Phil Brochard headshot2

A New Song

Friends of All Souls Parish, it is with a heavy heart that I share the news that, after nearly 12 years of service with this congregation, Christopher Putnam is stepping down as the Associate for Liturgy and Music.

As you may know, Christopher has had a very hard year, fighting pneumonia at the start of the year and the beginning of his sabbatical. He returned to his position in February, but as we entered further and further into Lent, and specifically into Holy Week, his physical condition became very trying. The small muscles in his neck, eyes, and throat tired easily, resulting in him not being able to hold his head up, experiencing double vision, and not being able to sing with ease. Normal tasks became exhausting tests.

In consultation with several physicians, he learned that the condition he has been living with since 2000, known as Myasthenia Gravis, had been exacerbated the stress of the season. He was able to receive IV treatments for it in April, but after returning to the organ bench (and the piano bench and the gutbucket and the laptop and choral direction), his symptoms re-surfaced. Christopher persevered through Pentecost, especially wanting to play and be present for the Allen Baptist Temple Men’s Choir singing and worshipping with us that day at All Souls. The day after, on May 16th, he went on sick leave, which then led to short-term disability.

The good news is that his condition has improved since this past spring. But it has become clear that even with medical treatments and two and a half months of rest, that his body simply will not allow for him to engage in the work of the Associate for Liturgy and Music with us at All Souls. Christopher will remain on disability for the foreseeable future as he learns what he is able to do within the context of his condition.

This kind of challenge is not foreign to Christopher. Near the start of the year 2000, Christopher Putnam, then the Organist and Choir Master at Grace Cathedral (and three months newly married to Caroline), began to feel winded. He soon learned that he had cancer, and went into surgery to remove a large tumor and an entire lung on Ash Wednesday, emerging from his coma after Easter. He then spent months and months in recovery and rehabilitation, eventually leaving his position at Grace.

It was while he was in study at CDSP that we at All Souls learned of his availability to fill in as an interim musician in September of 2004. When the Rector, the Rev. Andrew Walmisley, returned from leave, Christopher became the Associate for Liturgy and Music at All Souls, and it is fair to say that our ways of worshipping God have broadened, deepened, and grown ever since. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Christopher and Caroline will remain at All Souls, and Christopher, after 33 years of getting paid to play on Sunday morning, is now going to become a member of All Souls Parish in Berkeley. (That will be a fun new member welcoming ceremony.) We will be having a lunch and celebration of Christopher’s work after the 11:15 am service on Sunday, September 25th. Please mark the time and date in your calendars to join in this gathering of thanks and praise.

In the interim, the superb duo of Carol Terry and Joe Rosenmayer (along with Ed Hofmann and Katie McGonigal) will be leading us on Sunday mornings and from time to time will be joined by other musicians. Carol and Joe have been remarkable and faithful for months now and will need some well-deserved time away. I am currently gathering a search team to begin the process to find a new musician (or musicians) presently.

For us at All Souls, it is a time of transition. We will be searching for new leadership, even as we continue to hone the “special sauce” of ancient hymns and Gospel pieces, Taize chants and bluegrass song. For Christopher and Caroline it is also a time of transition. Drawing upon decades of experience in a variety of settings, Christopher is embarking on new work as composer, teacher, mentor, and evangelist for the broad and eclectic music that we have come to know as the myriad ways that the Spirit sings.

May God be with us all.


Hear ye, hear ye! The Parish Retreat draws nigh!

Registration has begun!

Morning at the Ranch

Morning at the Ranch

It’s hard to believe it as we hold on tight to summer, but the Parish Retreat is coming soon. On the weekend of September 16th – 18th, scores of All Soulsians will make the trek to the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg for our annual retreat. This year our theme will focus our attention on Sabbath: A Time Apart. We will have time for fellowship, feasting, learning and resting, fun and adventure. Our middle and high school youth will be embarking on a parallel youth retreat, largely enjoying their own adventures and sometimes joining the rest of the community. There will be separate programming for kids and adults on Saturday morning, and also plenty of free time to explore and take advantage of all the Ranch has to offer.

You can learn more of the details and sign up here, or by talking with Emily Hansen Curran on Sunday. Please note that you will need to receive confirmation from Emily Hansen Curran and pay in order to be officially registered.

From the Archives

All Souls Beginnings

Mr. Hodgkin Buys a Pie

Mr. Hodgkin Buys a Pie

If you ask when All Souls was founded, most people would probably think Easter 1906, when the first vicar was installed; others might suggest December 1907 when the first service was held in the newly built All Souls Chapel (the old church); still others with more knowledge might respond December 1905, when the first worship service was held in the Guild Hall, a building that preceded the chapel. Few know that the beginnings of All Souls go much further back.

