From the Associate Rector

Growing in the Knowledge and Love of God

If you were at church on Sunday, you may have noticed something different about the nave, specifically in the side chapel. Where there were once decorative panels shielding our view of some musical equipment storage, there is now a dedicated seating area for children and families. However, this is not just any seating area! The side chapel has been outfitted with some specifically curated materials that are part of the Godly Play curriculum that have to do with liturgy. 

You may be wondering about the purpose of creating this space. In addition to the fact that it creates more seating options, it is meant to offer a way in which children can be a part of our worship, from a location where they can see the altar, and with the tools to help them engage our liturgy in their own way.

In their book, Young Children and Worship, Jerome Berryman and Sonja Stewart (the founders of Godly Play) offer this reflection on why worship matters for children: 

“worship transforms ordinary time and space into sacred time and space. The experience of God is one of mystery, awe, and wonder. Where education attempts to explain and interpret mystery, worship allows us to experience and dwell in the presence of God as a way of knowing. The time and space of worship engage a special remembering, called ‘anamnesis.’ Anamnesis is a way of bringing both the Christian community’s experiences of God from the past and God’s promised future into our present experience through memory, imagination, and meaning… The experience of sacred time and space in a special place set aside for God enables us to experience God in every time and every place.”

If we want the children in our community to grow into people who know God, and by that I mean people who experience the awe, mystery, and wonder of the Divine, then we must offer them opportunities to engage in corporate worship in a way that is accessible to them. Programs like Children’s Chapel are valuable in offering an alternative way of engaging scripture other than listening to a sermon intended for adults, but if we really want our children to grow in the knowledge and love of God, then they have to be in the room with us when we engage in the ancient rituals of our tradition and be welcomed into the anamnesis that happens when we are reminded of our one-ness with each other, with God, and with all the saints, past, present, and future, through the eucharist.

In order for our children to really be a part of this, they also have to be allowed to be children. Berryman and Stewart go on to say, “Young children need God and a religious community. They need love, security, appropriate freedom, continuity, order, and meaning.” Having a designated space set aside in our common worship area (that’s close enough for them to see what’s going on up front) offers them both the continuity and order of corporate worship, as well as enough space for them to move around freely and engage in worshipful play. The side chapel has been outfitted with Godly Play materials that allow for children to imitate the actions of the eucharist (as well as baptism and other liturgical acts). This is intended to offer a way for children to engage their whole bodies and imaginations in order to help them create meaning for themselves. 

So, if you are a parent with a young child in worship, I encourage you to give the side chapel a try. Look for opportunities to mirror the actions that are taking place up front with the materials that are provided and see what new meaning you and your child might make together.

And for the whole community, I leave you with this: the raising of children in the faith is the responsibility of the entire community, not just the parents. As Hillary Clinton likes to say, “there’s no such thing as other people’s children.” Whenever a child among us is baptized, we vow to do all in our power to support that child in their life in Christ, and one of the most important ways we do that is by welcoming them into our corporate worship, and making sure that church is a place where children feel loved, accepted, and safe.

If our liturgies are not for all of us, then who are they for?

In peace,


P.S. I have also outfitted the side chapel with some noise canceling ear muffs in case the organ gets a little too loud for these young ears!

From Episcopal News Service

Cotton Fite Award Recipient, the Rev. Ann S. Coburn

The Rev. Ann S. Coburn receives Cotton Fite Award from EPF PIN

It is with great pleasure and admiration that the Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network announces that the Rev. Ann Struthers Coburn is the recipient of the Cotton Fite Award for this biennium. The award was established in memory of the Rev. Dr. Cotton Fite, who died in 2017.  Cotton was a founding member of PIN and its first convener. We honor Ann for her efforts in the founding of EPF PIN in 2012 and her sustained commitment and untiring work to build up the Network, particularly as director of fundraising and financial oversight, as well as a leader in ‘responsible travel’ to the Holy Land.

Ann’s work for PIN is a culmination of a life-long focus on the struggle of Palestinians for freedom and human dignity. To raise up the Palestinian narrative in the Episcopal Church, Ann was on the leadership team for at least a dozen Holy Land journeys, meeting with Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Gaza.

It all began with a seminary trip during Ann’s studies at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1976. In Haifa, Ann met the Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian parish priest and graduate of CDSP. Thus began an enduring friendship and collaboration. Naim would go on to found Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem.

