Christian faith. Will the ways that we congregate and gather change and expand as a result of this pandemic? Absolutely. At All Souls, we will continue to stream and to zoom so that those who are not able to physically be in the room will be able to join in the worship, or class, or small group. And, being together, inhabiting the same space with one another, is a fundamental element of what we do.
During this time while I am on sabbatical, we will try on a new practice, an idea that emerged from within our staff. Rather than bring in a priest (or a bishop) from the outside, the Staff and Wardens felt that, with a little extra support, Maggie, Emily, Annie, Jamie, Toni, Kaki, and the ministry teams of this parish can take on my workload in my absence. Thankfully, the extra support will come in the form of the Rev. Michael Lemaire to take on some of the pastoral and preaching responsibilities at one day per week, and Annie Rovzar, our Parish Admin, who will increase her hours by an afternoon per week. Having walked through the various roles and responsibilities that I have, I am confident that the needs of the parish will be met by these folks over the summer.
As much as I’m looking forward to some rest after the intensities of this past year, and am excited to delve into this writing project, I am stepping aside until September 1st with some longing. For so long, between being solely online and then in person––and online––and with the other myriad stresses of this last year, being the Rector of All Souls has felt like we’ve been hiking into the wind. Finally, this past Sunday, singing in the courtyard, baptizing in the church, it felt like the wind was at our backs.
So I will miss the re-gathering that will be happening this summer. I will miss being at the Parish Picnic to share our stories, sit around the campfire at Big Sur reflecting on what has happened this past year, or just plain singing with gusto in a few weeks. But I will worship with other congregations while away and return in September, eager to see where our reflecting with the Spirit will take us all next.
From Parish Life
The Parish Picnic Returns! Sunday, June 6
We are excited to extend our regathering and celebrate the ways we can be together again by returning to our Parish Picnic tradition. On June 6 we will continue settling into our “new normal” schedule of worship in the courtyard at 9am and in the sanctuary and online at 11:15; but after all that, join us for a potluck picnic, fun and games with your All Souls community. Sign up here to let us know you are coming and what you’ll bring. (Current county restrictions still limit gatherings in East Bay Regional Parks to 50 people; but if you can’t make this one we are likely to plan another picnic later this summer.)
Will the all-ages talent-optional 100% fun kickball game return? Absolutely! So will the good food, conversation, sunshine (hopefully!) and fellowship. We will be grilling and setting up the potluck on picnic tables; there is ample space to eat at shared tables or to eat independently on your own picnic blanket. Here are the essentials:
When? 1pm on Sunday, June 6
Where? Padre picnic site in Tilden Regional Park on South Park Dr between the Brazil Building & the Steam Trains (here’s a map)
What should I bring?
- food to share
- bubbles, balls, frisbee or whatever other fun you’d like to share
- sunscreen & layers (summer in the Bay Area!)
- camp chair or picnic blanket if that makes you comfortable
Can I help? Yes, please! Thanks for asking! We need help setting up, grilling, and packing out. Please sign up on the RSVP.
Where do I sign up again? Here
More questions? Contact Jeannie Koops (email@example.com)
From the Vestry
We began our most recent Vestry meeting (May 19) with scripture, as chaplain Nydia MacGregor led us in a reflection on the story of Pentecost from the second chapter of Acts. We spent time in small groups sharing how that story impacts our lives today, before we moved on to the rest of the agenda.
After approving the financial statements and minutes from our April meetings, we heard a presentation from the Racial Justice ministry team. They invited all 86 parishioners who had participated in the first round of the Sacred Ground Curriculum to fill out a survey about their experience, and, in particular, how we might as a parish continue to work for racial justice. The team read through the 25 responses, and from the results, see opportunities to move forward in three areas: first, ongoing education (which could take the form of reading lists, movie nights, and/or discussion groups). Second: engagement with communities of color, including other congregations. And third, finding opportunities for us to take action.
We next heard from Emily Hansen Curran, as she filled us in on her recent sabbatical and her reflections on how to move ahead iterating a Sunday Night Service liturgy at All Souls. Next, Marilyn Flood, representing our Vocations and Discernment Committees, let us know that they recommend that we endorse Emily as a nominee in the process towards Holy Orders. After hearing from Emily about her search for a path in discernment, the Vestry discussed and then voted to make such an endorsement.
Father Phil’s Rector’s Report touched on Bishop Marc’s visit of May 16, and moved on to money matters. He confirmed that funds that the vestry had previously approved had been spent (organ repairs, and purchase of audio/visual equipment to stream Sunday services) and reviewed a detailed list of how money from All Souls’ Jordan fund had been allocated (for capital costs not covered by the joint venture with Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA) ). We heard updates on regathering, and finally, Fr. Phil’s plans for his upcoming Sabbatical.
-Tim Ereneta, Vestry 2010-2022
From the Racial Justice Subcommittee
Racial Justice Subcommittee Update
The Racial Justice Subcommittee was formed earlier this year within the All Souls’ Justice & Peace Ministry to build on the parish’s participation in Sacred Ground. This subcommittee is co-led by Wendy Calimag, Don Gates, and Michael Lewis. The co-leads fielded a survey among Sacred Ground participants to inform the sub-committee’s approach. The following were key findings from the survey:
- Many survey respondents noted that Sacred Ground helped to fill a knowledge gap on issues of race; white privilege; and the pervasive nature of white supremacy. There was an appetite to continue Sacred Ground and continued learning about issues of and surrounding race.
- There was a desire by many respondents for not only building a more racially diverse congregation but also a desire for more engagement/ partnership with more diverse congregations (inside and outside of the Episcopal Church) and community organizations.
