FROM THE RECTOR
Come Feast With Us
Several years ago a few newcomers to All Souls, as they were discerning becoming members of the parish, asked Emily what the expectations of membership were. Which was an excellent question, as at the time we didn’t have clearly defined expectations. So, over the course of the next several months Emily and I set to work to distill the expectations that we have of people who wish to be members here.
In the end we distilled six practices: Worship with us, Serve with us, Pray with us, Learn with us, Give with us, and Eat with us. It’s this last one, Eat with us, that I’d like to reflect on today. Eating together is as basic a human practice as it gets. If you are living, you need to eat. And while this is a practical necessity of existence, it is also one of the primary markers of what it means to truly be alive.
Eating together is often how we mark the nodal moments of our lives: birthdays, weddings, funerals. And if there was one practice that Jesus was consistent about—and that consistently got him in trouble—it was all the eating that he did with other people. A good portion of his teaching came at a table or was about what happens at tables. It is no mistake, then, that one of the central rites of the Christian Church is a meal. A highly ritualized (which is sometimes a problem) meal, but fundamentally a meal shared my many. You could say that to be Christian together is to eat together.
The next two weeks will be full of feasts for this parish family. Yes, there will be the meals we share around the altar these next two Sundays. And, coming out of those meals, we will continue the feast in particular ways.
This coming Sunday, October 27th, as you likely know, as part of the 7:30a, 9a, and 11:15a services we will be gathering in the our pledges of what we will give in the next calendar year. And as we have for years now, later this Sunday, starting at 5:30p, we will celebrate together by eating dinner together, children, youth, and adults. Every year we do this, I am stunned to see the fullness of spirit that fills the spaces—the Common Room, the Parish Hall, the Quire, and now the Courtyard. It is clearly so good for us to be together. If you have yet to sign up, there are still just a few spots left, sign up here.
And. The Sunday following, the Feast of All Saints & All Souls (our feast of title) we will feast again. Yes with all three services, by praying with and for all those who have died this past year, and by surrounding our table with pictures of those we love and see no longer. And it will also be the last Sunday that the Rev. Liz Tichenor will be with us as our Associate Rector. So we must feast.
At 10:15a, between the 9a and 11:15a services, we will be feasting, remembering, celebrating, and wishing Godspeed to Liz and family. (as with last year, we ask that you bring some food to share that a loved one who has died taught you to make, or in some way reminds you of them) This will be an opportunity to laugh, to cry, to cheer, to love, and, yes, to eat. Because when you love someone, you eat with them.
These next couple of weeks will be opportunities to practice one of the elemental ways that we re–member: by eating together. So bring some food to share, a spirit of generous love to offer, and the willingness to break bread with friend and stranger alike.
My name is Annie and I’m excited to be the new Administrative Assistant at All Souls. I’m originally from Southern California (Long Beach and San Juan Capistrano) and have been living in the Bay Area since 2005. I received an MFA in Poetry from the University of San Francisco in 2013, and for the past decade, I’ve taught creative writing in numerous settings, including San Quentin State Prison and USF. I currently teach poetry and performance at a high school for pregnant and parenting teens in the Mission when I’m not in the office at All Souls.
Having summers off (the perks of being a teacher!) afforded me the immense blessing of walking the Camino de Santiago five times (and counting, it seems)—I’m happy to chat with anyone making the journey. Growing up, I attended a Jewish preschool, an Episcopal middle school, a Catholic high school, and a Jesuit university (Santa Clara), and for a semester, a Buddhist studies program in Bodh Gaya, India. Needless to say, I’ve had a diverse spiritual upbringing. I’m delighted to be joining such a warm and inclusive community rooted in faith. Please stop by the office to say hello!
— Annie Rovzar
I love it here.
My family and I moved to the bay area in 2016.
When I think about how lucky I am to be able to live in such a beautiful place, filled with compassionate caring people, I feel a sense of gratitude that almost overwhelms me. I get the same feeling when I visit my daughter’s school or preschool. My children are cared for, my wife and I work meaningful jobs where we feel that our work is valued.
It’s too much.
I feel so fortunate and, before joining All Souls, I felt so unable to deal with this.
This place has given me the tools to manifest my gratitude. It has given me a place to come and serve food to our neighbors. It has given me a place to come and hear thoughtful people talk about how to be a good person. It has given me a network of caring people that can be role models for my children.
