From the Rector
The Perils of Purity
Yesterday was the feast day for St. Martin of Tours, a 4th century monk, healer, bishop, and defender of the catholic faith. And his day of remembrance could not have come at a better time. Not because of the many heretics we must excommunicate. Instead, because of the witness of a noted healer in a time of great strife.
St. Martin was one of the first saints of the Church who wasn’t a martyr. This is actually significant because over the course of Martin’s life, the Christian Church changed dramatically. Martin was born in around 316 in what is now Hungary. Only four years earlier Constantine had fought and won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, which was the defining moment in Constantine becoming Emperor of the Roman Empire, and of Christians no longer suffering persecution from Rome.
Over the course of Martin’s life the Christian Church went from barely being permitted to exist to becoming the state religion of the empire. During that 4th century, Christian witness went from testimony at the time of execution to an attempt to live faithfully in the midst of an empire demanding order.
Martin’s own story is just as dramatic. The son of a veteran, he became a soldier at the age of 15 (some sources say even earlier), and during his time as a soldier underwent the catechumenate, and against his parents’ wishes, was baptized a Christian at the age of 18. After several more years of service in the army, he left, declaring, “I am the soldier of Christ, it is not lawful for me to fight.”
Martin then became a monk, and a noted exorcist and healer. It was because of his reputation as a healer that he was made bishop, in a way. By 371 Martin had established a monastery and was beloved by many in the region. Enough so that the people of Tours lured him into town to minister to someone who was sick, only to impress upon him that he must become their bishop. Reluctantly he did.
I mentioned earlier that Martin was also known as a defender of the faith. In the 4th century, as Christianity was in a period of dramatic and sometimes violent re-formation, as Bishop of Tours, Martin consistently opposed the heresies of the time, particularly Arianism (that Jesus of Nazareth was as good as a human can be, but not divine), and Priscillianism (a severe form of asceticism marked by sexual celibacy, fasting, and an intense duality of matter and spirit). It was his opposition to the heretical teachings and example of Priscillian that deserve our attention today.
Because even though he contested the practices that Priscillian was promoting, he was unwilling to call for Priscillian’s death, as others in the Church and in the Empire were doing. While Martin opposed the ways that Priscillian was practicing the faith, he did not wish to destroy him. Ultimately, despite Martin’s protests, Priscillian was executed, the first Christian killed by Christians for heresy after a secular trial.
We are living in a time in this country in which many struggle to allow for anything less than the purity of their position. For decades we have been increasingly unwilling to see the world around us as anything other than a zero-sum game. For me to win, you must lose. And the hyper-partisan ethos of the past four years has only inflamed this predilection. The cycle of retributive rigidity is leading to punishing and destructive results.
As we navigate the next few weeks and months and years, hold onto the witness of Martin of Tours, healer and bishop. Beware the perils of purity. Even as words are spoken and actions taken that we find repugnant and contrary to the teachings of Christ, speak the truth, but always do so in love. Hearts and minds are rarely changed through force.
From Stephen Ministry
Mission Statement of a Stephen Minister
“God of freedom, God of justice, teach us to be fully human, open to each other’s needs…” Last Sunday we sang these lines to Picardy, one of my favorite hymn tunes. This line could be the mission statement of a Stephen Minister. When my life changed and I needed a Stephen Minister, one was ready for me. We talked together every week, until I could see my way forward. I did most of the talking; she listened attentively. When I descended into the depths of despair, she did not hop up and hug me. That would be a quick fix, and the path through grief can be long and arduous and painfully difficult. There are no quick fixes. She sat quietly and allowed the grief to flow over and through me, and slowly I worked my way through it. I chose the difficult, the hard work. Together we worked on strategies that allowed the healing process to take root.
“Your life will never be the same, but it will be good.” This helpful line was written on one of the cards I received from my All Souls community. I have taken it to heart, and I have moved through grief with the guiding help of my Stephen Minister and with connection to community. The answers lie within, and a Stephen Minister can help us to connect, help us to see the way forward. We sang this hymn last Sunday, too: “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come. Be thou our guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.” The wisdom of the people who have lived before is available to us, and we do not make our journey alone. Stephen Ministers are wise friends with deep kindness, and if you need a listening friend, they are waiting for you.
Notes from the Vestry
On October 17th, your faithful Vestry met over Zoom. Howard Purdue guided us in a spiritual reflection following Dani Gabriel’s sermon about one of the homeless residents that Project Sandwich served during the last months, and how when asked “Is there anything else we can do for you?” he replied, “Please pray for us”. In small groups, we reflected on the lessons about spirituality and prayer that our homeless neighbor could be sharing with us in this request.
Eric Legrand joined us to share updates about the Stewardship campaign, as we were close to Ingathering Sunday. Eric shared the team’s excitement for this very unique campaign, and answered questions from the Vestry, who in turn also thanked him and his team for a wonderful job putting it together.
Fr. Phil gave his Rector’s report, sharing the work that the members of the staff continue doing with love and dedication. Adding Maggie Foote to the team has been a great blessing for all, and she has fully integrated herself into the flow of our amazing staff. Project Sandwich has ended, but Deacon Dani Gabriel continues leading work to support our neighbors living in camps in Berkeley, and forming a team to continue advocacy and material support for the camps, such as gathering supplies for camps as part of the Advent ingatherings. Members of the regathering task force met for a trial run of the first series of Sunday outdoor worship services, feeling very hopeful and excited to begin regathering for the rest of the congregation on October 25.