- Many respondents mentioned differing levels of personal engagement with racial justice issues, and there is an opportunity for members to share how they are engaging in order to provide awareness of engagement opportunities to other All Soulsians.
The subcommittee co-leads developed a 3-prong strategy informed by the survey findings and the Racial Justice Audit of Episcopal Leadership (conducted by The Mission Institute and the Episcopal Church’s Racial Reconciliation and Justice Team):
- Internal Engagement – Create/ encourage activities within the parish focused on building a deeper understanding of racial justice issues
- External Engagement – Build community with diverse congregations and community organizations in order to foster future partnerships and relationships
- Raise Awareness of Racial Justice Engagement Opportunities – Create a platform for All Soulsians to share racial justice engagement opportunities
Our intent is to create opportunities for the parish to deepen their understanding of and engagement on racial justice. We welcome those who would want to either join the subcommittee or help plan/ support internal/ external engagement activities (sign-up here).
Sunday Mornings: Join us at 9am in the courtyard, in-person (masked and holding a 4’ distance between you and anyone outside of your pod or family). Attendance is limited for outdoor services, so please sign-up here! Please remember to bring your own chair and chalice!
Or (and!) join us in person (masked and distanced of course!) or online for the 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. If you’d like to attend in person, please register at this link, and don’t forget to bring your own chalice!
Wednesday Mornings: 9:00am PDT
Join us in person in the church, or online!
Join the Zoom call here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86087951049?pwd=THNxbjlqMm5zdjc5RGNLWkFrZk16QT09
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218
Thursday Night Compline (Night Time Prayers): 8:30pm PDT
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84737698405?pwd=dlh2OXZmblBYTU5hTEw5TGJXUVZNZz09
Meeting ID: 847 3769 8405
7:30am Reading Between the Lines Bible Study Contact Kate Murphy to join that Zoom call.
10:10am Reading Between the Lines Bible Study Contact Daniel Prechtel to join that Zoom call.
If you’d like to attend this class in person, it will meet downstairs in the chapel at 10:10am.
Restorations and Reparations at 10:10am on Zoom with the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers and guests.
This class meets in person in the Parish Hall, in addition to the Zoom call.
Over the past year, All Soulsians have been pondering questions of racial justice, healing, and reconciliation. This class will explore questions of restoration and reparation, inspired by the promise of the prophet Isaiah, “You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in” (Isaiah 58:12). In conversation with leaders from the wider Episcopal Church, we will explore foundations for the work of racial reconciliation in scripture and Christian tradition, and consider next steps we might take individually and as a congregation. This class is open to all and is intended to be complementary to the Sacred Ground groups and the fall class “Carrying the Cross Together.”
May 30: The Rev. Isaiah Shaneequa Brokenleg, Presiding Bishop’s Staff Officer for Racial Reconciliation. A member of the Lakota tribe and a Winkte, a sacred healer for her people, she hosts a podcast, “Preaching and Teaching the Beloved Community,” helping clergy and lay leaders address social justice through liturgy.
Summer Book Group for Adults Please join us for summer book group at All Souls! Starting in June, we will be discussing The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee. You may attend in person or by Zoom. The reading and discussion session is: June 13 (Intro through Chapter 3, p. 65), June 20 (Chapter 4 through Chapter 6, p. 165), June 27 (Chapter 7 through Chapter 8, p. 219), and July 11 (Chapter 9 through 10, p. 288).
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
No Children’s formation this week. We will begin summer Book Clubs for kids on June 13th, at 10:10 in the Courtyard!
The youth group wrapped up for the year last Sunday with a final courtyard meeting! Stay tuned for information about summer gatherings. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list!
Other News & Notes
Soulcast: Our Weekly Video Announcements
Diocesan Ordinations at Grace Cathedral
All Souls’ own Ethan Lowery will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 5, at 3:00 p.m.
Gather to celebrate the ordinations of Ethan Lowery and Colby Roberts to the priesthood at Grace Cathedral. The ordinations service will allow for an in-person congregation (200). Pre-registration is required https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diocesan-ordinations-in-person-tickets-154638571129, and health screening will be conducted at entry. Masks are required at all times.
The service will also be livestreamed on gracecathedral.org.
Whether in-person or online, please join this momentous occasion and raise your prayers for these ordinands.
The Bishop’s Ranch Seeking Seasonal Interim Summer Camp Director
The Interim Camp Director will lead the team of staff and volunteers who carry out summer camp programming this season. The Interim Camp Director functions as an integral member of the Ranch Hospitality Team and helps provide gracious hospitality to all our guests, volunteers, residents and staff throughout the summer. Summer Camps sponsored by the Bishop’s Ranch are focused on Community, Spiritual Life, the Arts and Creation Care – primarily through Sustainable Agriculture and Watershed Protection. The Interim Camp Director is responsible for providing leadership to all Bishop’s Ranch Summer Camps which includes 2 weeks of intergenerational “family” camps, 1 week of high school overnight camp, 1 week of junior high school overnight camp and 1 week of READ day camp with students from the local elementary school. Living at the Ranch during the camp season is required.
People needed to “Make Church Happen”
Consider joining the Usher and or Greeters teams!
During the week the musicians practice and the sacristans ensure the altar linens and other things necessary for the service are in order for the service. They arrive early on Sunday and set up for the service. These preparations enhance our experience of Church. When we arrive on Sunday morning there are people who greet us, hand us a bulletin, and make note of newcomers then distribute wine and juice during the service. They answer our questions, help us with a chair and place to sit. They welcome us and want us to feel at home.
Does this sounds like something you’d like to do? If so, contact Renae Breitenstein.
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.
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: email@example.com for more information.
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.