After Ann’s ordination to the priesthood in 1977, among the first women ordained in The Episcopal Church, Ann’s Holy Land trips became a mother-daughter venture. Ann’s daughter Abbie participated in a Jewish pro-Palestine tour, “Palestine Unplugged,” visiting St. George’s College in Jerusalem and the Sabeel headquarters. There, Abbie met the Rev. Bob and Maureen Tobin, PIN’s 2018 Cotton Fite Awardees, who were leading pilgrimages with a focus on Palestinians. In 2007, Ann and Abbie attended the Cleveland Sabeel Conference, where they met the Rev. Canon Dick Toll, a Sabeel organizer in the U.S. who became PIN’s 2022 Cotton Fite Award recipient.

Rev. Ann Coburn renews a friendship with a member of the Hebron Women’s Cooperative in the Old City of Hebron.

Still working as a team, Ann and Abbie brought FOSNA (Friends of Sabeel North America) to California, their home state, organizing conferences with allies in 2007 and 2008. In 2011, Ann launched out on her own, serving on the leadership team for a Bay Area Trip to an International Sabeel Conference in Bethlehem. There a fateful meeting occurred when the Rev. Cotton Fite, an Episcopal priest and long-time advocate for Palestinians, gathered all Episcopal attendees to invite financial support for publishing an Episcopal version of the Presbyterian curriculum, “Steadfast Hope.” The funds were raised on the spot and that initiative became the impetus in spring 2012 to launch EPF PIN at a Chicago conference organized by Cotton, Ann and EPF leadership, with Rev. Naim Ateek as keynote speaker.

In 2012 Ann retired and dove into organizing ‘responsible travel’ to the Holy Land, including groups of women pilgrims, to show travelers the realities of life for Palestinians as an authentic way to bear witness to Jesus’ ministry of love and justice. With PIN’s Harry Gunkel, Ann led four PIN groups, three including meetings in Gaza, until COVID blocked travel in 2019.  At the same time, she took on the oversight of fundraising and financial planning for PIN.

For nearly 50 years, Ann’s pastoral devotion to justice and commitment to Palestinian liberation have been sustained and unwavering. In its course, she has touched countless lives, not least those of her PIN colleagues, and brought promise and hope to a people in sore need. For this, EPF PIN proudly honors Ann Coburn. We know that Abbie and her brother Noah, along with all five of Ann’s grandchildren, share PIN’s gratitude for Ann’s lifetime of selfless work.

From Youth Ministry

Seeking Donations to Support Summer Immersion Trip

If you’re wondering how the side chapel was transformed so quickly from a storage area to a place for children, or if you noticed that there is significantly less old broken down furniture in the undercroft than there was a few weeks ago, then wonder no more!

The physical labor behind these labors of love was done by the high school youth who will be traveling to Mexico City this summer as a part of the All Souls High School Immersion Trip. They have given several hours already helping clear out furniture from the undercroft and cleaning out and organizing the side chapel. They have one more work day coming up to help with a much-needed and overdue repair on the fence in the Heart’s Leap entrance way.

In exchange for their hard work, and in support of their summer immersion trip, we are seeking donations to help cover the cost of the trip and alleviate the financial burden on parents. The cost for each youth going on the trip is roughly $1000. If you are interested in supporting our youth, please mail checks to All Souls, with High School Immersion Trip in the memo line, or donate online and email me to let me know the date and amount so we can account for it on our end. Any and all donations are welcomed and would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you,


From our Former Seminarian


What we need is here. What we need is here.

Since I’ve left Berkeley, I’ve kept coming back to the last song from the end of my final service with you all – especially as I’ve been praying for those of you preparing to be confirmed or received, or to reaffirm your faith, now or in September.

On the one hand, I think of the confidence it exhibits – and that you exhibit, just by showing up. Everything that matters about God’s church is already here, to the full, in a basement chapel on Cedar Street. All we need is Scripture to listen to and wrestle with, bread and wine to bless, the prayers and moments of grace that we bring on our hearts. And the people around us, without whose fellowship we couldn’t do that. 

These are the core activities, always done together, that have been enough to mark Christians out. These are the things which we do because we’ve been baptised into Jesus’s new life, while we’re working out what that means. No matter how you feel or felt about your baptism, no matter the expectations or commitments that seem to get attached to being “a good Christian”: this is enough, and Jesus’s new life gives us space to work out the rest. What we need is here. 