We have given to charities for years, but handing someone a plate of food and telling them that are welcome here during our Open Door Dinner is something I look forward to ever quarter. Giving in that way give me more back than writing a check to a distant charity ever did. And I’ve certainly read books about living a good life and being a good person. But hearing Liz talk about navigating the checkout line at Monterrey Market with children is so viscerally relevant that is sticks with me and becomes something I use as a reference when I need to make moral decisions.
Different people have spoken this month about why they contribute and what they get from All Souls.
I contribute to All Souls because this place grounds me and has become essential to how I live my life. I contribute to All Souls to help sustain its mission and to be available for the next person that needs it. I contribute to All Souls in the hopes that this place can continue doing the good work that the world needs for the rest of my life.
— Terry Nicol
From the Junior Warden
Carrying the Mission of All Souls into Everything We Do
Every month, one of the wardens offers a recap of our most recent Vestry meeting. This month it’s my turn to give you a sense of what went down at our October Vestry meeting.
First, we heard from Nancy Austin, co-chair of the Capital Campaign, about their work together so far. Marilyn Flood, Nancy and Phil had their first visit from Mark Rieke, our Capital Campaign consultant, who took an extensive tour of our campus and gained a clear understanding of our vision and mission. There will be many opportunities for you to keep up with the latest in Capital Campaign news. In fact, on Sunday, November 17th after the 11:15a service, there will be a forum about the campaign, and on future Sundays there will be listening posts and you can talk to folks on the Capital Campaign team about how the process is unfolding.
Also at this meeting, the Vestry had a few pieces of business to approve. All priests are required to sign and abide by the Whole and Healthy Church Policies and Procedures for the Diocese of California. This document covers policies on social media, sexual misconduct, proper use of alcohol, safety in private meetings between vulnerable parishioners and priests, and much more. A copy of this document can be found posted at church or on our diocesan website. The Vestry unanimously approved the vision and intent of this document. In addition, we also unanimously approved continuing to offer our staff the same health benefits package as in prior years.
Then it was time for another visit from Kirk Miller with an update on the Parish House project. Kirk has put in countless hours making adjustments in design for cost efficiency but always being careful to not do so at the expense of beauty. In particular, we discussed how best to connect the current church building with the new building, exploring options for a gate and other elements that would both be beautiful and prioritize accessibility.
Just as we dream big for the future of All Souls, there was also a tone of somberness as we approached the end of our meeting, knowing this would be the last Vestry Meeting for Liz+. At the end of each meeting, our chaplain selects three people to each lead prayers for petition, thanksgiving and guidance. Each person, without knowing what the others would pray for, included Liz+ in their prayers. Our meetings will not be the same without her profound insights, cunning wit, and snacks when meetings get long! We know that her next Vestry will be lucky to have her, just as we look forward to what is to come for All Souls!
— Erin Horne
Stewardship Celebration Dinner
Last call! Our Stewardship Celebration Dinner is this Sunday, October 27th, 5:30-7:30 pm. There is just a little more room — please sign up here today!
ALL SAINTS AND ALL SOULS SUNDAY
Continuing the Feast & Goodbye for Liz Tichenor
Please bring something tasty to share at the festive brunch between the 9:00 and 11:15 am services, roughly 10:15. This would be the perfect time to break out the favorite, signature recipe of someone you’ve loved who has passed on — what a feast that could be!
We are also collecting a gift of appreciation (a purse) for Liz for the many years that she has given to this parish and to this community. You can send a check in to the office, drop one in the plate, or hand deliver it to Emily (with gift for Liz in the memo line).
Cloud of Witnesses
This year we’ll be displaying photos all around the nave chapel of those we love who have died — please bring photos on Sunday, November 3rd and add them to the ribbons all around the sacred space, which will remain through the month of November. We will also be reading names of those who have died in the last year — please write their names on the clipboard in the back of the church or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please note that there will be note that there will be incense at the 11:15 service.
From Justice and Peace
We want to hear from you! This Sunday will provide an opportunity to complete the survey for Climate Justice Initiative. The Climate Justice Working group will follow up with programs that respond to your interests – from eco-spiritual practices to lifestyle changes to public policy and beyond. We are beginning this regenerative year by listening to YOU.