From the Rector
The Path Ahead
Jesus knew the way ahead. He knew that it was likely to include palms of glory, if but for a day. He knew that it would involve trial, likely leading to his own death. And he knew (trusted?) that death would not be the end of this path. So he walked (and rode) the way ahead.
For centuries, at least since the 4th century, followers of Christ have walked this way ever since. Gathering on the Sunday before the Resurrection to hail his coming into Jerusalem, then following his steps along the way to the Upper Room, the Garden, the Praetorium, Golgotha, the Tomb and beyond. Every year, even though we have an idea of what lays ahead, we don’t know what it will be like, what we will experience, what we will find, what will be found in us.
And so we walk. Looking to our guides––of Scripture, of those who have gone before us, and of those around us who can see further down the path than we might able. It is the same way for us at All Souls. Yes, in our path to the Mystery of Easter this coming week, but also in the path that lays ahead for our community in months and years to come.
As you know, our Associate Rector, the Rev. Kristin Krantz, and her family are moving to Maryland this summer and her time with us will end in July. To guide us in this path ahead, the Wardens and I have gathered a search team. Co-chairing the search are Michelle Barger and Leigh Rawdon, joined by Toni Borgfeldt (Jr. Warden), Tara McCullough, Lewis Maldonado and myself. We have begun to assemble the elements for a job description, a concise profile of the parish, and a reflection of where we sense God calling us. We will be engaging in conversations with those closely involved with the ministries that Kristin has had responsibility for and soon hope to have these pieces available for applicants to use in their discernment.
Alongside this effort we are also finding the path ahead with in the form of a strategic plan. As you may remember, as a community we recently discerned God’s vision for us in this wider community. To ensure that this vision statement doesn’t simply exist as a lovely wall hanging, a planning team will be working over the next six months to see how the aspirations of this vision God has for us might be best made manifest.
That team, led by David Rolf, also includes Sharon Roberts, Katie McGonigal, Marilyn Flood (Sr. Warden), Don Strange, and myself. In a process consistent with the Mutual Ministry Review and Planning Process (MMRP) of three years ago that led us to our emphasis on Youth Ministry, Small Groups and Pastoral Care, we will be reaching out broadly to all the ministry areas within All Souls and our stakeholders in the wider community to discern our areas of emphasis for the next two years or so. As this group begins their work you will hear more about ways to engage in this process. In the meanwhile, please keep this work and the work of the Associate Rector’s search process in your prayers.
Much like our entry into Holy Week, we aren’t quite sure where these efforts will lead us. But also like our steps following the way of Jesus in Jerusalem, these are fundamentally steps placed in trust. Trust that in seeking to find we will be found. Trust that we are not doing this work on our own, that in fact we are being guided by the Spirit. And trust that these steps, trying as they may be, ultimately lead to life anew.
From the Music Department
What I Did on My Holy Week Non-Vacation
Eight days, that’s it. Palm Sunday through Easter.
There’s a mystical thing about the number eight to begin with. There were seven miracles, or “signs,” in the Gospel of John, the last and greatest of which was the raising of Lazarus, about which we heard last Sunday. The Resurrection was, in a sense, the eighth sign.
We begin our Easter Vigil with the story of creation, in which God rested on the seventh day, the Sabbath. That would be Saturday; in other words, in our tradition, Sunday is not the Sabbath! Sunday comes both first and last, day one as well as day eight, in which the cycle of divine work starts again on what is both the beginning and ending of the week. But it’s not a day of rest by any means. So too, Holy Week is a week that points to the eighth day, the Alpha and the Omega of the week and, echoing Genesis, the day of the new creation springing from Jesus’ resurrection, the green blade rising from the earth again.
As we look both backwards and forwards, Holy Week (like Christmas) is both a time of extraordinary historical memory and of innovation at the same time. We have extra processions and liturgies with ancient roots, the kinds of services that get done just once a year, and many of the details remain all but unchanged from year to year, especially the music. The dramatic proclamation of the Passion Gospels, the hymns “All glory, laud, and honor,” “Ubi caritas,” “O sacred Head, sore wounded,” and many more things are almost indispensable parts of Holy Week for us.
At the same time, some of what we do changes year by year. This year the outdoor Liturgy of the Palms will climax with the singing of the “Hosanna to the Son of David” chant that we have been using and building with each week through Lent. The Passion Gospel according to Matthew will be proclaimed by a single voice, and we will take in the story differently as we do each year. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Triduum – the three great days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday – are embraced by one great liturgy in which Thursday night ends without a dismissal, Friday simply begins and ends, and Saturday’s kindling of the New Fire for the Easter Vigil points to our dismissal at the end of that liturgy and all its alleluias. Much will be familiar, and some things will be new: we are incorporating some new music into all three days, while keeping most (if not all) of the things that feel integral to those days. One thing to particularly note: the Good Friday evening liturgy will include the congregation in the presentation of the Passion according to St. John. For many years, we have had the choir and clergy present that narrative, so it will be a great pleasure to present it as a group, but there will be one particularly unusual element: as the gathered Body of Christ, we will be saying the words of Jesus together, not the voices of the crowd.
As someone who has spent many, many years attending all the musical services within Holy Week, I can’t imagine missing one. If this has been part of your practice, you know what I mean. If you have never been to anything that wasn’t on a Sunday morning, I urge you to deepen your experience of this powerful eight days by joining us for as little or as much as you can on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of next week. You will be blessed by time well spent, and we will be blessed by your presence. It really is the best eight days you’ll ever spend.
