From the Associate Rector
Reaffirmation and Renewal
This coming Sunday, we will be joined by our diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, who will confirm four of our young people at the outdoor service at 9:00am. The confirmation service, generally, is meant to be an opportunity for people who are already baptized, especially those who were baptized as infants, to take on for themselves the promises that were made on their behalf at their baptism. In the church, the confirmation rite functions as a sort of coming into adulthood in the way of Christian practice.
As I looked through the rite for confirmation in the prayer book this morning, and considered this unique moment in the journey of Christian practice for our four young people, two words caught my eye: reaffirm and renew. The candidates are asked: Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil? and Do you renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?
I think these words stuck out to me so noticeably this week because they are action words that allow for an opportunity to pull ourselves out stasis we might be experiencing, spiritually, due to the disruption in our way of Christian practice. We haven’t been able to be together in person for worship on a regular and sustained basis for over a year, and Zoom fatigue and reduced opportunities to engage in embodied Christian practices may have rendered some of us feeling like the life of faith is all about what we think, say, and believe. Certainly those things are part of the Christian life, but more than that, the Christian journey is about praxis. It’s about taking those things that we think, say, and believe to be true about the Risen Christ and our world today, and turning them into an embodied way of life. My friends, it feels so hopeful to say that we are on our way back to being able to do that by gathering for worship, increasing opportunities for study and service, and gathering in a community of mutual love acceptance.
So, I don’t think there could be a more perfect time for us all to have the opportunity to reaffirm those things we know to be true about the Christian journey, and to renew our own personal commitments to the way of Jesus. I hope you’ll take a moment to reaffirm and renew your faith this week in a way that works for you, as we bear witness to the young people in our community who will be confirmed this Sunday.
Good Friday Reflections
A Reflection by Richard Page
To listen, Click here:
After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
What kind of friend gives his own place of burial, risking censure when Jews ordinarily buried criminals outside the city walls? Who is this man of Glastonbury Abbey legend, precipitator of the Grail Quest? What feelings did Joseph carry as he and Nicodemus carried the body of our Lord? Is this the end? Is the promise over? What do I know of death from my own life?
Well, my sister, Gail…my sister Gail. Being with Gail was safe. It was Home. I was her younger brother and I watched her pray daily under the backyard pine tree, where she had set an altar. Many years later, I got a phone call from home. The kindest person I knew in my world, my sister Gail, was dying of breast cancer at age 30, leaving three kids under five years of age without a mom. She was a pediatric oncology nurse, and deeply sensitive to other’s pain. I was then Sr. Public Health Advisor for the Cleveland Health Department, and a field epidemiologist under a CDC grant, but I knew that western medicine would not likely keep my sister alive. My closest friend took me to see a renowned guru from India. Assessing him to be a holy man, I asked from within my heart “Can my sister’s life be spared?” He answered inside my heart: “That can be accomplished. Do you want to change God’s plan for your sister’s soul?” My life changed at that moment. I knew then that God is, and Gail’s soul was safe in His hands. I knew that I too must be in His hands, and I could let go of trying to save her. Maybe let go of trying to fix from a broken heart what I saw as only a suffering world. I began a forty-year search in the world’s religions and healing systems. What is healing? I learned from the Sufi’s that Shah Naz, the royal glance, seeing another as whole, contributes to their capacity to see themselves as whole. How I see the world affects and effects the world I see. I experienced that everthing comes from Love, and everything teaches us about Love. Returning from a 3 year meditation retreat, I searched for and recorded meetings whose intention was to bring healing to the world. I loved the quest for thirty-five years. Would I find the Lost Chord? Perhaps it is a complex tune, composed from the heartfull intentions of those I recorded, who gave their all in service to others. Perhaps Gail’s death resurrected me to a life of service. Perhaps a death can become a life…
Grace abounds in my life, leading my soul’s journey to Love so consistently that I have learned to trust. I became a baptized Episcopalian in my seventies, again led by Grace, after a dream of the Eucharist chalice. I am grateful that at Bishop’s Ranch an instructor asked in that safe place if there were any secret I might have never told, and I discovered that fear of my own power, my agency imagined as separate from God, had kept me split from wholeness within God’s Domain.
I am grateful that Bishop Marc led us recently in a Lenten Stations of the Cross visualization. He invited us to imagine we were transformed into birds and flying. Closing my eyes, I became the Ibis, the bird of my soul, which soared upward and met in my own heart the always and forever descending dove of Christ. The Eternal met my temporal in a moment when all fear was erased and I am, with God’s help, each moment and forever Home.
A Reflection by Jill Anderson
To Listen, Click Here:
John chapter 19:25b-30
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Reading over this passage of Jesus’s last statement brings me to think of cherishing those around me. Jesus put his dear mother in the hands of his disciples, and his disciples in the hands of his mother. He has given us the responsibility to lift eachother up, and take care of eachother.
