From the Rector

With an Ear to Listen

St. Benedict of Nursia––patron saint of Europe, students, snake bites, and a happy death (I can’t imagine that the last two are related)––was a primary shaper of Christian community in the 5th and 6th centuries. As the Roman Empire was disintegrating and the Christian church was struggling, Benedict was a signal of faithful, Christ-like living amidst the noise.

One of the many gifts that we have received from his Rule of Life and ways of maintaining community was his understanding of a cycle of life. Much of life is spent in what he called stability. Stability is not stasis, or a rigid repetition. Stability is found in rhythm and balance, in the ordinary tasks that make up communal life­. At times, though, it is clear that because of forces outside our control (think: pandemic), or changes from within (think: effects of pandemic), that some change needs to happen.

Benedict taught that from stability all Christians can trust in and look for a conversion to new life. But we can’t just jump from one stage to the other, there is an intermediary stage that we have to enter, what he termed the stage of obedience.

Now, even as I write that sentence, I can hear the pitchforks being sharpened and the torches being lit. Give me a moment. Because for Benedict the heart of obedience is found in the root of the word, which is from the Latin, obedir. Listening, really attending to someone else’s experiences, hopes, desires, and fears is what Christian obedience to one another and to God is about. It is not blind assent, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In Benedict’s monasteries, when the abbot was contemplating a significant change, they had to listen to all of the monks, even the novices, in order to fully live into their vow of obedience.

We at All Souls Parish find ourselves at the precipice of a change, a conversion to a new way of being. For the second time in the past 75 years we have begun the process of renewing our physical spaces. Thanks to the inspiring generosity of hundreds of All Soulsians in our recent Living Waters Capital Campaign, we are now able to begin the work of renewal and repair in our facilities and our neighborhoods. Earlier this summer we conducted an online survey about the campaign (those results have been up in the back of the nave for a couple of months) and we are now undertaking the second part of a several part process of listening and conversation about where the Spirit is moving at All Souls Parish. Later this fall you’ll be able to participate in a series of listening sessions about the Isaiah Project, our tithe towards the holy work of communal repair and restoration in the East Bay. In the next few weeks, though, we are turning our attention to the various building projects towards Complete Accessibility, Carbon Neutrality, Communal Flexibility, and Continued Vitality.

Rather than simply give people a questionnaire, however, we are gathering together to listen to one another. The hope is that we will hear from one another what matters to each other in the life of the parish, learn from our collective experiences, and together give our Vestry a sense of what is most important as we renew our buildings and our parish. There will be three listening sessions: this Sunday morning, September 18th at the Parish Retreat, Sunday, September 25th at 12:45pm in the Parish Hall, and Monday, September 26th at 7p, via Zoom.

Please join in one of these conversations, to learn and to listen, to contemplate and to speak. For it will be in true obedience with each other that we will hear the whisper of the Spirit, and be able to fully engage our collective response.



From the Living Waters

It’s Time to Talk About the Projects!

In 2020, the Living Waters Project identified capital projects that would renew our church space for its second century.  Finally, it is time to talk about the projects. 

The Vestry is working with the Property Committee to define a scope of work to use in seeking an architect and a general contractor.  The Vestry is also seeking input from the congregation.  It would like to understand which projects hold the community’s interest and which projects the congregation considers most important. 

The Vestry has created the Project Input Process to gauge this initial interest. It will use this input to inform its decisions about the Property Committee’s recommendations and about how to approach the projects.

The Project Input Process will be the best opportunity for congregational input on the work of the Living Waters Project.  Please join this conversation.  Two in-person sessions and one online gathering will allow All Soulsians to talk with each other about the projects and then provide an opportunity for each person to offer measurable feedback about which projects are most important to them. Members of the Property Committee and the Vestry will be attending each of the sessions and taking in the conversation.

The sessions are:

Sunday, September 18, 9:00 – 10:45 a.m. in-person at the Parish Retreat

Sunday, September 25, 12:45 – 2:00 p.m. in-person in the Parish Hall

Monday, September 26, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. on Zoom

Be please plan to attend one of these sessions.

To assist these discussions and exercises we have prepared a Project Input Process brochure, which will distributed at the in-person sessions and is available here: Project Input Process Brochure.  The brochure includes a note from our Rector, the Reverend Phil Brochard, a more detailed description of each project and maps of the project locations. Please take a moment to review the brochure before the session and come ready to talk projects!

After the sessions, the Living Waters Project will distill the comments, tally the preferences and share the data with the Vestry and congregation. 

And so we will begin to renew our space!

