FROM THE RECTOR
Listening, Searching, and Praying
The first carload of items that went into the new Rector’s office at the Church of the Resurrection was filled with books. The next carload of items that went into the new Rector’s office at the Church of the Resurrection was filled with plants. And last night, the Rev. Liz Tichenor presided at her first Vestry meeting at the Church of the Resurrection, Pleasant Hill.
So, it’s for real. And it is a very good thing for Liz and for the Church of the Resurrection.
That came very clear a couple of Sundays ago, on the Feast of All Saints & All Souls, as we wished a fond farewell and Godspeed to Liz. Tender moments were remembered, hilarious tales were recounted, and sincere appreciation was given. Simply put, it was righteous.
So now we begin the turn to see who is ready to next serve with us a priest, pastor, preacher, communicator, teacher, and guide. And, in the interim before the new Associate Rector is called to join us, I am incredibly grateful that a host of All Soulsians have stepped forward to bear some of the load.
There’s a crackerjack communications team creating the weekly Pathfinder, updating our website and facebook groups, and preparing our print materials. Our Stephen leaders and ministers, Meals and Rides folks, and Lay Eucharistic visitors are paying close attention to those in need of some listening, some food, and a visit or two. Our Assisting Priests and Seminarians are filling in some of the preaching spots in the weeks and months to come.
And, since the seasons ahead are an intensive time for our Children and Family ministries at All Souls I am also grateful to share that Whitney Wilson, a former All Soulsian who served as the Children and Family Minister at Church of the Resurrection, Pleasant Hill for several years, (yes, that same church) will be stepping in on a part-time basis to work with Children and Families until we call a new Associate Rector.
Now for that search. Nine All Soulsians have agreed to spend their time, attention, and energy over the next several months as we discern who might serve with us. Caroline McCall and Jeannie Koops-Elson are the co-chairs of the team and will be joined by: Raymond Yee, Jenn Ying, Howard Perdue, Calvin Payne-Taylor, Michael Lemaire, Diane Haavik, and Jen Dary.
I am again grateful and thrilled for their willingness to take on this responsibility with me. I have great trust in their individual skills and in the breadth and depth that they collectively will offer our process. Please keep them in your regular prayers as this search begins.
That said, I also ask for your prayers and for your patience, especially for our staff, for Annie, Jamie, Emily, and me. As the staff of this parish we will continue to do our parts to help this parish moving forward Sunday by Sunday––alongside building projects commencing and capital campaign beginning.
In this interim time, as we look for another worker in this vineyard to join us, please pray with us. There is no doubt that the Spirit is in it all, and your prayers, silent and aloud, in word and in deed, will help to carry us along the way.
Reflections on the Youth Camping Trip
Over Veteran’s Day weekend, Emily Hansen-Curren, Annika McPeek and myself set off to the Marin Headlands with a baker’s dozen of the parish’s middle and high school youth. Our mission? Camping with teenagers. Last year’s Youth Group camping trip was put on hold by the weather, and this year we held our breath as the fires erupted again, and breathed our relief as the air remained clear enough to camp this time around.
Then the day actually came. Although I’ve mentored and played alongside our young folks for the last two years, I was slightly daunted. But the experience was one of joy–a messy, imperfect microcosm of living in Christian community.
I anticipate always having a flashbulb memory of our evening on Muir Beach. We had built a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, yet our ordinary American standbys were made strange and wonderful by the fog that closed in on us as night fell. The fog made the other bonfires scattered across the beach into little isolated islands of muted light, glowing in the distance as the unseen ocean crashed into the shore. We feasted in the otherworldly night, singing and wrestling and sharing secrets, and all was well.
Too exuberant not to laugh all the way through Compline at our campsite later, our youth spent the rest of the evening in conversation, asking each other the kind of questions that come out of real trust. Swinging in my hammock nearby, I fell asleep, held by my own trust in the next generation of our beloved community.
The next morning we ate our breakfast of scrambled eggs and roasted vegetable tacos, with everyone jumping in to help cook and clean up and pack all our gear, and then sat down to a conversation about the climate crisis. Listening together to Greta Thunberg’s speech, Annika led us in reflecting on what we and our youth can challenge ourselves to do as members of our Bay Area community and stewards of the Earth.