The Diocese has asked that we readopt our Parish Benefit Policies, as we do each year
Next, the Vestry reviewed the Parish Benefit Policies, which have to be reapproved every year as requested by the Diocese of California.
Lastly, Vestry members talked about joys and challenges in areas of ministry that each of them are assigned to liaise and support.
As always, please include the Vestry in your prayers.
Friends! It’s almost time for our yearly Advent Ingathering!
This year we will be collecting items on the four Sundays of Advent, starting November 29th. Because of the pandemic, we’re making a few changes this year, for everyone’s safety. You can drop off your items in the large trash can outside the chapel doors, on Sundays and Wednesdays. Please do not ring the doorbell or drop off donations on other days! If you are unable to drop off your items, please call Cathy Goshorn (925.788.0243) to arrange to have them picked up and delivered.
The first three weeks we will be collecting NEW items to support our neighbors who live in camps as they navigate the winter. At 8th and Harrison, there are 50-60 people living in RVs and cars. They struggle with sanitation and basic needs. At the Here/There camp there are under 20 people living in tents. They have access to food, but struggle with the elements. And at 2nd and Jones, 20-30 people are living in RVs and cars–they also struggle with sanitation and basic needs.
We’ve invited the folks in each camp to prepare a wish list. Please put your name and the quantity of the item you will be purchasing next to the item in the Google Doc. If you prefer to call in your donations, please call Jeannie Koops-Elson (415.533.8832).
The fourth week of the ingathering will be for the Berkeley Food Pantry. Stay tuned for an article about their needs and priorities in the Pathfinder in the coming weeks!
Especially as the winter arrives, checks are also welcome! You can mail a check to the church at 2220 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA 94709. Please make your checks payable to All Souls Parish and designate the recipient (name of the camp or Berkeley Food Pantry) in the memo line. Donations are also welcome online—see the Stewardship & Giving page on the All Souls website or call the church office for information at (510) 848-1755.
8th and Harrison Wish List:
Here/There Wish List:
2nd and Jones Wish List:
Outdoor In-Person Services on Sundays!
It’s happening. We are gathering in person for the 9am service. You can read more about what you’ll need to know in order to sign-up (and of course, the link to sign-up) on our Regathering page here!
Sunday Live Streaming News
The live stream of Sunday’s 11:15 service can be accessed through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning.
Adult Formation Class this Sunday
We have three class offerings this Sunday:
Reading Between the Lines Bible Study. Contact Daniel Prechtel, firstname.lastname@example.org, to join that Zoom call at 10:10am.
Carrying the Cross Together via Zoom at 10:10a, taught by the Rev. Phil Brochard and Wendy Calimag. In response to the reckoning around race that is taking place in this country, Phil and Wendy will be teaching a class exploring racial allyship for three Sundays in November: the 8th, 15th, and 22nd. Using personal narrative, individual reflection, scripture, and discussion we will explore what it means to suffer with each other, what the Cross might mean at a time like this, and how we might be able to live together as Christians as we pursue racial justice, healing, and reconciliation. The class is open for one and all at All Souls and intended to be complementary with the Sacred Ground curriculum. This class will meet on November 8, 15, and 22nd. You can find the Zoom link to this class here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85268240086
Newcomer Coffee w/Emily Hansen Curran via Zoom at 10:10a. If you’re checking out All Souls or have been coming in the last few months, head over to Zoom Sunday morning at 10:10 to meet up with Emily Hansen Curran, our Associate for Ministry Development. We’ll share our own stories as well as learn more about All Souls. For questions, contact email@example.com. Zoom link here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83590781549.
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.
Breaking Bread & Building Bridges
Join us for the next in our series of Building Bridges programs with St. Paul AME Church and Congregation Beth El this Sunday (11/15) from 1:30-3p on Zoom! In reflecting upon our experiences both of isolation and connection in recent months, we will renew and strengthen our connections with one another. Bring your late lunch or early afternoon snack and a beverage of choice as we gather around our screens to learn, laugh and support each other through this challenging time. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you’ve participated in previous Building Bridges programs or this will be your first, all All Soulsians are welcome.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 980 0634 9605
Children & Family News
Children and their families can meet in the courtyard at 10:10am for our new in-person Children’s Formation hour. Please be prepared to stay with your children and to keep your children in their own family pod, and also, to be wearing masks. See Maggie Foote (email@example.com) for more information.
If you are looking for some current information regarding Children’s Chapel or the upcoming Kids Book Club – check out the new additions to the All Souls website. The All Souls Website has been updated to include some new information and resources(including the links for all the storybook videos) for families. Here is the link: http://www.allsoulsparish.org/children-youth-and-families/childrens-virtual-formation-during-covid/
Stephen Ministry: We are here for you!
2020 has been 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.
New in town? New at All Souls? Just checking out churches in the area? Please join us for a Newcomer “coffee”/Meet & Greet with our Associate for Ministry Development, Emily Hansen Curran, via Zoom at 10:10a on both November 15th and the 22nd. For more information, you can email Emily, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find the Zoom call link here.
Evening Prayer via Zoom
Here is the link for the Thursday night BCP Compline, which starts at 8:30 PDT:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 786 3029 4068
Check out Season 2, Episode 10 of the Soulcast!
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.
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86087951049?pwd=THNxbjlqMm5zdjc5RGNLWkFrZk16QT09
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218
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.
Save the Date
Advent Festival and the beginning of Advent is November 29th!