From the Rector

The Third R

In this past year of pandemic, in the midst of the confusion and chaos and the noise, I’ve observed a few signals of significant communal shifts. And while I believe that we will be sifting through much of the events of this year for the next several decades, the I’ve seen patterns, at least initially, are patterns of Resorting, Reckoning, and Reforming.

The resorting grew over time, but really started becoming evident to me in the summer. As we were forced to fundamentally change the patterns of our lives because of this virus, much of what we had depended upon materially, emotionally, and spiritually was upended. The stresses of economic downturn, of tremendous political instability, and then of climate crisis were intense. And many of us began to resort the basics of our lives. Some of the results of that resorting were that relationships ended. Some of the results of this resorting became a change of career path. And some of the resorting has been seen in the acceleration of people moving away from the Bay. As we all experienced a generational time of punctuated equilibrium, many, many people took stock of what happening and made significant changes.

On a societal level, this time of resorting led to a reckoning like this nation has only seen a few times in the last 150 years. Yes, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd made plain a sin that this country has been unwilling to wrestle with for generations––the original sin of slavery. And I wonder if the shift that we are beginning to see, as more and more people acknowledge the ideology and practices of white supremacy, if this shift has been made more possible because of the collective disrupted equilibrium. And from this forced pause has come the space to reckon with our lives, individually and collectively, anew.

Over the past year as a pastor in this parish I have been in conversation with scores of All Soulsians in the process of resorting. And for months now, as a pastor of this parish, I have been engaging in the work of learning and leading as we collectively reckon with our part in the racism that still infects this body. 

And as more and more people are vaccinated, and as the case rates drop, I am hopeful that we are beginning to engage in that third R, Reforming. My sense is that this will be happening at all levels, on a global, national, communal, congregational, familial, and person level. All of us will be building new patterns.

Some practices we will return to will be resurrected from the Before Time. Other practices we will leave behind, as they are no longer useful to us. And still other practices we will be creating to meet where we are headed. Reforming may not mean more, it may mean less, and with intention.

What is clear to me is that given what we have endured since March of last year, we will not return to “normal”. We can’t. We have changed, the communities we are a part of us has changed. Some of the changes will be felt as loss, others as liberation.

But I am placing my trust in two truths as we begin the reformation in the midst of the resorting and the reckoning. One is that things will be different. And the other is that God will be there with us.




Good Friday Reflections

A Reflection by Kaki Logan

To listen, Click here:

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

What Judas does is unremarkable. What he does has been repeated thousands, probably millions of times since: he betrays someone closest to him. He betrays Jesus with information only a close associate would know. He does it indirectly and in the dark. We don’t know much about Judas’ motivation, but we do know that he was one of Jesus closest friends, and he betrays him as only a close person could.

What is remarkable, on the other hand, is how Jesus responds when he is betrayed. In this betrayal, which precipitates the beginning of his walk to the cross, we see who Judas is but more importantly, we see who Jesus is. When his enemies are seeking him, Jesus shows who he is in the three words, “I am he.” I expect he does feel afraid of what is to come, but he has a stillness inside as he faces his accusers. He doesn’t argue; he doesn’t defend himself; he doesn’t blame Judas, he doesn’t flee. He accepts and faces the frightening, life changing situation thrust upon him. He is calm and he is brave. He knows who he is. His simple statement of “I am he” causes his pursuers to fall to the ground. Why is that? 

I want to tell two brief stories of times of when I also, faced frightening and potentially life changing situations and what I learned. 