Our youth are no strangers to these sobering conversations–they are becoming adults in the pre-apocalyptic world of 2019 after all. Their intentionality around envisioning the role of climate and social justice in their lives struck me again, as it often does. Then just like that, they pivoted seamlessly back into play as we set off for Stinson Beach. Feasting together again, fending off seagulls and sharing sunscreen over our beach picnic, I realized that every youth was engaged and no one was sitting alone.
This spirit of inclusion had been evident to me at each point in the trip, and for me, that felt like mission accomplished. As I took a walk by myself down the shore after lunch, with the yells of ultimate frisbee fading behind me, I was flooded with peace in the constantly changing, strikingly resilient nature of our youth.
I have absolutely nothing profound to report on the camping trip, but I can say this–the kids will be alright. They are creative and compassionate in facing the challenges young adults have always faced–and in facing the challenges our world is experiencing for the first time. Self-reflective at unexpected moments, they will lead us into the future of our community in this strange age of the world. Even within our darkest night, there will be laughter–and jokes about farts.
Invitation to Ordinations
This has been a journey full of surprises. When I first arrived at All Souls nine years ago, I was completely blown away. This was the first Episcopal church my family had been to, and the first church that accepted us unequivocally as a queer family. I pretty quickly knew this was a church I wanted to serve. I was clear even early on in my discernment that I felt called to connect the church to the world and the world to the church as a deacon. That’s a central part of the role, and it’s something I do naturally. At All Souls I was chair of the Evangelism Committee, and I always loved thinking of creative ways to make connections. What amazes me, as I head into these last few weeks before ordination, is how much my idea of “church” has changed in the past three years, as I have been formally discerning a call to the diaconate. Three years ago I thought of All Souls as the only place I and my family would be accepted, and as the only church home I could imagine. Since then I have gotten to participate in national church conferences, and many events with folks from all over our diocese and neighboring dioceses. I have worked with people from lots of other traditions. Church has gotten really, really big. All Souls will always be my much loved home, but now any church I walk into is my church. What we’re doing together is much bigger and more powerful than one congregation. We can make sure the body of Christ really does have room for all. This radically changes how I envision serving as a deacon. I’m looking forward to serving two churches as a deacon, and being able to connect those churches to each other, to the wider church, and to the world. I am so grateful that the spirit has led me on this unexpected path, and grateful to all of you for your support along the way.
– Dani Gabriel
I feel my call to ministry has in many ways come back to where it first began. Over the past few years of discernment and formation, I have explored different types of diaconal ministry: training and serving as a hospital chaplain, visiting people who are unhoused, bringing the liturgy and Word to seniors; I have marched in LGBTQ Pride parades, imposed ashes on people who couldn’t get to church, served at Open Door Dinners and a YSA Tiny House build; and I have loved them all! At the core, though, my call as a deacon has been to serve as a bridge – not only to bring the needs of the world to the Church (and its answer back out the doors), but also specifically to help people who have felt outside of, unwanted, judged or hurt by Christianity and Christians. For the past few months, I have been serving as deacon-in-training for a small but vibrant mission congregation in West Marin. The practices of this church seem to resonate not only with Christians seeking a deeper, more contemplative practice, but also to appeal to people who identify as “formerly Christian” or “spiritual but not religious.” Coming from a diverse spiritual background myself, I feel I can relate and perhaps be a conduit and an example of a Christianity that is more progressive and less judgmental than they remember. Over the next year (and for many to come), I hope to continue living into different diaconal ministries – to serve people within and outside of the church communities I am called to and to continue discerning where the Spirit is leading me.
I am so very thankful for the support and guidance I have received from All Souls! It was here that I was formed as an Episcopalian and a Christian, here that I first came to learn that there was a name for who and what I am called to be… it was here that I first heard that call, swept away while singing, Here I am Lord, is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night… I look forward to serving at All Souls on my first day as an ordained deacon, to give back and reflect some of what I have been given with the same love, joy and wonder with which I received it.