From Stephen Ministers
Beginning the Journey to Stephen Ministry
In January of this year, five members of All Souls made a commitment to taking the 50-hour training class to become Stephen Ministers. This year’s class consists of Frances Thomas, Dan Gordon, Susan Wight, Mark Anderson, and Christina Robinson. In February, they began a 16-week training course to prepare them to minister to people experiencing a crisis, difficult challenge, or tough patch in their life. They were each asked to share their interest in becoming a Stephen Minister and any early impressions of their training experience so far. Here is what they each have offered.
I have been a member of All Souls for 8+ years and over time it has become an essential community for my family and me. That others at All Souls can see me in the role of a Stephen Minister is humbling and challenging. I would like to find a way to give back to the All Souls community, which has given me so much. –Frances Thomas
I recently joined All Souls as part of my long spiritual journey. I have been blessed in overcoming several hardships in my life and I felt a calling to the Stephen Ministry program so that I can share my experience with others as I move into the “second half” of my life (see Falling Upward by Father Richard Rohr). I must admit I was a bit apprehensive at first but have found the training and instructors (with an All Souls twist) to be excellent and have gained real skills I can use as a Stephen Minister and in my personal life. The best part is the new, deeper relationships I have begun to develop with the instructors and other Stephen Ministers. –Dan Gordon
The past five years have been the most difficult of my life. During this time, I lost a son to suicide, a sister to ALS, and a mother to cancer. The weekly sessions with my loving Stephen Minister were vital to my healing from all the loss and to my growth as a spiritual being. I learned firsthand how vital and important the role of a Stephen Minster can be, and I knew from the beginning that I wanted to give back in this way when I felt strong again. That day eventually arrived and I began my 16-week training as a Stephen Minister in late February. I have been very moved by the love, support, and expertise of my teachers (and fellow trainees), as well as by the thoroughness and excellence of this training program. –Susan Wight
As I continue on my own journey of faith, I want to help others on theirs, if only to give them a compassionate ear. I understand that this is as important to my journey as theirs. I also want to give back to the All Souls community in gratitude for all they’ve done for Ariane and me. –Mark Anderson
I have always felt a quiet but persistent call to become a Stephen Minister. There are many reasons why this vocation has held a strong interest for me, particularly the opportunity to walk with others as they go through life’s struggles, to strengthen my caregiving skills, and to deepen my relationship with God. Training has been great so far, and I have really enjoyed getting to know our Stephen Leaders and the other Stephen Ministers-in-training. The quote below explains why I know this experience is the right choice for me. –Christina Robinson
“Caregiving is…about forming a relationship with another whom we might never have chosen to know. It is about doing all we do practically with the intention of growing into a relationship of respect, listening, presence, and truthfulness.” Henri Nouwen
–Submitted by David Wight, Stephen Leader
What Is “Spaghetti Again”?
Good Conversation and Good Cooking
According to one of the founders, “The group had its genesis one Sunday in 1991 when announcements were made in the ten o’clock service for meetings of the women’s study group, the ladies’ tea, the women’s spirituality group, the ladies luncheon, the women’s prayer meeting, and probably a couple of other female activities which I have forgotten now. This led to grousing after church by the senior warden (a man) and others to the rector (a man) that there were no activities for men…The group was named by the rector on the premise that many women would be asking us how we could feed ourselves without their help, and what did we have to eat? Rather than go into long explanations, we would just say ‘spaghetti again’ on the theory that we could plausibly claim to be able to boil water.
Ever since then, a group of men has been gathering on the last Monday of every month at 6 p.m. in the Parish Hall for a dinner prepared by one of the regulars. After a suitable period of “attitude adjustment,” the men join hands to sing the Doxology and then sit down to a bounteous repast. Last month it was pollo al limone over wild rice, served with crusty bread and green salad, and followed by ice cream, Pepperidge Farm cookies, and coffee. Each of us threw $5 into the till to cover food expenses; beverages were BYOB. All men of the parish (including hangers on) are invited to drop in on any Spaghetti Again Monday to enjoy good conversation and good cooking. There are no dues or agenda, and conversation ranges far and wide, from water conservation and politics to more personal matters. Shortly before Christmas, spouses and partners, including widows of former Spaghetti Againers, are invited to join us for a festive holiday dinner.
Apart from the singing of the Doxology, the group exists purely for sociability; but behind the scenes the men care for each other in all sorts of quiet ways, from visiting the sick, running errands, and providing rides, to personal phone calls and notes – another example of the embrace of the All Souls community. Come join us, and perhaps pick up a copy of “The Spaghetti Again? Cook Book” with its wonderful recipes, many from the Swedish kitchen of the late, beloved Sven Wahlberg. Venison à la Rydberg, anyone?
Getting Ready for Easter
Easter at All Souls provides myriad opportunities to jump in, roll up your sleeves and immerse yourself on many levels. Helping out with one of the receptions that follow the services is one such opportunity:
• The Great Vigil culminating with it’s elegant late night feast
• 7:30 am – first daylight reception on the Day of Resurrection, serenely intimate
• 9 am – a lively, bountiful celebration with friends and soon to be friends
• 11:30 am – a reprise of the 9 am.
Decorating the Parish Hall: we will be doing this Sat afternoon prior to the Vigil, around 3 – 4:30. Join us!
Food contributions: We are looking also for food contributions for the receptions. Sparkling water & cider, fruit, finger food (both sweet & savory), Gluten Free desserts/crackers, baguettes.
We need extra help for these specific events. With 4 receptions, we are spread too thin. Consider how you can help and let me know.
Please contact Pat Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org
EASTER SUNDAY CREATION OF THE FLOWER CROSS We are recovering an old tradition and making a flower cross for this Easter Day. Please bring cut flowers on Easter morning. All are invited to put a flower or two into the cross and we will watch it grow more beautiful with each following service. If you’ve never seen a flower cross, you’re in for a treat.