From the Rector
Com | panions on the Way
A few weeks ago, on Thursday of Holy Week, we gathered around a table to remember. We ritually poured wine into a cup (a beautifully crafted and polished cup but a cup nonetheless), placed bread on a plate (ditto the plate), and told a story.
The story we told has served as one of our primary stories as Christians – that of Jesus with his friends at his final meal with them, at least in that way. Every Maundy Thursday we do this – remember this story – as well as the story from John’s Gospel in which Jesus, by washing his followers’ feet, shows us how we are to live with one another.
Every time we remember, we place ourselves in that Upper Room, using those foundational words, “Take, eat, this is my Body…Drink this, all of you: this is my Blood of the New Covenant…” We do this because for us, this remembering of this story is a primary way in which we come close to Jesus and to one another.
Many years ago, in the context of a course on the Anglican understanding of the Eucharist, I was intrigued to learn that while the story of the “Last Supper” indeed is one of our essential lenses in understanding our practice of the Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper), it was not the only story that the early Christians told when they celebrated this meal together. In fact, depending on which community you were a part of, it might not have even been the primary one.
This past Sunday, the third Sunday of the Easter season, we read one of my (and many others’) favorite stories in our Scripture: that of the Road to Emmaus. The emotions, the joy in the midst of loss, the companionship, all of this has drawn my attention, over and over and over again. The same was true for the earliest Christians. And for some, it actually was this story that served as their primary lens for what this table fellowship of bread and of wine was all about. Not just for that Easter Sunday, but for every Sunday, every celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection – this was the story that they told to come close once again.
One of the interesting aspects of seeing the Eucharist with this story as a lens, is that rather than the Last Supper, which prepares the disciples for Jesus’ death, and our life after his death, this story comes as an experience of the resurrected Christ. In that way for us, it is fundamentally a post-Easter practice, embedded with glimpses of Resurrection.
Another remarkable facet to this particular story is the state of the disciples prior to receiving Jesus, to knowing Jesus in the bread (no mention of the wine). Unlike what we might expect of them, prior to taking part in this ritual action with this stranger, they do not know him as Jesus. The disciples’ eyes were only opened to Jesus after the breaking of the bread, after they had been invited to the table.
Once again, true to most human living, proper understanding followed experience rather than preceding it. Profound learning can and should be offered before someone approaches the altar to receive, to commune with God. But we are not remembering our full experience as Christians if we demand that they or we know exactly and definitively what they and we are seeking before experiencing it.
To that end, one last thought. Because another element of the power of this story for me lies in the way that it is enacted. Many over the years have remarked that it is no mistake that Cleopas walked this road with a companion. For the roots of the word companion stretch from Middle English to Old French to Latin. Com, or “together with,” alongside panion or paignon or panis for “bread,” becomes, “one who breaks bread with another.”
One who breaks bread with another. This is why the Eucharist for us as Christians is one of our foundational practices, and why it is imperative that we do this with others, not by ourselves. Why it is so important for us to invite others to break bread with us, around our altars, our dinner tables, our negotiating tables. Because when we practice this, when we tell this story and pay attention – one to another, all of us to Jesus – something in us, around us, between us, is changed. For that which was held by one is now shared by many. And in the walking together, in the breaking of the bread, in the sharing of the meal and of ourselves, God is present, With Us once more. And that can make all the difference in the world.
From the Associate Rector
Summer Reading – Together
We’re not there yet, but summer is just around the corner. As a part of our summer at All Souls, adult formation with take on a more relaxed approach with several summer reading groups which folk may join. I highly encourage you to check out all the offerings which each look to be fabulous – covering topics from prayer to non-violence, racism to fictional insights into religion. Each group will meet 2-3 times during the 10:10 formation hour between June and August.
I am excited to lead a group which will read the book Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children’s Spiritual Lives by Karen Marie Yust. This is one of my all time favorite books about children and spiritual formation. In fact, it was the book I used back in 2008 to kick off our Spiritual Parenting group. While there are many great books about kids and spirituality and church out there, I believe this one still stands out as readable, engaging and profound. Chapters include: What’s faith got to do with childhood? Creating a spiritual world for children to inhabit, Telling stories that draw children into a life of faith, Helping children name God’s presence in their lives, Praying with children, Supporting children as they grow in spiritual awareness, Acting out our spirituality with children. We will break the book up and read a few chapters at time and then reflect and discuss on the material and the connections we make to our own children and how we parent them.
And so, I hope you will consider joining me in reading and reflecting on this book this summer. Look for detailed information about all the summer reading groups and the dates they are gathering later this month, and as always please drop me a line with any questions you may have.
Yours in God’s peace, Kristin+
May 11 – Sunday School ~ Open Door Dinner
May 18 – Sunday School ~ Blessing of Bikes ~ Continuing the Feast
May 25 – Sunday School
June 1 – PARISH PICNIC! ~ No Sunday School
June 8 – Pentecost! ~ Sunday School
Mt. Cross Day Camp – It’s Not Too Late to Register!
Registration packets are available in the narthex for the amazing Vacation Bible School we co-sponsor with Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. Camp will run the week of June 23-27 this year, focusing on the theme of Living in God’s Time. The camp day runs from 9 am to 3 pm, with extended care available until 5 pm. The cost is $150 /child; scholarships available. Mt. Cross is for kids ages 5 to 12 who have completed Kindergarten through 6th grade. There is a CIT program for Middle and High School youth. Contact Kristin Krantz (firstname.lastname@example.org / 510-848-1755) with any questions.