I think about the how the disciples met after Jesus’s death in John’s Gospel, a reading that we often hear at Pentecost: locking themselves away, ‘for fear of the Jewish authorities’, unsure what to do next. Into that space of fellowship Jesus comes, and breathes the Holy Spirit – and it’s not clear if this changes anything they actually do, beyond making them more joyful among themselves. 

Sometimes all you can feel able to do is to keep going in a locked room. We need to remember that choosing to protect yourself in a state of fear is still a brave, active decision. Doing this is part of the life of the church, and the Holy Spirit is already moving within it. It’s to emphasise something of this already-ness that the Episcopal Church has made a point of incorporating the ancient signs of the Holy Spirit’s presence – the laying-on of a hand, sometimes the scented oil of chrism – into its liturgy of baptism. Even if you’re still a scared baby, or whenever you find yourself feeling like one, you can trust in that fullness of joy.   

On the other hand, we come together because we need something. We’re driven by something more: something to which the bread and Scripture and prayers point us, a new thing which we hope that coming together can provide for us. Not all of us might feel able to spell this out, and not all the time. But, at some point, some of us will want to admit that the life we entered into in baptism does feel right for us. Maybe the existing presence of the Holy Spirit compels us to live our new life in a new way, more publicly, more prophetically, with more concern for God’s justice – and, as we journey into that calling, what we find is more of the Spirit. We find ourselves able to look back our life since baptism and say “Yes, this was a gift from God” – and, when we recognise that, we might receive it afresh as a new kind of gift.

This is the other, more famous story we hear at Pentecost: of the apostles released and inspired to tell the whole world about God. Whether by reception, reaffirmation or confirmation, that’s the story some of you have now chosen to enter. This is why it’s so powerful that you’re making this step at Grace Cathedral – if not with Parthians, Medes and Elamites, then at least with people from Oakland, Marin and San Francisco! – and with the bishop, a figure we identify as a successor to the apostles. 

Just as there was life in the church before Pentecost, so life will continue to take its course after these rituals. As the first apostles discovered, there’ll be further doubts and struggles in your faith journey: that’s why the Episcopal Church gives the opportunity to reaffirm your faith multiple times over your life if you need it, or for the Spirit’s blessing on a new ministry or turn in your life.  

But I’d like to suggest that something special happens at confirmation, when approached as a once-in-a-lifetime event that echoes your baptism. It’s not just receiving more of the Spirit, or fresh attention to her, but a new kind of gift. I think it’s the gift to endure the church’s shame: to keep admitting that, yes, church is bound up in how I tell the story of my life – even when the church is ridiculed or disgraced, and maybe even when those attitudes are justified. One of the first responses the apostles get at Pentecost is people accusing them of being drunk, and the accusations only got more costly from there!

This doesn’t mean we’re bound to any particular church. I was confirmed a Roman Catholic, a church I left because I couldn’t reconcile myself to its abuse scandals, homophobia and failure to ordain women. But I think confirmation is what gave me the courage and trust to find another church in which the story of my faith made more sense. I could make something of that shame. The church’s failures weren’t things that made me flee from God or the church altogether, but things that I felt strengthened to use my own conscience to critically respond to – strengthened by the Holy Spirit to bear witness that felt just, even if that meant taking new paths. 

I pray that what you need is here: that the Episcopal Church will be the place in which you can bear that witness and deepen your Christian life. But I know that the Spirit, whenever and however she descends to strengthen you, will draw you to wherever that life is nothing but a gift.

-Jack Belloli

Save the Dates

Weekly Worship

Join us for worship this week:

You can access the live stream through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Youtube 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

  • Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:00a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in the Common Room.
  • Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 9:15a. On break for the summer.
  • Thomas Merton Book Group @ 9:15a in the Parish Hall or on Zoom (click here). Thomas Merton was perhaps the most original and influential Christian writer of the last century. From his desk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Merton’s Trappist vocation and cloistered refuge provided him with the space and time to write more than fifty books. This year we will begin at the beginning, reading together his first book, his spiritual autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain. Please join us as we explore our own spiritual autobiographies alongside this wonderful book.

