FROM THE RECTOR
A House for Hospitality and Respite
As I write this reflection, the Tichenors are settling into their new home in Pleasant Hill (complete with redwood trees in their backyard!), and the Hudgins are driving through the state of Arkansas on their way to Richmond, Virginia where scores of family anxiously await them.
And the Parish House at 1601 Oxford is empty of residents. This is a bittersweet moment.
Sweet in that we are in the final days of preparing the land on the corner of Oxford and Cedar for its next use to serve the mission of Jesus the Christ: to serve the vulnerable among us. For decades to come this land (still owned by All Souls but leased for this project) will serve as safe, comfortable and affordable homes for elders who are at risk of losing housing in this area, or are currently without housing. Given the crisis that has erupted in our area over the past several years I deeply believe that we are living out the Gospel by creating this housing as well as looking to the future needs of the parish at the same time.
And, this moment is tinged with bitterness as well. Because this Parish House that we purchased (back!) from the Order of the Holy Cross has served as a house of hospitality and respite well and truly for this past decade. It has provided a place of community for seminarians and scholars and been a place of respite for asylum seekers from at least five continents.
As an intentional Christian community for those in the midst of vocation it has housed: Brothers Leo and Derek, Justin, Heather, Ernest, Jeannie, Brian, Kat, Justin, Liz, Jesse, Alice, Sam, Tripp, Trish, Elias, Lauren, Matthew, Jonathan, Rhian, Dong Hyeon, John, Haley, Sean, Em, Logan, Reed, Linden, Scott, Stephan, Holly, Maxwell, Nikky, Adam, Ethan, Malcolm, and finally Ed, Alisa, and Inara. At least.
This intentional community took many forms but it was grounded in shared prayer, found depth in meals held in common, was in service to the All Souls community, and was a remarkable witness of what it can be like when people attempt to human together in heartache and joy, through barbeques and busted pipes.
And as the locus for the Parish House Accompaniment Project this building served as a place of refuge for well over a dozen migrants seeking refuge in this country, many of them just after being released from detention without any other place to go. In our Parish House they received a bed, food, connection to services, and perhaps most importantly, loving-kindness.
All that has now come to a close. And I am sad because an incredible amount of good came from the people who dwelt in this house––for them and for All Souls Parish.
And I am relieved. Because in the past ten years no major earthquake struck, no devastating fire engulfed the house. Now, you may think that this is a low bar, and you’d be right. But for me and many others over the years, it was a constant concern. And now a great relief as we have been able to offer hospitality and respite to those who really needed it and keep them safe, all the while without financially burdening All Souls.
Thanks to the patience, effort and faith of dozens of people, we landed the plane. And along the way an incredible group of people gave countless hours, along with their blood, sweat and tears. A score of wardens, dozens of Vestry members, a host Parish House Accompaniment teams, and a dedicated crew of All Soulsians like Marilyn Flood, Rick Sweeney, Lewis Maldonado, John Love, Joy Shih Ng, Nettie Pinell, and Annie Rovzar kept that place together and gave their love to everyone who walked through those doors.
It will be a few months before demolition and construction begin. And we still need to remove what we would like to keep, sell and/or give away what other people can use. But this part of the journey has ended.
And while I am excited and hopeful for what is to come, tonight I’ll be offering prayers to God with tears, laughter, gladness and deep sighs of relief for what has been.
We Give Together
Ups and Downs
In trying times we are still making church together, even if a little bit farther from each other than usual. The past few weeks have given us ups and downs.
As we have moved our celebration on-line, we have re-connected with old friends, some around the corner and others around the world, and drawn new people to our worship. Facebook tells us over 11,000 people have seen some or all of our services since we started live streaming.
We have moved to take care of each other. We have formed Connection Groups bringing neighbors together to check-in on and support each other. We have started a sandwich program for homeless camps that has had so many people want to help that we have had to ask them to wait to volunteer.
We are paying all our staff, salaried and hourly, as before. We believe it is the right and just thing to do and will continue to maintain our staff as long as we can.
But our financial support, in every form, is down:
- Pledge receipts are 8% below budget so far;
- Plate collections are down substantially,
- Special Day collections are down significantly. Contributions on Good Friday for the Church in Jerusalem were $1,037 in 2019 and were only $180 this year. You can donate here: https://episcopalchurch.org/global-partnerships/good-friday-offering
- Rental payments from Hearts Leap preschool have stopped as they have had to temporarily close. Our budget has relied on these rental payments and faces shortfalls without them.
And so we need your support and your help. There are many ways to give to, to protect, the work All Souls is doing now.
General support for All Souls – Any gift to All Souls is greatly appreciated and will help us sustain our community and our work.
Pledge – Please stay current with your pledge, or, if you can, even pre-pay some or all of it now. If you feel you are going to have difficulty fulfilling your pledge, please let us know so that we can support you in a tough time and so that we can plan with accurate information. Please contact Phil at Phil@allsoulsparish.org or Maggie Cooke at firstname.lastname@example.org with any concerns about your pledge.
Passing the Plate – In place of passing the plate through the pews, during the Sunday online service, Calvin inserts a link to All Souls’ new giving app Give+ in the Facebook comments section. Please look for the link and donate as to the virtual plate. Alternatively, a few creative souls have sent in checks to stand in place of the money they would have put in the plate during services. Whether by app or check, please continue to contribute through the plate offering.
Rector’s Discretionary Fund – All Souls maintains a Rector’s Discretionary Fund outside our normal program budget. The rector uses this fund to compassionately support those in need. During this crisis Phil has already used this fund to assist several people and it is likely there will be others. If you can support this fund, please include “Discretionary Fund” on your check or electronic memo line. If you need help from this fund, please contact email@example.com
A quick note about the logistics of giving A check mailed to All Souls, 2220 Cedar St, Berkeley, CA 94709, or using your Bank’s Bill Pay feature is still the best way to contribute to All Souls. Both of these paths avoid any of the charges we incur from other sites or apps for processing your payment. The Give+ app is available in Apple or Android app stores.
