From the Rector

Grandma Rowe’s Cookies

A couple of years ago as we prepared for an All Saints & All Souls feast we encouraged All Soulsians to cook and share food that a beloved family member had once cooked for us. All kinds of delicious, lovingly made food filled the tables of the Parish Hall. There is something about the scent of cooking, about the taste of the way your mother, or uncle, or grandmother made that dish that brings to life the love that you shared. I, for one, can’t wait to make my Grandma Rowe’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

We’re coming to that time of the year again, the thin space where we engage in tangible, visceral rituals to remember those who have died. Really, to re-member. To once again lean into the belief that all of us are knit into the fabric of Life. To remind ourselves that as Christians we trust that in death life is changed, not ended.

Every year we find our way to this ancient feast not simply to remember the Saints of the Church, but to remember the saints of the Church. We hold up, cherish, offer thanks, and hold close those beloved of God who are part of the great cloud of witnesses, whether they have a date on the calendar of Feasts and Fasts or not.

It seems to be a human thing, this longing to remember those we’ve loved and see no longer. And so over centuries within the Christian tradition we have marked this longing myriad ways. This year as we approach the Triduum of All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day this year, we have been considering how to engage in these rituals as a community, especially when we aren’t able to congregate as we usually do.

Here are some ways that we invite one and all to this practice of re-membering, practices that put our self and ourselves back together.

Create a home altar to help you remember. Bring out the photos and mementos that have remind you of the love that these saints shared with you. Cook the foods that bring you close, tell the stories that make you laugh and cry. Open up your heart to God in thanks for their witness and presence.

 Send a digital picture by end of day Friday to of someone that you would like to remember as part of our 11:15a service this Sunday, November 1st. We will be ending our worship with these photos and music from All Souls, holding them up to the Light.

 Join us in creating a public Altar of the Dead. This year, we find ourselves in an especially tender communal moment, so we will be using the Triptych on Cedar to create a space for people to place the photos and write the names of those who have died so that together we can remember. This altar will be in place from Sunday, November 1st through Saturday, November 7th.

 Of course, this time of remembrance comes at a particularly tense and challenging moment in our nation. I find this to be all the more reason to engage in moments of prayer, reflection, connection and thanksgiving. So find a way to remember this Sunday and the days following. As for me, I will be baking, looking at treasured photos, and wearing handed-down sweaters––in all, remembering.



From the Stewardship Committee

Sunday, October 25 was a momentous day at All Souls. Not only did we hold our first in-person worship service in almost eight months, but we also celebrated Ingathering Sunday.

Since the pandemic prevented us from hosting our traditional Stewardship Celebration Dinner, the Stewardship Committee got creative and put together a socially distanced, outdoor Ingathering event on Sunday afternoon from 1 o’clock to 3 o’clock. We collected pledges, gave away All Souls–branded stickers and magnets, and offered homemade cookies baked by generous All Souls volunteers.

We also invited attendees on a self-guided walking meditation around the block to view the Jordan Court construction site, to reflect on the many wonderful things our pledges have helped us accomplish over the years, and to help us feel inspired to move forward together amid the challenges of our times. Special thanks are due to Anna Gustafson, the primary organizer of the event, and to Will Bryant, who
wrote the reflections and prayers for the self-guided walking tour.

Dozens of All Soulsians came to the morning service, the Ingathering event, or both to worship together, turn in their pledges, experience the joy of seeing one another in the flesh, marvel at the progress made on Jordan Court, and in a few notable cases, rock their glorious retro 1970s hairstyles, achieved by avoiding the barbershop to minimize coronavirus risks. It may have been an understated Ingathering by our usual standards, but the spirit of All Souls was present in full force.

We understand that many of you were not able to stop by in person on Sunday for safety reasons or practical reasons. We anticipated that we would receive a lower number of pledges than usual on Ingathering Sunday, and this was in fact the case. A total of 72 pledgers, including 66 repeat pledgers, 4 new pledgers, and 2 youth pledgers, submitted their pledges on Sunday, together pledging $373,096.
For comparison’s sake, at last year’s Ingathering, a total of 134 pledgers submitted pledges that initial Sunday, together pledging $489,708.

However, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Every year, quite a few pledges are received in November and even into December and January. Given the logistical challenges of pledging caused by the pandemic, we know that many of you who might have normally pledged on Ingathering Sunday will do so soon. What’s more, if we look at just the 66 repeat pledges we’ve received so far, there is a definite upward trend. Last year, those 66 repeat pledgers had pledged $337,658; this year, they pledged $363,045, an increase of 7.5 percent. This overall upward movement is a clear community statement of faith, commitment, and hope for our future.

Whether you were able to participate directly in Ingathering Sunday or not, we hope that you find the above information heartening and inspiring. If you haven’t yet submitted your pledge, we highly encourage you to do so as soon as possible. If you have any tendency to procrastinate, this is the one year where fighting that
tendency can make a huge difference! The more pledges we receive over the next couple of weeks, the more clearly our Finance Committee and our Vestry will be able to envision our 2021 budget landscape, and the more confidence they will have in thinking through important budget decisions. We will leave you with a portion of one of the prayers Will Bryant wrote for last Sunday’s self-guided walking tour:

May the fruits of this housing project at Oxford and Cedar
come to enrich this place we call home.
And may it invite us to ponder anew what we might do in the spirit of giving.
Contemplating your creation and marvelous works, O God,
what else lies ahead for us,
just around the corner,
just beyond the fence?

—Bob Holum

Reflections from Sacred Ground

Peggy Curran, Emily Hansen Curran’s mom, has joined All Souls for one of the Sacred Ground Circles. Besides being an active grandmother, she also works in Santa Cruz as a spiritual director.

When asked about how a Sacred Ground Circle is different from other small groups, she offered this response:

Sacred Ground is part contemplative work and part college class. It’s informative, educational, but it also gives us space to go beneath the surface of our own thoughts and our own truths.  I love how I’m given permission to “Come as I am” and to share from a place exactly where I am. I’m not expected to be or say anything from a certain perspective. I can experience this information and marinate in it without expectations. The information is not manipulating me to feel guilty as a middle class white person. I am not being shamed in order to move forward and to be really open. Shame closes us up. Loving information keeps us open. And if we’re open, we can grow and change.

I really like the chronological and historical aspects of this program. It helps us to build a strong foundation of information. For me personally, most of the information is fairly new. I feel like a sponge. I feel like I’m a container holding all this information, sitting with it in a contemplative, reflective, and sacred way. I know I can’t digest all this information very quickly. I’m asking for the Holy Spirit to germinate and activate this information in me as I’m able. It is a fresh and new perspective that I’m hearing from different voices. It feels hard. It feels good.

–Peggy Curran

Renae Breitenstein is a parishioner at All Souls who gave this response to the question of which reading or video was particularly striking or moving for her:

When the Fall wind comes striping the leaves from the oaks, maples and elms I hear them rustle. I see them scatter here and there, some into color-full drifts.  I too feel the wind as it catches my hat, my scarf, stings my face with a leaf or dust.  Do I know which bit of wind stole the Red Maple or Golden-Brown Oak leaf from the tree?  Or which annoying gust stung my face?  No, it is only “The Wind”.   Later when it is calm, I appreciate the power of the wind.  The sky is cleared of clouds. I smile at the beauty of the leaves; I rake them into piles and the kids and dogs play.  But I have not forgotten the sting on my face, chasing my hat, that just being annoyed feeling.  And the trees are bare.

I am feeling a little windblown. The gusts of stories, of ideas, of reality push me as I try to catch and hold onto them.  In the midst of this ‘Wind” I am astonished by the lengths and extremes to which people – should I say white people? – have resorted in order to justify enslaving people because of the color of their skin.