As I work through the grief of losing my mother, I think about who she is leaving in my hands to watch over, and who she wants me to look to. As Jesus made clear, his presence will always be known in those around us, but is still here on Earth are those in charge of following through on his lessons around acceptance, love, compassion and much else.
This saturday, over a beer and a pretzel with my loving partner, I burst into tears thinking about my dear mother, and whether or not she was watching over me. Ugo reminded me that what is beautiful about faith, that she is always watching over me as long as I believe she is.
Although I was not able to fully say goodbye, she has been leaving me messages about who I am to watch over and whom I am meant to cherish.
The first way she continues to watch over me is through my dreams. She has visited me in a dream about a beautiful library on a search for a specific book, where she reminded me to always look to my father for support, while watching out for him. This has blossomed into a routine of walks along the bay and phone calls about current puzzle projects and the wanderings of our two cats. My Dad is my light, and he always will be. I will fully cherish this time with my Dad, whether it be on a hiking trail or curled up on the couch watching True Blood. She has also visited me making sure to always include butter and sugar when mixing in the wonderful community of All Souls. These dreams always end with me reminding her that she has left and her showing me an act of love and kindness instead of sadness. The final message is always love those around you and enjoy the beauty in life.
The second way she continues to watch is through nature. This is where I feel the most faith, the closest to god and the closest to Mom. Every day when I walk with my students, I know she is watching, whether it be the owl sitting on the branch, or the wind. She is telling me to watch over my students, and let them teach me about patience and passion for life.
I believe that Jesus is telling us to trust in those around us and to take care of eachother while he continues to watch over us. He has created a space for us to feel safe when surrounded by those we love, and when we do our best to take care of them. My mom created a network of people to take care of me, and raised me to be the best caretaker I can be. She has always known I would work in a space where I kept others safe and helped them flourish, She had faith I would flourish surrounded by others in need of a safe space where love, compassion and joy were taught and valued.
This all comes down to the call to love and be loved. Whether it is through our immediate loved ones, those we surround ourselves with, or those looking down on us from above.
From Adult Formation
Summer Book Club – Summer 2021
We’re looking forward to summer reading at All Souls, in which we’ll find three books to read and talk over together, the first topical nonfiction, the second a novel, and finally, an intimate memoir whose story is personal to many of us. Summer reading meets during the Formation Hour, Sundays at 10:10
Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us — June 13th, 20th, 27th and July 11th, no class July 4th
We’ll first read Heather McGhee’s just published and crucially important The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.
McGhee’s book is a thoughtful, easy-of-access look at what institutional racism takes from the American commonwealth and our society as a whole. McGhee took her law degree at Berkeley and is a frequent contributor on MSNBC. About her book, Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, says, “In this critical moment where we have fallen so far apart, The Sum of Us is a book we all need, a must-read for everyone seeking to understand how we got here, where we go next and how we arrive there together.”
Karl Ove Knausgaard’s A Time for Everything — July 21th, August 1st, 8th and 15th
In mid-July we’ll turn to A Time for Everything, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s gorgeously inventive fiction that proposes an answer to our contemporary wonderings, “Where are our miracles? and where, by the way, did the angels go?” Knausgaard has composed a natural history of the miraculous, retelling those stories from scripture in which angels have important roles and employing the work of a late Middle Ages scholar: “In 1584 a work called On the Nature of Angels was printed in Venice. The author was anonymous, but there is no longer any doubt that it was Antinous Bellori, who some twenty-two years previously had had that hilltop encounter with two angels.” This book, grounding in the most precise and exacting narrative, is unlike anything you’ve ever read, though it may remind you of the uncanny level of realism found in some of the most fantastical passages of scripture.
The Rev. Liz Tichenor’s The Night Lake — an evening event on August 12th
On Thursday, August 12th, All Souls Summer Reading will host an evening in celebration of the Reverend Liz Tichenor’s The Night Lake: A Young Priest Maps the Topography of Grief.
In her courageous and intimate memoir we find Liz as a newly ordained Episcopal priest grappling with what feel like two insurmountable losses: her mother to suicide, then, only 14 months later, the death of her infant son, whose mysterious causes it will take medical science long and agonizing months to unravel. This from Kathleen Gerard, reviewer for Shelf Awareness: “In her The Night Lake,Tichenor does the seemingly impossible — she delineates how such monumental losses can be borne, that is, taken in and carried long by our wounded, all-too-human selves, on into a time when we are reconciled to grief, as it is only there our souls may be healed.”
The Bishop is Coming! This Sunday, May 9th!
One of the charisms of the Episcopal Church is that a significant part of the structure of our denomination involves a very particular relationship, that of a bishop and a diocese. The Episcopal Church is made up of over 100 dioceses, or regions, each with a bishop (or two). Within the diocese each bishop has spiritual and temporal oversight over the congregations. In our diocese, the diocese of California (roughly the Bay Area), our Bishop is the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus. The tradition in the Episcopal Church is that the Bishop visits with each congregation once every three years.