Children, Youth, and Family News

Nursery The downstairs nursery is open and available to you for your use whenever you’re at All Souls. This is not a staffed nursery, so an adult must be there with your child, but if you need a quiet place to take a time out, change a diaper, let your child play or take a rest, the nursery is open for you to do all of those things. If there is a service going on that’s being livestreamed, you will be able to watch the livestream on the computer in the nursery as well.

Side Chapel There is a special seating area located in the side chapel that is meant for children and families, giving children a clear view of the altar, and full of materials with which they can immerse themselves in the actions of the liturgy. All are welcome and encouraged to check it out!

Sunday School This week, join us for Children’s Chapel during the 10:30am service. Children are invited to follow the Children’s Chapel leaders down the center aisle after the gospel reading, and rejoin their families before communion!

Faithful Families the final Faithful Families of this year will be Thursday, June 29th from 5:30-7:15pm! Join us for dinner, intergenerational formation, and a short evening prayer service. Click Here to RSVP!

Youth Youth Group is on hiatus for the summer.

High School Immersion Trip This year’s High School immersion trip will be to Mexico City, led by Toni Martinez-Borgfeldt, seminarian Michael Drell, Maggie Foote, and parishioner Teresa Muñoz. Eight youth are signed up to go, and are looking forward to a meaningful immersion experience widening their perspective on the Episcopal Church by connecting with youth from Anglican churches in Mexico, experiencing a day of pilgrimage, eating lots of good food and immersing ourselves in the local culture. If you would like to financially support the youth attending this trip, you can send a check to All Souls with High School Immersion Trip in the memo line. Thank you!

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

Episcopal Summer Camp Registrations are Now Open!

Episcopal Camps across the country are starting to open for registration, including the Diocese of California’s not one, but TWO summer camps: St. Dorothy’s Rest, and The Bishop’s Ranch. You can find more information about the dates, age ranges, and cost for each camp at the links below:

St. Dorothy’s Rest

The Bishop’s Ranch

Other News & Notes

New Worship Schedule

Starting this Sunday, on Pentecost, May 28th, we’re moving our Sunday worship schedule to a said/contemplative Eucharist service at 8p in the Chapel downstairs, followed by our Adult Formation teaching hour from 9:15-10:15, followed by our principle/choral Eucharist at 10:30a in the Nave. We’ll continue with our 5p service downstairs in the Chapel. The 10:30a service will be the only live streamed service for the day. 

Summer Book Groups!

The Adult Formation Committee is pleased to announce the summer book groups for the summer. All book groups will meet at 9:15am prior to the 10:30am service.  

  • June 4, 11, 18, 25 Thomas Merton Seven Story Mountain. Led by Jack Shoemaker 
  • July 9, 16, 23 The Meal That Reconnects: Eucharistic Eating and the Global Food Crisis by Mary E. McGann. Led by Ruth Meyers
  • July 30, August 6, 13 The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Led by Emily McDonald

Summer Book Group #1 – The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton 

Led by Jack Shoemaker. Starts June 4th.

Thomas Merton was perhaps the most original and influential Christian writer of the last century. From his desk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Merton’s Trappist vocation and cloistered refuge provided him with the space and time to write more than fifty books. This year we will begin at the beginning, reading together his first book, his spiritual autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain. Published in 1948, it became a national bestseller and is thought by many to be among the finest nonfiction books published in the 20 th century. Merton anticipates the broad curiosity of contemporary Christians and prepares himself for a life of devotion. His work raises questions many of us have had and many of us have struggled to answer. Please join us as we explore our own spiritual autobiographies alongside this wonderful book. This book richly repays rereading, so even if you’ve read it years ago, refresh yourself and join our group.  (I am warned that the audio version of this book is significantly abridged.)

June 4th – Part I: Chapters 1, 2, and 3

June 11th – Part I: Chapter 4 and Part II: Chapters 1 and 2

June 18th – Part III: Chapters 1, 2 and 3

June 25th : Part III: Chapter 4 and “Meditatio Pauperis in Solitudine”

2nd Thursday Lunch

All women of the parish are invited to a potluck lunch on the 2nd Thursday of the month (June 8th) at 12p in the Parish Hall. Please bring one of your favorite lunch dishes or a beverage to share and feel free to invite other women. Contact Gloria Bayne for more information:

Racial Justice Movie Night, June 16th 

Come out to the new Jordan Court Community Room to watch the film “Mississippi Masala”. Bring some food and drinks to share. 6:30p for dinner. Movie starts at 7p. 

