From the Junior Warden
Your vestry met last on September 19th. I’m writing to tell you a little about that meeting and also to offer those who may be wondering a snapshot of why vestry matters – we are not a run of the mill board of directors. More on that later. In Laura Eberly’s absence, Erin Horne prepared us to “play” and led us in a drawing exercise in which we each started a drawing with an image or word(s) in just 40 seconds, then passed it on to our left and used 40 seconds to add to or embellish the drawing passed from our right. Several passes later, our original drawing returned to each of us, with contributions from everyone at the table. The results ranged from whimsical to profound; in my case, a little of both extremes. I had drawn a very simple waterside scene as a place where I feel happy, and layered with many interesting touches, my scene ended up lifted by strong arms, elevated to what I saw as a place of solitude and safety, taking what I presented as a retreat space to a new level of wonder and security, lifted toward the heavens. I admit to having had a twinge of dread that so many would have the chance to change my drawing to something I didn’t recognize. What I discovered was the collaboration had enhanced and deepened its original meaning; a testament to the benefits of many voices, hands, and hearts to any of the ministries of All Souls Parish, and obviously to the vestry whose work it is to serve our entire congregation. After talking a bit about our experiences with the exercise, the business of the meeting continued.
Kirk Miller and Ed Hahn updated us on the Parish House Project. You may remember talk of the first Zoning Adjustment Board meeting, which brought supporters and detractors to be heard. Many of the detractors were supportive of the intentions behind the plan even as they brought their concerns. These concerns are on a wide continuum, the main issues being parking and view obstruction. All in all, the project has support from neighbors and most of the Zoning Adjustment Board. We have been delayed by a few weeks appearing before the next ZAB meeting, due to missing a step, necessitating submission of alternate plans illustrating why we cannot settle for fewer units, but require the density bonus (a policy of the state California) available to us for bringing low income units to the area. The density bonus allows more height, making room for the number of units that will make the construction feasible for all involved. The Board will write their report and recommendation following our appearance at our next ZAB meeting. The report will be mailed to all neighbors within a 300 foot radius of the property, which then opens a window for any appeal. If there is no timely appeal, the matter will go to the City Council before their holiday recess would move us into the new year. So we are proceeding apace, for now.
A most heartwarming report came from the Rev. Liz Tichenor on her sabbatical. It was never lost on Liz+ that not all parishes provide for and encourage sabbatical leave for an Associate Rector. She fervently stated it was the best gift she’d ever received, the gift of time and trust, and the trust was humbling. She returned to us with both the tangible results in her writing, and the intangible acquisition of healthy and sustainable boundaries balancing work and home. That latter is not easy when you live a few feet from your work.
We are on the cusp of our Stewardship Campaign, starting with the Launch Brunch on October 7th, not to be confused with Lunch Bunch. There’s a tongue twister: say “Launch Brunch Lunch Bunch” three times fast. I’m always moved by the annual revisit to why we give our time, talent, and treasure to this remarkable spiritual home. Finding a new interpretation of what generosity means to me and rediscovering the joy of supporting the ministries that sustain us and the wider community; there is always something new to learn about what’s important to me, and I hope your reflection during this time yields newfound joy as well.
My time on vestry will come to a close at the next annual meeting just four short months away. I have been privileged to serve two separate terms as a vestry member since we showed up with 13 month old twins over 20 years ago. That works out to be about 30% of my time here. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to stay away before asking for your vote again to serve, but I know I will want to come back. You may think that a vestry meeting is just business, and some of us may not like to mix church with business, but to quote Jacob Marley, “Mankind was my business.” The vestry is here for all of us. Those who get “to be in the room where it happens” have the duty to share proceedings with parishioners and conversely to bring concerns of the parishioners back to the vestry. In The Vestry Handbook, Christopher L. Webber points out that “the financial and property concerns of a vestry are not something wholly separate from the church’s life of worship or its mission to serve others.” Prayer and purposeful deliberations happen even with the more mundane aspects of issues at hand. We open each meeting with a scriptural reflection, and close each meeting with prayers of thanksgiving, petition, and guidance, as well as prayer from compline. Each of us is a liaison to a branch of ministry so there is regular reporting of how and what each ministry is doing, and what assistance may be needed. Vestry matters to me, and even if you don’t know it yet, vestry matters to you. These post meeting reflections started about two years ago are intended to communicate matters you may feel you hear nothing about otherwise. But consider sitting in (as all are welcome) on our next meeting, October 17th. You may just find you’d like to be in the room where prayer and business coexist.
Maggie Cooke, Jr. Warden
New Classes Beginning
Check out these next offerings in Adult Formation, beginning October 14th at 10:10 am and continuing through the end of the month. Come for one, or come for all!
I once read that making music was a way to voice the ineffable. I have no doubt that there is some truth to this. We make music because more often than not, words simply are not enough to communicate the depth of our experiences. It comes as no surprise then that whether playing, singing, or listening, making music is for many faithful people a way to connect with God. We fashion the ineffable, our souls and our encounters with God, with music. Making music is a soul craft. Join me for a three week listening party.