This Sunday, May 9th, is the occasion of our triennial visit! In this week’s Soulcast you can find more information about what a Bishop is, and a few things about our own Bishop Marc. Here are a few notes about this Sunday.
For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Bishop Marc will be able to make part of his visitation in person, for our 9am courtyard service, since it is an outdoor service. (you can sign up for this service here) During this service Bishop Marc will be confirming the four youth who were in our Confirm not Conform class over the past two years, then following the service will be in conversation with them about their decision to be confirmed. You can listen to the conversation via Zoom, by following a link from this page of our site.
After that conversation Bishop Marc will be part of our 11:15 livestream, (this time remotely), to preach and preside. You can worship with us either via the stream on our site or on Facebook.
No matter how you able to do it––in person, from our website, or via facebook, please do join in our worship this Sunday with Bishop Marc!
Sunday Mornings: Join us at 9am in the courtyard, in-person (masked and holding a 4’ distance between you and anyone outside of your pod or family). Attendance is limited for outdoor services, so please sign-up here! Please remember to bring your own chair and chalice!
Or (and!) join us for the live stream of Sunday’s 11:15 service, which can be accessed through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning.
Additionally, you can try out live streaming our 11:15 service to a Zoom call, so that you can participate in church with fellow parishioners. Click here to get into the 11:15 Zoom call, and please send us a note this week about your experience with this new mode of virtual church!
Wednesday Mornings: 9:00am PDT
Join the Zoom call here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86087951049?pwd=THNxbjlqMm5zdjc5RGNLWkFrZk16QT09
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218
Thursday Night Compline (Night Time Prayers): 8:30pm PDT
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84737698405?pwd=dlh2OXZmblBYTU5hTEw5TGJXUVZNZz09
Meeting ID: 847 3769 8405
7:30am Reading Between the Lines Bible Study Contact Kate Murphy to join that Zoom call.
10:10am Reading Between the Lines Bible Study Contact Daniel Prechtel to join that Zoom call.
Confirmation Conversation at 10:10am on Zoom with the Rt. Rev Marc Andrus and confirmands from All Souls Parish.
Join our confirmands in conversation with Bishop Marc Andrus about confirmation: what is it? Why do we do it? And why have they chosen to do it now?
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 & Youth News
No Children’s Formation this Sunday, as the courtyard will be used for our Bishop’s visitation.
Youth group meets Sunday, May 23rd, at 3:00pm in the courtyard. Hope to see you all there, and if you have a young person in your household in grades 6-12, and do not receive updates about Youth Group events, please email Maggie at email@example.com to be added to the list!
Other News & Notes
Soulcast: Our Weekly Video Announcements
Check out Season 3: Episode 10 of the Soulcast!
People needed to “Make Church Happen”
Consider joining the Usher and or Greeters teams!
During the week the musicians practice and the sacristans ensure the altar linens and other things necessary for the service are in order for the service. They arrive early on Sunday and set up for the service. These preparations enhance our experience of Church. When we arrive on Sunday morning there are people who greet us, hand us a bulletin, and make note of newcomers then distribute wine and juice during the service. They answer our questions, help us with a chair and place to sit. They welcome us and want us to feel at home.
Does this sounds like something you’d like to do? If so, contact Renae Breitenstein.
Woods to Waves: This Saturday, May 8, 2021
This year St. Dorothy’s Rest is hosting a modified “Woods to Waves” fundraiser, with onsite and virtual options! The onsite hike includes a 4 mile walk on the St. Dorothy’s property, through the redwood forest on new and little known trails, opportunities to silk screen a special Woods to Waves T-shirt, lunch and fun activities for all ages outdoors at camp!
As an alternative to the onsite hike, St. Dorothy’s supporters are encouraged register and lead short hikes in your area. Gather your family, parish community, youth groups or friends to hike remotely and bring the St. Dorothy’s spirt to your neighborhood or local regional park. St. Dorothy’s campers and counselors are encouraged to share St. Dorothy’s traditions in your community by building nature clovers, sharing the ministry of picking up litter, or teaching camp songs and chalk drawings.
All hikers, remote and onsite, should register on the St. Dorothy’s website. There will be a Facebook Live morning “kickoff” and social media photo sharing through #woodstowaves21.
Woods to Waves is a fundraiser for St. Dorothy’s Rest, money raised will support 2021 virtual hospital camp programs, all 2021 residential camps including “Braid Camp,” in partnership with Braid Mission.
If you’d like to join group of participants from All Souls, please contact Maggie.
To Register: http://stdorothysrest.org/events/woods-to-waves/
Stephen Ministry: We are here for you!
2020 was 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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 email@example.com.