Several years ago, I was leading a group of 7 women on a trip in the Sierra. The climax of the trip was to be an ascent of Mt. Lyell, the tallest peak in Yosemite National Park. We took off in the dark of the early morning, ice axes in hand, determined to make it to the top of this 13,000-foot snowy peak. Near the summit we encountered a large bergschrund. That’s a gap between the snow and the rock caused when exposed rock is heated during the day and causes the snow next to it to melt, creating a growing chasm between the rock and the snow. Over time this gap widens and plunges so deep you can’t even see the bottom. The bergschrund was too wide to cross, but over one section, we found a snow bridge. So, we crossed it and continued on up to the summit. The view on top was magnificent, and we stayed for quite some time. On the descent, when we reached the snow bridge, we discovered it had partially melted and was no longer secure. We had to find another way down. Since couldn’t cross the bergschrund, we hiked along above it to where it became more narrow. It was too steep to descend at that point, so we crossed the bergschrund and walked slowly and carefully along the top of it until we could find a place where the angle of the descent would be safe enough to hike down. Falling down into the bergshrund on our left would have been fatal, or sliding down the incline to our right would likely have been fatal as well. I really scared. In that moment, I had to accept our situation. No one was going to come along and rescue us. We had no choice but to move forward. I remember the very distinct feeling of having to still myself and stay calm in order to gather the courage to go forward. 

With my ice axe I cut steps along the edge of the bergschrund. An ice axe looks like a pickax with a spike at the bottom of the shaft, and at the head two ends, one a point, and the other, a flat blade called an adze. Using the adze, I cut steps in the snow. I’d swing the axe and cut a place to set my left foot. Then I’d swing, cut, and step with my right foot. And each person followed, single file, using their ice axe like a walking stick in their uphill hand, each one obligated to step into the I cut I had made, and with their boot, make the step a bit larger or more secure for the next person. So, one step at a time, we walked that precipice parallel to the bergschrund until we came to a place we could safely descend. Then with great relief, we goosestepped downhill, leaping and plunging our heels into the snow, and when it was even less steep, we glissaded, or skied on our boots, until the snow finally gave way to solid ground. The next morning after we broke camp and headed down the Lyell Canyon, I paused to look up at the peak, and I broke down and just sobbed, knowing the danger we had been in and what could have happened.

The second story of fear and a life changing circumstance takes place more recently. Four years ago, my life partner of 30 years suddenly left. At that time, I became very anxious. Of course, I also felt deep grief, but grief is distinctly different from anxiety and more manageable. Anxiety made me feel sick in my stomach and sometimes almost panicked when I was alone. At first, I didn’t even know that the terrible feeling I had was anxiety since I had never felt it before in a sustained way. I learned that anxiety is actually fear. Suddenly I feared a deep, black, existential aloneness. I felt afraid of death. I felt afraid of growing old alone, and of dying alone. And that feeling lasted for over a year and slowly became less intense over the following two years. And I remember thinking every day, I have to still myself and be brave. I have to put one foot in front of the other. I have to take one step at a time.  

When Jesus was betrayed by Judas, he faced some of the most frightening and difficult moments of his life. And in calmly saying, “I am he.” he accepted his situation. He knew who he was. He had a stillness inside. He faced his fear and took one step at a time to the cross. 

During the three years after my separation, I came to know the importance of stillness, which ironically, is what enabled me to move forward. I learned to meditate. I spent more time noticing the beauty of nature. I spent more time alone. I read the spiritual works of others. I had to find that still place within. And I carried on, each day, one step at a time.

Jesus’ stillness in that garden across the Kidron Valley may have seemed like weakness to some, but in reality, it showed his strength. It caused his accusers to fall to the ground without his even lifting a finger. When we become afraid, Jesus teaches us to “Be still.”

The Psalmist also remind us 

“Be still and know that I am God.” 

Be still and know.

Be Still. . .”

A Reflection by Tom Varghese

To Listen, Click Here:

John 19:12-16

From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the chief priests cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor.  Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.’  When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha.  Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon.  He said to the chief priests, ‘Here is your King!’  They cried out, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’  Pilate asked them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’  The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but the emperor.’  Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

This is one of the super-charged scenes in the crucifixion story, where Pontius Pilate confronts an emotional crowd in Jerusalem.  Can you place yourself in the crowd?  Can you feel the crush and the heat of humanity around you?  Can you see the crowd raising arms in perfect waves, yelling sharply skyward in perfect synchronization?  