First, take a moment to picture the scene a little over a century ago in 1904. Had you been at the corner of Cedar and Spruce you would have been in the middle of hay field with windmills and water tanks. This was Berkeley north of the University of California campus in the early 1900s. To quote from Sketches of All Souls Church, written for the celebration of the liquidation of the mortgage in 1944: “Just what date to mark as the beginning of All Souls life story is difficult to decide.”

We have some guidance from a handwritten, undated and unsigned note pasted in the first Parish Register, that reads in part:

“In 1881, Meldon L. Hanscom, his wife and six children, came from Oregon and bought the house at 1525 Walnut St., still standing.

“Mr. Hyde, Mrs. Louise Hanscom’s father, started a Sunday School in the double parlors of the home, which grew until larger quarters were secured on Vine St., between Walnut St. and Shattuck Ave., I think the building is not there now.”

Meldon Leroy Hanscom was reported to have been the Tax Collector and/or the Town Clerk in Berkeley’s early days. Mrs. Hanscom’s maiden name was Louise DeForest Hyde, and it was her father, Munson Hinman Hyde, who started a Sunday School for what is now All Souls Episcopal Parish in Berkeley. While we do not know the exact date Mr. Hyde held the first Sunday School class, we can document that he was registered as a voter on July 17, 1882, and was shown in the 1889 City Directory living on Walnut, between Cedar and Vine, confirming the address in note in the first Parish Register. The Hanscom family and Mr. Hyde are listed in the parish archives as members of All Souls Chapel.

As the number of families living north of the university campus grew, two other families began to hold Sunday School classes for children in their homes as well. In addition to the Hanscom home on Walnut, Sunday School classes were held at the Osborn home on Shattuck and at the home of Professor John Galen Howard on Ridge Road (now the site of Church Divinity School of the Pacific). Sometime in the early 1900’s, the Reverend Edward Lambe Parsons (the rector of St. Mark’s and later Bishop of California), sent a deacon, the Rev. W. R. H. Hodgkin, to help with the new Sunday School.

As the Sunday School grew, and more space was needed to handle the growing numbers. Plans for a new building were prepared by Professor Howard, the University of California’s architect. Mrs. Louise W. B. Kellogg, widow of Martin Kellogg, the University of California’s president in the 1890’s, donated land at the south-west corner of Spruce and Cedar Streets, on which a “Guild Hall” was built, financed by individual subscriptions from parishioners of St. Mark’s.

The guild hall was roughly where the Chapel is now. The Guild Hall soon became known as All Souls Chapel, and on Easter Sunday, April 15, 1906, three days before the great San Francisco earthquake and fire, the Reverend W. R. H. Hodgkin, now ordained as a priest, was installed as vicar of All Souls Chapel, a mission of St. Mark’s.

– Thomas Burcham, Archivist


jane vandenburgh

In June, we welcomed new members into the All Souls family. Today and in the coming weeks, we’ll hear from many of them.

I am a novelist, memoirist and sometimes poet who teaches writing through the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Woodside.

I am married to Jack Shoemaker, a book publisher. He and I have four children and four grandchildren, so far.

We discovered All Souls last fall when we brought our dog Georgia to the Blessing of the Animals at the Feast of St Francis and felt instantly at home.

– Jane Vandenburgh


don strangePlease join together in giving thanks for the life of our brother Don Strange. His memorial service will be held this Saturday, August 6th at 11:00 am at All Souls. If you are able, please bring sandwiches or dessert to share in a reception following the service. As you mourn his death, if you find you would like space to talk, process, or pray with another, please, reach out. As Phil wrote, suicide is an awful kind of loss, profoundly sad and overwhelming. Liz and Phil are glad to spend time with you as you grieve. Through it all, please keep Don’s family and friends, and this community, in your prayers.


All Souls takes action. The blessing of rainfall brings with it an abundance of greenery that requires some guidance from us. There’s no poetic way to say this, we’ve GOT to cut it down. So we’re having a party.  A Pruning Party! We’re Calling All Souls to take on the trimming, weeding, clearing, hacking, shoveling, lopping, and chopping the overgrowth and undergrowth encroaching on our Parish House, Parish Hall, parking lot, preschool, and church. I have snippers, hedge trimmers and a pole pruner ready to participate; what tools do you have yearning to be put to use?  Save Saturday, August 27th and prepare to channel your inner arborist.

– Maggie Cooke, Jr. Warden