The vibrant cultures of India, Uganda, and the American South come together in Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala, a luminous look at the complexities of love in the modern melting pot. Years after her Indian family was forced to flee their home in Uganda by the dictatorship of Idi Amin, twentysomething Mina (Sarita Choudhury) spends her days cleaning rooms in an Indian-run motel in Mississippi. When she falls for the charming Black carpet cleaner Demetrius (Denzel Washington), their passionate romance challenges the prejudices of both of their families and exposes the rifts between the region’s Indian and African American communities. Tackling thorny issues of racism, colorism, culture clash, and displacement with bighearted humor and and a deeply satisfying celebration of love’s power.

Contact Paul Mathew, or Emily McDonald, for any questions.

Need a parking spot?

We’ve got a parking lot under the Jordan Court apartment building that is available to anyone with challenges with mobility or anyone who regularly drives someone with challenges with mobility. If that is you, and you would like access to the parking garage on Sundays or other times when you are at the church, please reach out to Annie Rovzar,

Sacred Earth: Growing Beloved Community through the Universe Story in Sacred Ritual, with Mary Evelyn Tucker

When: Thursday, June 8, 2023 7:00 PM pacific

Where: Zoom, Register here

On this webcast, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, Co-Director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale and global visionary, hosted by Bishop Marc Andrus and Dr. Paloma Pavel, will explore the Universe Story, the Cosmic Walk and Eco-Confirmation. They will be joined by Caren Miles who

coordinates Eco-Confirmation within the diocese incorporating the Cosmic Walk.

Professor Tucker has joint appointments at Yale’s School of the Environment and the Yale Divinity School. She convened ten Harvard conferences on world religions and the environment and recently authored a definitive biography of her mentor, Fr. Thomas Berry (Thomas Berry: A Biography). She co-authored Journey of the Universe, a book and film that offers an outline of “the universe story”—a moving narrative of cosmic evolution from the origins of the cosmos until our present moment. This project, drawing inspiration from the vision of Teilhard de Chardin and Fr. Thomas Berry, awakens a sense of wonder and awe in the face of cosmic processes, and evokes an ecological consciousness that inspires our commitment to the flourishing of a vibrant Earth community. Thomas Berry called this “the Great Work” of our times. 

Big Sur Camping Trip, July 14-16

The Santa Lucia Chapel and Campground, a mission of All Saints Parish in Carmel, is a private and secluded campground in the gorgeous Big Sur area. It’s a sweet spot that sits right on the Big Sur River, and is right next door to the Big Sur River Inn and restaurant. There’s a spot to float down the river and a little swimming hole and family friendly beach, complete with a rock to jump from. 

Cost: $45 per person for the weekend (children under 5 stay for free; $180 max per family) Note: Santa Lucia has substantially raised their rates, but we are hoping to keep this weekend affordable for all who are interested. Scholarships are available. Talk to Emily Hansen Curran for more information. To reserve your spot you must sign up and pay in full no later than July 1st!

Albany Thrives Together

Albany Thrives Together is a local all volunteer nonprofit organization made up of mostly retired people from Albany including many members of St Alban’s. We have been active in Albany for almost 10 years first as the Diverse Housing Working Group then reborn as Albany Thrives Together. Our former minister Julie Wakelee Lynch
was a founding member of the group.

We focus on our three weekly free services: the shower program at the Albany Aquatic Center, the laundry program for low income and unhoused people, and the brown bag lunch program outreach to the encampments. We also lobby the Albany City Council, most recently about the Housing Element. Every city on California is required to submit a Housing Element that indicates how they are promoting housing, especially low income housing, and protecting tenants from unfair evictions. In Albany 53% of the residents are renters and many of them are cost burdened barely getting by so this is important.

By having weekly outreach through our programs, we have been able form relationships with those people we serve. We have been able to connect our guests to housing services and deliver needed equipment such as tents, tarps, and sleeping bags that were donated or that we purchased, and delivered narc-an and fentanyl test strips. Thank you my church sisters and brothers for your contributions. To learn more go to our website and to find out where to donate click HERE.
-Beth Beller