As a young kid growing up and distant Africa, I was given a book of illustrated Bible stories.  The crucifixion especially captivated me and I recall the book’s painted image of the large crowd assembled below Pilate’s balcony.  I must have spent hours looking at that particular image, scanning all of the faces in the crowd.  Somehow, I sensed the fervor and intensity in the crowd.

It is an incredible experience to be part of the large crowd caught up in a single strong emotion.  In many cases, it can feel uplifting and joyful.  I remember, for example, being at Memorial Stadium for the California-Stanford football game almost 40 years ago in 1982.  That was a memorable moment for all Cal students and fans: there we were on the field, feeling a bond of unbridled joy, embracing people we’d never met before.  We felt part of a happy family.  

I had similar feelings almost 25 years later when Barack Obama was first elected president on November 4, 2008.  On that night, he appeared before a crowd at Grant Park in Chicago, and delivered a powerful speech about a 106-year-old woman named Amy Nixon Cooper, a daughter of a slave, who voted that day in Atlanta.  I saw emotional faces in the crowd on television that night, and I felt that America and, indeed, the world had changed and we were one.  

But the intensity of a crowd can also go in the other direction and be unsettling.  That was how I felt when I looked at the painted image of the Jerusalem crowd in my Bible story book.  Even as a kid, I wondered why the crowd would insist on doing something that seemed wrong.  Fast forward thousands of years from that Jerusalem scene to January 2021, and I was shocked by CNN images of a crowd climbing into the US Capital Building to halt the presidential election.  It was another stunningly painful image.

The remarkable nature of a crowd is that it can provide comfort and cover.  But that comes with a cost:  in a crowd, the voice of an individual may no longer be heard.  And, it is very hard to go upstream and turn the tide of crowd.  Indeed, it takes energy, but most of all, it takes courage.

Some people have done it.  I recall reading about the Dodger shortstop Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around Jackie Robinson on the baseball diamond in 1947, while opposing teams and stadium fans yelled racial slurs.  Soon after I came to the US as an eight-year-old in the 1960s, I saw a photograph of Elizabeth Eckford passing through a gauntlet of white students to enter Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957.  The image of that young lady in front of that crowd made the concept of courage very clear to me.

Most of us will never have to confront a crowd as publicly and as courageously as Elizabeth Eckford, Jackie Robinson, and Pee Wee Reese.  But every day, I think we each make decisions, which ask us whether we follow the ways of the crowd.  We do that in the way we vote, in the way we act as consumers, in the way we behave in our professional lives, in the way we treat the natural world.  And we certainly do that in the way treat other people.  

When my wife Vicki and I retired in 2019, we became ushers at San Francisco Symphony performances at Davies Symphony Hall.  We travelled home on BART after the performances, and we would often find ourselves in a crowd of well-dressed symphony goers waiting for a train home, late at night, at the Civic Center BART station.  After one performance that ended at about 11:00 PM, I recall standing with Vicki in the platform crowd, and I noticed a homeless man slowly making his way up the platform.  I had often seen homeless people on BART, but I had never seen anyone in as weak a condition as this man – he was hunched over, wearing a ragged brown jacket that looked like a cape, his pants had fallen below his hips, and he carried an intense odor that projected many feet before him.  He had sores on his face, was mumbling to himself, and didn’t make any eye contact.  

As he approached, the crowd immediately sensed his presence and everyone – including me – stepped backward to escape.  But out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone step forward to the man and touch his shoulder.  It was Vicki.  She asked him if he was okay and whether he needed any help.  I remember the stunned look in his eyes: I think he was trying to process that someone was speaking to him and finally touching him.  Vicki gave him a few dollars and some others then came forward as well.  They chatted briefly and, a minute later, the man shuffled away slowly.  Later on, as Vicki and I exited our train at the Fruitvale BART station, a young Latino guy on the train touched Vicki’s arm and said “That was a cool thing that you did at Civic Center.”