Big Sur Camping – Sign Ups Are Coming May 18!
Join fellow parishioners for a relaxed weekend of fellowship and fun!
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!
The campground is reserved from 1 pm on Friday through 1 pm on Sunday.
The cost is $30 per person for the weekend (children under 5 stay for free).
To reserve your spot you must sign up and pay in full no later than June 9th!
Paper sign-ups will be at the May 18 Continuing the Feast and going forward beginning May 19 you will be able to sign up via email or through a link which will be posted in the blue sheet, on the website, and in the Pathfinder.
Questions? And to register, contact: Jeannie Koops-Elson or The Rev. Kristin Krantz
(email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Diocesan Summer Camps
For children and youth, attending a church camp is one of the most important and memorable ways to experience relationship with God through community, fun, and the beauty of creation. The Bishop’s Ranch and St. Dorothy’s Rest offer extensive summer camp programs for children of all ages. Click HERE to find out more and to register!
Biking, Blessing, and Feasting
You & Yours Invited, May 18th
I ride my bike three miles uphill from North Oakland to All Souls as often as I can get it together to leave in time for church or formation hour or a meeting. Unlike fabulist tales of childhood, the ride is not uphill both ways, only going to church, and it never snows. Why do I do this? I need exercise yet will do almost anything to avoid the gym. Also, I worry about climate change and know that worry alone does nothing to minimize my fossil fuel consumption. Also, I feel great when I’m zipping along under my own steam.
When I left my job in favor of freelance work from home, I resolved to ride any time my destination was within a three mile radius. How’s that going? Not well enough. Bike riding for me turns out to be another opportunity to work on the discipline we experience in our lives of faith – a repeating cycle of awareness, intention, and practice. It doesn’t take much longer to ride short distances than it does to drive them (and then find a parking place), but it does take advance planning to gear up and leave early enough to arrive at meetings on time. And carrying stuff on a bike is not so much fun. Wait, who said that practicing a discipline was going to be easy or fun?
Okay, I admit that I am a cycling lightweight. A number of folks at All Souls are serious bicycle enthusiasts, riding long miles for pleasure. Malcolm Plant rides from San Francisco to Occidental, for example. Jim Feeley can be seen here, there, most anywhere on a bicycle. Some ride to benefit charities – The Very Rev. Don Brown, Margaret Simon Hahn, and Caitlin Lempres have ridden from San Francisco to Los Angeles as part of the AIDs Lifecycle. And many make bicycling part of their daily lives. Tara McCulloch rides to her work at UC Berkeley. Caroline McCall cycles The Arlington from El Cerrito to classes at CDSP, and uphill all the way home. There are days that you won’t find Fr. Phil’s car in the parking lot, but you find him in his office and his bicycle stashed in the recesses of the undercroft. I’m sure there are more of us with bicycling in our lives, let’s make a showing of it!
How? All Souls has made an effort to be a bike friendly place. Last year we expanded our bike parking area just outside the playground and a number of folks ride some of the time. If you have a bike and can get to church under pedal power, join us! A great time to start will be May 18th when we will host our first annual “Blessing of the Bicycles” at 12 noon. Invite your friends and neighbors – all are welcome, visitors expected – for the service, for the blessing, or both. If for some reason you cannot bring your bicycle, then do bring your bike helmet for a blessing. And after, we will carry the celebration forward with a Mexican themed “Continuing the Feast,” so bring some food to share.
From the Associate Rector Search Committee
Update on Associate Rector Search
Just before Holy Week, Fr. Phil announced the Associate Rector Search Team in his April 10 Pathfinder article. Co-chairing the search are Michelle Barger and Leigh Rawdon, joined by Toni Borgfeldt, Fr. Phil Brochard, Lewis Maldonado and Tara McCullouch. In preparing the job description, we have worked together to describe who we are as a faith community, who we aspire to become guided by our Vision, and what values, responsibilities, and skills an associate rector would have to lead us on the journey.
The posting can be found here and we invite you to take a look. We will be accepting applications until May 28th, towards the goal of calling someone to join our community this fall. In the coming weeks, the Search Team will be meeting with leaders closely involved with ministries linked to this position. Our goal is to keep the Parish informed of the process with regular Pathfinder updates, but if you have specific questions that aren’t addressed in these articles, please feel free to contact any of us on the Search Team.
Co-Chair, Associate Rector Search Team
All are Invited!
Looking for a Full House!
Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament!
Friday, May 9, 7:00 PM
Christ Episcopal Church
1700 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda
The buy-in is $50 plus a bottle of wine. Two re-buys will be available for $25 apiece. Prizes include cash, a weekend in Sonoma County, a sailing trip on San Francisco Bay, and tickets for two to see “The Soup” taped in Los Angeles. Don’t know how to play Texas Hold ‘Em? Its easy. Read HERE or see the video HERE. Please RSVP to email@example.com
All players get dinner, drinks and childcare. Proceeds support a youth trip to the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Reservation in South Dakota in August to re-build homes and learn from one another. The trip includes youth from Episcopal churches all around the East Bay.
See you at the table!