From this same “Wind” I was struck by these words from episode 1 from the PBS series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr, “Black people knew they were people whether white people thought so or not. They knew they were people and when they heard words about freedom and other things, they thought it applied to them.”  The efforts of the Europeans and slave owners to erase their identity had failed.   This quote from ANAÏS NIN, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” begins one section of Waking Up White. I hold onto those words along with ideas from chapters 12 and 13 in Waking Up White that identity, self-image, forms our view of the world, those around us and how we react.

As I navigate “The Wind” of Sacred Ground I will no doubt be struck and catch other ideas and insights into my identity, my self-image.  Should I become as the bare tree let us hope that with Spring comes new growth and change.

–Renae Breitenstein

Treasurer’s Report

The Numbers Part of the Story…

As we head into Fall, this is a good time to consider where we are in relation to our forecasts (budget) for this year. At the end of October, we are approximately 80% of the way through the fiscal year.

Pledged giving is nearly on target. This is likely due to some having accelerated their pledged giving early this year. Total Income, however, is a bit below what is expected at this time of the year including the planned $23,000 transfer of investment income into the operating budget. We received less than expected income from other sources like facilities use.

Our year-to-date expenses are about 13% less than our budget. Some of this may be due to reimbursement requests coming in slowly, some due to expenses that aren’t expected until later in the year, and some due to leaving the Associate Rector position open until September.

Overall, this is a good situation for us to be in this year and we’re so appreciative of your response to the appeals from the Stewardship Team. However, income frequently comes unevenly and is often concentrated in the beginning of the year. This has also been an uncommon year, We’ve all been impacted by the pandemic and the economic strain, in one way or another. We ask that, if you can do so, to please continue with your planned giving for the remainder of the year. In addition, if you made an authorized purchase for the church and have not yet submitted it for reimbursement, please do so as soon as you can.

The balance in Vanguard (Jordan) funds at the end of September was $1,040,444. Of this total, $823,340 is considered principle held for capital needs associated with our paused capital campaign for the church spaces and a small amount for the 2021 occupancy of Jordan Court (the joint project with SAHA to provide affordable senior housing and housing/office space for the church). Earnings (unrealized gain) at the end of September were $217,104. We have drawn $47,000 from the Jordan Principal for capital-related costs this year.

If you have questions about any of this, or would like additional detail, please reach out to me.

-Vimala Tharisayi, Treasurer


In-person worship this Sunday!

We are gathering in person this Sunday 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 Livestreaming News

The livestream of Sunday services 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 one class offering this Sunday

  • Reading Between the Lines Bible Study. Contact Daniel Prechtel,, to join that Zoom call at 10:10am. 

Next Sunday, join us for our newest class:

Carrying the Cross Together 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:

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 News

In person Children’s Formation takes place every Sunday at 10:10 in the Courtyard, and there is a Zoom option available for those who prefer to participate virtually (password is 216504). Please be prepared to stay with your children and to keep your children in their own family pod, and also, to be wearing masks. Read the Family Bulletin or see Maggie Foote ( 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, which has been updated to include some new information and resources (including the links for all the storybook videos) for families.

Stephen Ministry: We’re 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.

Thursday Compline 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

Passcode: Compline

Check out Season 2, Episode 8 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: for more information.

Wednesday 9:00am Service
Join the Zoom call here:
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218

Meal Train
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

Tiny Home Project

Hi there! We are Youth Spirit Artworks, a local nonprofit based in South Berkeley that offers homeless and low-income youth job training and empowerment programs through art. We are currently in the process of building the first Tiny House Village for homeless youth in the U.S.! Right now, we are in the final stretch of getting the Village finished – but, we need your help to get there! We have volunteer builds happening every Saturday at our Village site at 633 Hegenberger Road in Oakland. Builds start at 9:30 am and end at 4:00 pm. We ask that volunteers come wearing masks and ready to socially distance – there’s lots of space at the site! Builds can involve a variety of projects for those with and without construction experience, including building yurt floors, erecting yurts, painting planters and fence planks, completing Tiny House construction (ie., caulking, trimming, etc.), cleaning the site, and so forth.