I believe we’re each on a journey to locate God in our lives.  I think the community in which we live – our crowd – defines many norms and expectations, but there are moments when we sense something wrong, we sense in our heart that we need to do something different from the crowd.  Going alone takes energy and courage, but at some point, I think we need to draw on our reserve and make the effort to go alone.  It may feel like a lonely path forward, but I know that others – our kids, our relations, our neighbors – are watching that image of us. 

God be with you.

From the Vestry

April Vestry Update

At our most recent Vestry meeting (4/23), we spoke a fair amount about sheep.  No, we are not planning an urban farm on the site of our new Jordan Court.  We did discuss, however, what it means to be a shepherd and a sheep.  Our discussion was rooted in the scripture of John 10:11-18.

Coincidentally enough, I was raised on a sheep farm in rural New Jersey, so I could lend some personal experience to the conversation.  When asked what it means to be a shepherd, contributions included such characteristics as constancy, vigilance, and a willingness to circle back and around regularly to ensure that no one gets lost.  A shepherd protects and guides, rather than enforces.  When asked what it means to be a sheep, willingness came to mind:  a sheep must be willing to accept guidance.

Other agenda items included the approval of our March consent agenda and financial reports; Father Phil’s rector’s report; a request from the Justice and Peace ministry; and a report out on our ministries from each Vestry ministry liaison.

A highlight of Father Phil’s rector report was the announcement that we will be returning to in-person, indoor worship on May 23rd.  We will continue to have courtyard services at 9AM, and streaming options for the 11:15 service, but we will add the wonderful opportunity to see one another in person at 11:15 services.  What a gift.

The Justice and Peace ministry requested Vestry endorsement of two letters of support for two pieces of legislation currently under consideration in the CA legislature.  Both bills seek to reduce the prison population by eliminating legal mandates for arbitrary and excessive sentences, restoring judicial discretion in sentencing.  We had a rich discussion about when and how we as a church take actions like these.  The team agreed that any decision to take political / legislative action must be rooted in our baptismal vows, our faith, scripture.  As an outcome of the discussion, the Vestry will ask the Justice and Peace ministry to draft a protocol for the organization to guide our decisions to take a position as a church.  The congregation will have the opportunity to review the protocol.

The final agenda topic of updates from our ministry liaisons focused on how Vestry members can build deeper relationships with each of our ministries. Using the model of the Benedictine Life, our Senior Warden Toni Martinez Borgfeldt encouraged us to develop a regular process for listening, so that we can recognize where God is present and discern what is needed for each of the ministries.

Circling back to John 10, I invite you to think, as we did, about who have been protectors in your own life?  When have you been able to shepherd and guide others?  Finally, what does it mean to you to be a sheep?

– Irina Wolf Carrière, Vestry Member

An Update about Braid Mission

Have You Met Our Braid Mission Mentor Team?

Braid Mission was founded in the Diocese of California in 2014. From the website, its mission is “to empower volunteers to help heal the wounds of foster care through meaningful relationships. We train and connect adults to support foster youth using a team-based, holistic mentoring model.”

There are over 60,000 youth in foster care in California, the highest population of any state. Deeply scarred by the wounds of foster care, these youth search for healing from the trauma of being removed from their homes and experiencing change and loss. In 2015, the All Souls Vestry committed to support Braid Mission as a priority and continues to allocate $2,500 per year to the Justice and Peace budget for this vital ministry. 

A team from All Souls has been mentoring a young man in foster care for almost two years. Anne Cockle, Laura Shefler, and Andy Willis were all trained by Braid. Volunteers commit a few hours a month to their youth, engaging in activities for fun—something rare and precious in the lives of these young people. The volunteers meet with our youth for a few hours each month, offering them a relationship with people they can count on to be there for them. As with everything, activities have been impacted by Covid-19 and some contact with our youth has been online by necessity, but the dedication of our volunteers continues strong.