Constantine and the Cathedral: Church – State Relations in Christian Tradition
Led by Dr. Sarah Bakker Kellogg and the Rev. Phil Brochard in the Parish Hall
Through centuries of Christian history, we have wrestled with Matthew 22:21 and Romans 13:1. In Matthew, Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s,” while Paul wrote to the Romans, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God.” Contemplating these passages in Berkeley, California in the year 2018, we are faced with a number of challenging questions. What, exactly, belongs to Ceasar, and what belongs to God? How—and when—do we draw a distinction between the two? In times of social change and political crisis, how do we as Christians decide, individually and communally, what we do and do not owe to Ceasar and what we do or not owe to God? What is our relationship as Episcopelians to power, and what ought it to be?
There are no easy answers, only more questions.
This course offers tools for reflection and an opportunity to grapple with these questions so that we, as a community and individually, can engage our political environment with greater intention as Christians. We will survey how humans have approached the relationship between religious and political life historically and cross-culturally, while examining pivotal moments in Christianity’s relationship with states and empires in order to better understand our current moment. For more information, contact Sarah Bakker Kellogg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justice and Peace Again Hosts Options Recovery Services Graduation Dinner
On Friday, September 7th, All Souls again had the privilege of hosting the graduation dinner for Options Recovery Services in Berkeley.
This groundbreaking addiction treatment program offers a person-centered, holistic model of care—and has helped more than 10,000 people achieve sobriety since its founding.
The graduation was held in the auditorium of the Veterans Memorial Building in Berkeley. For the dinner, Sharon Roberts again served as organizer extraordinaire—planning, shopping, decorating, and leading the team of All Soulsians serving a hearty buffet including the ever-popular barbequed ribs. The team all agreed that it is both an honor to participate in these celebrations, and an unforgettable experience to witness the moving testimonials and support of the graduates for each other as they complete this challenging yearlong program.
This year, it was also a day to remember and honor the late Dr. Davida Coady, who died May 3rd from ovarian cancer. The daughter of David Taylor, a coal miner who emigrated from Scotland, and Elizabeth Perry, from San Francisco’s Mission district, Davida grew up in a three-room house in Berkeley. She and her family attended Northbrae Community Church, where she was inspired to seek a life of service.
While attending Columbia University’s medical school, she studied in Africa, Haiti, and Guatemala; and earned a master’s degree in public health at Harvard in 1969. She then spent time in Bangladesh and India, married Patrick Coady and divorced, and then returned to India. In the 1980s, she joined efforts to resist repressive regimes in Central America, as well as at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, GA. There, she worked with the late Rev. Bill O’Donnell, pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church. In the 1990s, she worked as an ER pediatrician at Oakland Children’s Hospital, treating many abused children and becoming keenly aware of the frequent presence of alcohol or drugs in their lives.
From this experience, she decided to dedicate herself to treatment of addiction. In 1994, on her 56th birthday, Dr. Coady and a friend met with a judge at the Berkeley courthouse to discuss a plan to help divert people from jail to treatment programs. From there, her work as a drug and alcohol counselor for the Berkeley Mental Health Office led to her founding Options Recovery Services. In 2006, Options started working in the California prison system, training several hundred inmates to be state-certified treatment counselors. In 2002, Dr. Coady married Tom Gorham, a former client who now serves as Executive Director.
In her memoir, Dr. Coady quotes Aengus Finucane, an Irish priest with whom she worked in Africa and Asia: “Do as much as you can, as well as you can, for as many as you can, for as long as you can.” Surely, she embodied that vision her entire life.
We from All Souls have always been warmly welcomed by Tom and Davida, and we look forward to working with Tom again next year.
– Cynthia Clifford
The Parish Retreat, in photos
Here’s a look at some of the fun from our time at the Ranch a few weeks back — enjoy!
STEWARDSHIP LAUNCH BRUNCH
It’s this Sunday, October 7th between the 9 and 11:15 services in the Parish Hall. Join the Stewardship Committee for a catered brunch to kick-off the 2019 pledge campaign. This brunch will provide an overview of the ways our stewardship and giving support the work of All Souls, both inside our walls and out in the larger community. Childcare will be available in the nursery as usual, and Sunday School for kids (but not Youth) will continue downstairs. There is no Reading Between the Lines Bible Study this Sunday at 10:10. Don’t hestitate to come, even if you’re new! It’s a great opportunity to hear and learn more about All Souls.
LOOKING TO BE BAPTIZED?
Great! The next baptisms will be on November 4th, All Saints and All Souls Sunday, our Feast of Title. If you are interested in getting baptized, or have a child or infant ready for baptism, please see Liz to begin the preparations for baptism.
STEWARDSHIP CELEBRATION DINNER
It just might be the best party of the year. It’s coming up fast, on October 28th at 5:30 pm. Don’t miss this — it’s just good fun. Sign-ups will be online and on a clipboard in the Narthex soon!