Richard Lynch

Chair, Living Waters Campaign

Save the Dates

  • September 25th, Stewardship Launch
  • September 25th & 26th, Living Waters Prioritization Sessions
  • October 2, Feast of St. Francis & Pet Blessing
  • October 30, Stewardship Celebration Dinner

Weekly Worship

Join us for worship this week:

  • 9am, in-person, indoors 
  • 11:15am, in-person, indoors. This week’s service will be live streamed from the Bishop’s Ranch (click here to access the live stream)
  • 5p, Sunday Night Service. In-person, indoors in the Chapel.

You can access the live stream through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning. 

If you miss a Sunday, you can always catch the sermon on our homepage or as a podcast, anywhere you listen to podcasts! 

Wednesday 9am Service

Join the Zoom call here, or join us in person in the Nave at 9a. Password: 520218.


Adult Formation Classes

There are two class offerings this Sunday:

  • Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in the Common Room.
  • Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:15a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in the Common Room.

Children, Youth, and Family News

There is no Sunday School or Youth Group this week due to the Parish Retreat.

Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.

Other News & Notes

Coming Up in Adult Formation

On October 2, 9, 16, and 23rd in the Parish Hall and on Zoom

What is work for? Why does it matter for us Christians and as a Christian community? Join Dr. Scott MacDougall and the Rev. Phil Brochard as they explore the demands of Pharaoh, vocation, statements of ultimate value, the meaning of economy, the Protestant work ethic, and what it means for each of us to labor as an element of Christian practice.

Pick-up Choir Now that the 9am service has moved indoors, we’re assembling a pick-up choir to sing a simple anthem each week. You don’t need to vest or attend the Wednesday evening rehearsal, just show up at 8:30 on Sunday morning. If you have questions, please write to!

How to access staff & clergy in the new Jordan Court Offices

Wondering how to reach us in the new offices? Here’s how:

  • Enter on Cedar & Oxford and press “001” on the call box. This will take you to the church voicemail system. Select the number of the person you are trying to reach and it will call their office phone directly.
    • For Annie: press 1
    • For Phil: press 2
    • For Maggie: press 3
    • For Emily: press 4
    • For Jamie: press 5
  • Once on the phone with the person you are trying to reach, but before they buzz the door open, they will give you a code that you need to either write down or remember as you will need it to enter the stairwell or the elevator.
  • Once you have been buzzed into the lobby, head towards the stairs or elevator and use the code you were given to get to the 3rd floor.
  • After exiting the elevator or stairwell, turn right and the All Souls offices are at the end of the hall! Voila!
  • If you are entering from the church building, you can also access the offices through the gate at the courtyard. You can either text or phone a staff or clergy to get the gate code and then may enter the staff offices either by going up the outdoor stairwell or by entering the Jordan Court building and going up the elevator (the same gate code will get you in the Jordan Court building and the elevator).

Church Office Hours:

Staff & Clergy can be reached Sunday-Thursday by phone/text/or email. Tuesday-Thursday from 10-5p you can find staff & clergy in the office. You can reach an on-call clergy at any time by calling our church offices and pressing “8” for the on-call priest.

BAMFA Exhibit From September 3-December 18 BAMFA is running an exhibit on the art and history of incarceration, called Undoing Time: Art and Histories of Incarceration. This exhibit “considers the foundational roots of confinement from philosophical, sociological, theological, and art historical perspectives to better understand the fact that today’s mass incarceration crisis has been centuries in the making. This exhibition traces images from history that contribute to the entrenched cultural beliefs associated with today’s carceral system.” Click here for more info.

Braid Foster Youth Mentors Needed! The Braid Mission, which uses a team approach to mentoring, is looking for more folks to join mentor youth teams. You can read more about Braid Mission here. And can sign-up to schedule a 20 minute info session by clicking here. If you’re looking to talk to an All Soulsian about what it’s like to be a mentor with Braid Mission, you can reach out to Anne Cockle,

Spiritual Autobiography Small Group All Souls will begin offering an ongoing writing workshop/small group this fall. Meeting in person as a small group at church one evening a month, we’ll work to create for one another the loving environment we all need to tell our own stories to ourselves. This workshop will be open to writers at all levels of experience. If you’re interested, please come out to the information session on Sunday, October 16th just after the 11:15 service, in the Common Room or October 18th in the evening. Feel free to reach out to either Jane Vandenburgh, the instructor, or Emily Hansen Curran for more information.


Living Water Prioritization Sessions This fall there will be opportunities to share your perspective about the work of the Living Waters Project. Mark your calendar for three separate opportunities. The first opportunity will be on Sunday, September 18th, at the Parish Retreat; the second will be on September 25th just after the 11:15 service; and the third will be on Zoom, Monday, September 26th at 7p. This is the opportunity for each All Soulsian to offer their input on the Living Waters projects. Everyone is encouraged to participate. This input will guide the Property Committee as it creates a construction plan.