As described on the website, Braid Mission is “a spiritual movement where you can discover your potential to transform others’ lives and find yourself transformed.” Currently, we are praying for the program, the youth, and our volunteers in the Prayers of the People. Many All Soulsians participate in the Cards of Hope program during Advent—we have come to understand that for some youth, the cards they receive are first-ever cards with a personal greeting.

If you’d like to read more about the program or may be interested in participating, visit or contact Laura Shefler ( 

-Cynthia Clifford

New Adult Formation Class

Restorations and Reparations

Over the past year, All Soulsians have been pondering questions of racial justice, healing, and reconciliation. This class will explore questions of restoration and reparation, inspired by the promise of the prophet Isaiah, “You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in” (Isaiah 58:12). In conversation with leaders from the wider Episcopal Church, we will explore foundations for the work of racial reconciliation in scripture and Christian tradition, and consider next steps we might take individually and as a congregation. This class is open to all and is intended to be complementary to the Sacred Ground groups and the fall class “Carrying the Cross Together.”

Click here to enter the Zoom call at 10:10 on Sundays.

May 2: The Rev. Michael Battle, PhD, Herbert Thompson Chair of Church and Society and Director of the Desmond Tutu Center at General Theological Seminary. Dr. Battle has written extensively on racial reconciliation, including The Church Enslaved: A Spirituality of Racial Reconciliation, coauthored with Tony Campolo, and Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu. He has served congregations in South Africa and the United States and has held academic and administrative positions at several seminaries.

May 16: The Rev. Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care. She has worked with Katrina Browne in the Sacred Ground curriculum. Her most recent book is The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline, and New Hope for the Beloved Community, which explores how communities steeped in racism, establishment, and privilege can at last fall in love with Jesus.

May 23: The Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, Bishop of Maryland. Under Bishop Sutton’s leadership, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and in September 2020 approved a $1 million dollar fund for reparations. In 2019, Bishop Sutton testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the 116th Congress in support of H.R. 40 to commission a study of reparations.

May 30: The Rev. Isaiah Shaneequa Brokenleg, Presiding Bishop’s Staff Officer for Racial Reconciliation. A member of the Lakota tribe and a Winkte, a sacred healer for her people, she hosts a podcast, “Preaching and Teaching the Beloved Community,” helping clergy and lay leaders address social justice through liturgy.

Weekly Worship

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:
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218

Thursday Night Compline (Night Time Prayers): 8:30pm PDT

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 786 3029 4068
Passcode: Compline

Adult Formation

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. 

Restorations and Reparations at 10:10am on Zoom with the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers and guests.

Over the past year, All Soulsians have been pondering questions of racial justice, healing, and reconciliation. This class will explore questions of restoration and reparation, inspired by the promise of the prophet Isaiah, “You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in” (Isaiah 58:12). In conversation with leaders from the wider Episcopal Church, we will explore foundations for the work of racial reconciliation in scripture and Christian tradition, and consider next steps we might take individually and as a congregation. This class is open to all and is intended to be complementary to the Sacred Ground groups and the fall class “Carrying the Cross Together.”

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

Children’s Ministry

In-person, outdoor Children’s Formation takes place on Sundays in the Courtyard at 10:10am!

If you’d like to receive updates about Children and Family Ministries, but do not subscribe to the Family Bulletin, please email Maggie Foote ( for more information.

Youth Ministry

Youth group meets this Sunday, April 25th, 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 to be added to the list!

Other News & Notes

Soulcast: Our Weekly Video Announcements

Check out Season 3: Episode 9 of the Soulcast!

Woods to Waves: 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:

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.

Still Seeking All Soulsians with Communications Skills

We are reaching out to the All Souls community for marketing, communications, technical and design talent to build a team of skilled individuals on whom the communications team can call to support their efforts. If you have any (or many) of the skills listed below and some time to bring them to bear, please sign-up here.


  • Graphic design
  • Writing
  • Email marketing
  • Web design and development
  • Content management
  • Photography
  • Video
  • Social media

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: for more information.

Meal Train

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