FROM THE RECTOR
Seeing Ourselves in the Story
When preaching on Christmas Eve several years ago, I used the stained glass window in the Chapel of the Nativity as part of my sermon. The story passed down at All Souls was that this window, given in memory of Robert Lansing who died at the age 8, included the image of a young Robert and his mother Gertrude.
Members of our Arts at All Souls group researched the window and found that the image of a young boy and young woman behind him were actually part of this popular window design for decades before our window was given in Robert’s memory—that wasn’t Robert and Gertrude. But it made me realize that the story placing them in the window, a story passed down over generations in this parish, was just as important, even it hadn’t actually happened. We wanted to be in the scene.
This led me to looking at images from around the globe, and time and again I saw Mary and Joseph and Jesus in as many settings as the Gospel had been heard. This seems to be a universal practice, to place ourselves in this Christian story, both literally and figuratively. One way of knowing this story is to see ourselves in it.
It is for this reason that as part of our Lenten Soup + Story series we have used images every week as part of the telling of the Gospel. Sometimes the images have directly corresponded to the passage, other times the connection was more indirect. But each image was intended to help us enter the story in ways that we hadn’t yet before.
This Sunday, Palm Sunday, we will be continuing that practice. As we enter into the Passion we will be using images to help us enter the story. They are from a range of eras, styles, and traditions. Some will involve a detail of a larger piece that highlights a moment, other images will hold an entire scene. By the end of the telling, however, we will be immersed in images that tell us and show us the last days of the Christ.
This is, in fact, why we have Holy Week. Over centuries, starting at least in the 4th century, we have entered into the events of the Passion so that we can encounter Christ by seeing ourselves as part of the story.
So make the space once more, beginning this Sunday. Through song and text, silence and ritual, and this year through image, we will enter Holy Week. Come and find yourself in the Story of Stories once again.
From Youth Ministry
This past Sunday afternoon, a hearty crew of our youth, youth volunteers, and parents organized to serve at Youth Spirit Artworks. YSA is an interfaith arts-based nonprofit working to support homeless youth in the East Bay, and currently focused on a bold project to address the housing crisis, by way of creating a village of tiny houses. Our youth spent the afternoon prepping and painting one of the new tiny houses. Check out their great work!
Supporting the Episcopal Church in the Middle East
Good Friday Offering
As many of you know, the offerings collected in Episcopal churches on Good Friday are used to support the ministries of the Episcopal Church in the Middle East. This is a tradition that began in 1922. As in years past, All Souls will participate in the tradition this Good Friday.
In addition to supporting Episcopal parishes representing over 7,000 Anglicans in the Middle East, The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem operates 16 schools providing an education for over 6,000 students. Scholarships help students from Jordan, Palestine, and Israel receive a quality education. The Diocese operates two hospitals; one in Gaza City, Gaza, other one in Nablus, Palestine. The Diocese also operates the Princess Basma Center for Children with Disabilities in East Jerusalem as well as the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf located in Salt, Jordan. Finally, there is St. George’s Guest House located on the grounds of St. George’s Cathedral. During my pilgrimage in 2010, I was blessed to have stayed at the Guest House. We also visited one of the schools operated by the Diocese.
The people of Palestine face many difficult challenges, yet they persevere. Recently, the United States Government made a decision to reduce the amount of financial support earmarked for Palestine, making a difficult situation even worse. According to a recent UN report, the living conditions in Gaza are “more and more wretched.”
This Good Friday, I ask you to remember our brothers and sisters living in the land of our Savior and give more. Every little bit helps. Every act of kindness is multiplied.
For more information, I invite you to visit these sites: https://afedj.org and https://www.fosna.org
Thank you for your consideration.
— Stephen Southern
Next Up in Adult Formation
Our next session of Adult Formation classes begin on April 28th at 10:10 am. Classes coming up are:
Christian Hope: Imagining the “Last Things,” with Dr. Scott MacDougall in the Parish Hall
When Christians think about the “last things,” there is a tendency to either roll one’s eyes at Left Behind–influenced fantasies about “the end of the world,” or to imagine rather hazily some form of personal life after death involving a “soul” that continues beyond the life of the body, or to ignore the topic all together because it is too strange, speculative, or embarrassing. What we lose in this, though, is a tremendous source of hope that has energized Christians for thousands of years. In this series, we will explore what theologians call eschatology, the theology of “the end of things,” in order to rediscover what scripture and tradition actually tell us about the final state of creation—including human beings—and how this can be a source of tremendous hope that energizes our Christian spirituality and practice now.
Series for Newcomers and New Members
If you are new to All Souls, have never been to a newcomer event, or are curious about becoming a member here at All Souls, you are invited to this next round of newcomer events. It’ll all kick off on Sunday April 28th, with a Meet & Greet with Emily Hansen Curran in her office. Then, on May 5th, we’ll host a Meet & Greet with Phil in his office. Finally, on May 12th, those of you interested in membership are invited to the home of an All Soulsian after the 11:15 service (1-3p), to meet with Phil, Liz, and Emily for lunch and a brief class on membership here at All Souls. If you have questions about any of these events, please reach out to Emily, email@example.com.
HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE
Together we mark and practice Holy Week, April 14-20. You can find a full description of the services during Holy Week here, and those for Easter here.
Palm Sunday – April 14th at 7:30, 9:00 and 11:15 am
Maundy Thursday – April 18th at 12 noon and 7:30 pm
Good Friday – April 19th at 9:00 am, 12:00 – 3:00, 4:00, and 7:30 pm
The Great Vigil of Easter – April 20th at 8:30 pm
Easter Sunday – April 21st at 7:30, 9:00 and 11:15 am
PALM SUNDAY — CONTINUING THE FEAST
Join us this Sunday, April 14th between the 9 & 11:15 services in the Parish Hall for a Continuing the Feast potluck brunch! This is just a good, fun time to catch up, share fellowship, and launch into Holy Week together. Please bring some brunch type foods to share!
MAUNDY THURSDAY MEAL
Come share a Eucharistic meal and foot washing in the manner that this first feast was made, April 18 at 12p. This is the first time we’ll be doing this service in this way! Join us in the Parish Hall. RSVP w/Emily Hansen Curran or Liz Tichenor if you’re interested in attending.
We have lots of eggs to fill for the egg hunt, Easter Sunday at 10:15 am! Please take a bag of empty Easter eggs home with you this Sunday and bring them back *before* Easter, filled with candy or other small things kids will enjoy. Thank you!!
Breaking Bread, Building Bridges
Ever feel uncomfortable talking about religion or race? Join us. On three Sunday afternoons, April 28th, May 19th, and June 2nd, members from All Souls will be sharing a meal and conversation with members of St. Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church and Congregation Beth El. If you are drawn to the essential conversation about what it means to be neighbor, sign up here.
HELP CREATE THE ALTAR OF REPOSE
You are invited to bring potted shrubs and flowers, or cut flowers, for the Maundy Thursday altar of repose between 1pm and 4pm on Thursday, April 18th (they will then be available for pick-up on Friday April 19th after 10:00 am).