With love and gratitude, in grace and peace ~
– Ari Wolfe
During my few months as a transitional deacon, I have assisted and preached here at All Souls, stepping into a new role in a place and liturgical rhythm that I know well. In doing that, certain pieces – the parts I was suddenly responsible for – began to come alive for me in new ways. Proclaiming the Gospel has refocused my attention to Christ present as the Word. Inviting prayers for the world and inviting our own confession of sin has made me feel more deeply connected to our shared work of praying and confessing and has reminded me of my own obligation to practice both more regularly. Sending people out “rejoicing in the power of the Spirit” has truly been joyful. Over the summer, I also had the opportunity to serve in several liturgical roles at St. Gregory of Nyssa parish in SF, where I learned a bit about what it is like to step into a very different liturgical practice, which is yet part of the breadth of our tradition, and had a fantastic time. Very shortly after having been ordained, I assisted at a friend’s wedding in Oregon. That gave me a renewed appreciation for the mentorship and training I’ve received, as I was able, still not really knowing what I was doing as deacon, to flow smoothly into the service. Getting to serve there and be “on the other side” (from where the congregation sits) as she and her now-husband were exchanging vows was an extraordinary gift. More recently, I assisted and preached in Florida at a family member’s funeral, and again, I was grateful for the calm, steady liturgical sense I have learned here. That truly felt like my ordination opened channels of ministry and healing that may well not have been possible otherwise.
As I wrote over the summer, I am incredibly grateful for all of you and the ways you have supported me in this process. Walking these final days of my transitional diaconate toward my ordination to the priesthood, I am beginning to feel more palpably what it is I am called into. In these last weeks I have felt a shift from “Am I called to this?” to “I am called, and it is now for me to respond by committing myself to this ministry.” I ask for your prayers as I step more fully into my vocation. I look forward with excitement and awe to presiding at liturgy with you on Dec. 1.
– Nikky Wood
You are all enthusiastically invited to the ordinations on Nov. 30 at Grace Cathedral at 3pm.
Embracing the Way Of Love This Advent
“We seek, name and celebrate Jesus’ loving presence in the stories of all people and invite everyone to MORE¨.
In July of 2018, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry called members of the Episcopal Church to embrace a Rule of Life through a series of spiritual practices to help them live a deeper Jesus-centered life. He called these spiritual practices “The Way of Love”, seven practices that provide a framework to follow and bear witness of the Jesus Way to the world. The practices are:
- Turn: Pause, listen and choose to follow Jesus.
- Learn: Reflect daily on scripture, especially the life and teachings of Jesus.
- Pray: Spend time with God in prayer every day.
- Worship: Gather in community for worship every week.
- Bless: Share one’s faith and find ways to serve other people.
- Go: Move beyond one’s comfort to witness to the love of God with words and actions.
- Rest: Dedicate time for restoration and wholeness.
This Advent, we invite you to adopt these practices by exploring Journeying the Way of Love, a series of reflections and practices that will be available through an Advent calendar and weekly cards placed in the pews and the narthex.
We invite you to pay special attention to the practices of Bless: how can you share your faith and serve others this season? Advent and Christmas are particular times when others around us might be in need of spaces to be in community and come closer to the Holy. Consider the ways in which you can live and share your faith, and extend an invitation to those around you.
May you have a holy and blessed Advent.
Tonantzin (Toni) Martínez-Borgfeldt and
The All Souls Evangelism Ministry
The Berkeley Half Marathon this Sunday
Don’t forget that the Berkeley Half Marathon is happening on Sunday and will impact the roads surrounding All Souls! For race route and to see which roads will be closed, check out the race’s website.
Climate Justice Series
Bishop Marc was with us to help kick off our Climate Justice series last week (click here to listen to the audio). This week, please join us during the formation hour as we welcome David Hochschild, Chair of the California Energy Commission—and continue our series “Caring for Creation: Hope & Action for Climate Justice.” David Hochschild will speak on “Building a Clean Energy Future for California.” Parish Hall, 10:10 – 11:05 a.m.
2020 Capital Campaign Forum
Join us for a parish forum on November 17 at 12:30pm in the Parish Hall for a preview of the capital campaign slated for the first half of 2020. What we are called to do for this place to live into our mission and enliven our ministry for those who are here, and for those who will come after us?
Stephen Ministry Training
Caring through listening? Please join the Stephen Leaders for an information session on November 24th at 12:30p in the Chapel. We would love to tell you more about the process of becoming a Stephen Minister at All Souls. Or, contact Christina Robinson for more information.