All Souls continues to stand and act as a tangible expression of God’s love – even, or really especially, in these tough times. Please continue to make church by continuing to give financially to church. We are doing more work, standing with more people, and seeking to reflect God’s love now more than ever. We are grateful for your support.
Returning to Holy Week
Traditionally, many practices are held during and after Holy Week here at All Souls. We meet in person. We wash each other’s feet on Maundy Thursday. We have the option of walking around and looking at the stations of the cross on Good Friday. We can, if we choose, kiss the cross and leave rose petals on it. We process around the church at the Vigil, singing and chanting and listening to the names of the saints. We make a loud and joyful noise as we celebrate Easter. Our voices rise together, singing “Alleluia” over and over.
This was not a traditional Holy Week, but it was still Holy Week. I am deeply grateful for the hard work that the staff and others put in to make it happen and to make it happen well. It still felt like All Souls and home. Our community has never looked like this, but it is still going strong.
Traditionally, the Good Friday reflections are posted here in the Pathfinder for everyone to read. They have been shared differently this year. All of the Holy Week services were streamed on Facebook live and are still available, including the Good Friday Contemplative Service. I think one of the gifts of this wild time is the ability to go back and watch the services, to virtually step into those spaces again. This year, instead of reading the reflections, we can watch them. We can hear the voices of those who made the reflections and see their faces, no matter where we were on Good Friday at noon.
If you’d like to watch any of the services again, the links are here! Copy and paste them into your browser. If you’re not on Facebook, you can click out of the pop-up boxes.
Here are the links to the Holy Week services:
- Maundy Thursday Parts 1 and 2: https://www.facebook.com/95416836295/videos/1500955560064778; https://www.facebook.com/95416836295/videos/228446178375273
- Good Friday Contemplative Service: https://www.facebook.com/95416836295/videos/619198675332266
- Good Friday Evening Service: https://www.facebook.com/95416836295/videos/512207183022528
- Easter Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/95416836295/videos/2667529826803714
- Easter Sunday Parts 1 and 2: https://www.facebook.com/95416836295/videos/2493831650929456; https://www.facebook.com/95416836295/videos/1558837817603197
If you have any problems viewing the services, please fill out this form, and someone will reach out to you.
This is, without a doubt, a strange and challenging season. I’m very grateful for our All Souls community and the way it is as strong and loving as ever. I look forward to seeing all of you in person when that day comes!
Friends, it has been amazing to witness your response to the call for sandwich makers for our efforts to offer meals to our neighbors in homeless encampments. I am truly astonished. Since the request went out I have not stopped answering emails from so many of you who want to get involved. Your enthusiasm jumps off the screen, and the emails just keep coming.
So, we have successfully launched Project: Sandwich! On Sunday volunteers picked up sandwiches from households who made 10 sandwiches each, and brought them back to All Souls where they were bagged with fruit, a snack, and a drink. Then two of us headed out to the RV encampment at 8th and Harrison, and then to the camp on Gilman. Today, Wednesday, we did it all over again, adding the Seabreeze camp on University to our route. Each day we dropped off about 50 meals. We’re going to keep on doing it on Sundays and Wednesdays while this crisis persists. Our amazing team of Don Gates, Pat Jones, and Nancy Pryer have organized this operation like a dream, and I am very grateful.
I also have to share the hard truth of what our friends in the camp are facing. The shortage of food and resources, according to a community leader, are leading to extra conflict. Today we witnessed a fight, and people who seemed truly desperate for food. It is really, really tough to witness people facing such deprivation. But I am inspired by their resilience, and your generosity.
Thank you, so many of you, for answering the call. We now have been able to up our daily sandwich count to 70 and have a waitlist for sandwich makers because we have so many volunteers! As this crisis goes on, I know we are going to need all of you in some capacity. We are still currently looking for drivers if you have that availability. We have a generous grant from the Episcopal Impact Fund supporting this work right now, and if you are able to add to our capacity you can donate to All Souls with a note that the donation is for Project: Sandwich! Again, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Home Altar Pictures
Foundations for Financial Wholeness
Tuesday April 28 & Wednesday April 29th, 7-8:15 PM both nights on Zoom
Caring for Creation: Hope & Action for Climate Justice Continues this Sunday
Our online celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and Earth Week continues this Sunday with ‘Youth Speak Out for Climate Action’, led by Kyle Lemle and Tianna Arrendondo of Green Faith, 350.org, and The Sunrise Movement. Log on to at 9:15 to listen to music by Kyle Lemle; the program starts at 9:30. A flyer about the series Is attached here. Click here for the Zoom call information.
Also online, tomorrow, Friday, April 24, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, the Faith Formation Working Group and Commission on Creation Care of the Diocese of California, in partnership with Interfaith Power & Light, will offer a free screening of the hopeful film ‘The Human Element’ by James Balog. This will be followed by a virtual gathering over Zoom to celebrate our shared love of creation and discuss how to use what we’ve learned from the COVID pandemic to take on the climate crisis. This gathering will be led by Amy Cook, Working Group Head for Adult Formation, and Nancy Grove, Chair, Commission on Creation Care. You can register in advance at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJclfuGgqjwqGdDg4RuZWLYQN6QFwLyPbjjQ.
Summer Book Groups
Last call for summer book group nominations! If you have ideas for a good book to read and discuss this summer with fellow parishioners, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30.
Looking for more announcements this week? Check out the brand new All Soulscast, where Phil+ and Emily interview folks about what’s going on around this community.