From the Associate Rector
If you missed church last week, you may not have heard me announce that my time at All Souls will be coming to an end in July of this year. I will be beginning a 1-year chaplaincy residency in UCSF’s Clinical Pastoral Education program. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an experience that most Episcopal priests must complete before ordination. In most cases, this takes the shape of a summer internship in a hospital setting (although not always!) I completed my summer internship at UCSF in 2014 while I was in seminary and still in the ordination process. It was an incredibly challenging experience, but one that broke my heart open and expanded the way I recognize and experience God at work in our midst. I left that summer feeling like my time in CPE wasn’t finished and that I would return to it sometime in the future. Well, I feel like that time has come for me in my life as a priest. In some ways, I feel that I am still learning who I am as a priest, and how to live into the fullness of my vocation. CPE feels like the next right step for me, personally and professionally, on my journey toward figuring that out.
So, all this is to say that July 2nd will be my last Sunday at All Souls, which means we still have five months of good work to do together. I’m looking forward to lots of Faithful Families, a high school immersion trip this summer, Holy Week, lots of comedic Sunday morning announcements, the Sunday Night Service, and so much more. There will be lots of time for reflection as July approaches, and I don’t think that I can adequately express the mixture of emotions I’m experiencing now, but the two prevailing sentiments are gratitude and excitement.
I’m grateful for all that I’ve learned and experienced over the last two and a half years, and I’m excited not only for my future, but also for what lies ahead for All Souls. It feels like an exciting time to be at All Souls, and I trust that the Spirit is up to something good at the corner of Cedar and Spruce and that the right person/people will come along to join you.
Sigh. Every time a member of the All Souls staff leaves our parish it is a loss. Maggie has now shared the news that she will be leaving All Souls in July several times––with the Staff, the Vestry, and at the 9a and 11:15a services this past Sunday. And each time her news has been accompanied by sighs and sometimes gasps. It is hard when someone who has walked this path with us leaves for another path.
There will be time, particularly in June, to celebrate Maggie and the gifts that she has given us. As she wrote above, she will be spending the months ahead in planning and preparation. And, for us as a parish, we will be spending time listening and in discernment. Since I’ve been at All Souls we have had well over a dozen staff transitions. And each time we have taken time to take stock, listen, imagine, and discern. This transition will be no different.
This past weekend as part of our Vestry Retreat, one of the goals for 2023 that our Vestry adopted is to develop a strategic staffing plan, one that particularly pays attention to the areas that Maggie has been overseeing––Children and Family, Youth, Communication, and Pastoral Care. That group will be convened by our new Senior Warden Sarah Kern, and in the weeks and months to come you’ll be hearing more about what is ahead and how we will be supporting these ministries of the parish.
The word that grounds me every time we have a change in our staff at All Souls is trust. Each time we enter into these times of uncertainty and anxiety I find them to be excellent opportunities to renew our trust in God. The path ahead will undoubtedly look different than the one we’ve traveled to get to this place, and what we receive may not be what we’ve come to expect, but as in the times of transition in the past, I trust that all along the way God will provide.
From the Associate for Ministry Development
In just the second chapter of her fabulous book This Here Flesh, Cole Arthur Riley wrote this, “I used to romanticize a nomadic existence. I used to think it was a requisite for ‘finding myself’––to travel around untethered until I stumbled upon a realness in me. It makes me wince to think that I thought I could learn myself by untethering…French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil said, ‘To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.’”
Every year, during the six weeks of Lent, we teach our version of the Catechumenate class––a class designed to prepare folks to be baptized as a Christian or confirmed into the Episcopal Church. In this way, it’s a class that tethers, one that helps us put down roots.
So many of us have come to this Episcopal tradition from other traditions within Christianity— often some good places that we had to leave behind; and some of us come to this tradition after years of being away; and some of us walk in these copper doors as our very first entry point into Christianity. No matter how you’ve come to be here, there is a lot to learn about this Episcopal tradition. Of course you certainly can come on a Sunday and walk away having had an experience of God, and, this is a tradition born of depth––one whose liturgy works on us to create deep roots of meaning over time. I’ll speak for myself to say that this spiritual home is one that is being built, not assembled.
For those of us who have wandered or are currently wandering, checking out All Souls and checking out this Episcopal tradition (or considering a return), I invite you this Lent to consider taking this Catechumenate class and wrestling with the idea of putting down roots, here. In this class you’ll get the chance to explore questions around Episcopal theology, the Book of Common Prayer, the Bible, how the Episcopal Church is organized, and some of the meaning behind the liturgy from the worship services on Sundays. We have an incredible line-up of teachers––the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, the Rev. Dr. Paula Nesbitt, Dr. Scott MacDougall, our seminarian Michael Drell, the Rev. Michael Lemaire, and of course the Rev. Phil Brochard––people who have spent much of their lives working out their faith in the context of this particular Episcopal and Anglican tradition.
This class will meet on the Sunday evenings in Lent (February 26-April 2nd) at 7p in the Common Room, downstairs in the church. There is even a chance that we’re going to make this a potluck soup dinner each week so that folks can attend the 5p service prior to the start of the Catechumenate (and still be able to have dinner on those nights). If you have questions or wonderings about this class or if you would like to sign-up, please email me, email@example.com.
Looking forward to this season of putting down roots.
Emily Hansen Curran
Building Bridges Returns – Interfaith Film Screening and Discussion
Sunday, March 5, 2023 • 12 Adar 5783
2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Prior to the pandemic, members of All Souls began meeting regularly with fellow Berkeley communities Congregation Beth El and St. Paul AME Church. We started with lunches, and over the years have shared ritual and prayer, the building of tiny houses, text discussions and speaker presentations. After many months, we are thrilled to be coming back together again to view and discuss the film Repairing the World: Stories from the Tree of Life.
The film documents Pittsburgh, PA’s powerful community response to hate and antisemitism in the aftermath of the deadly attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in 2018 that killed eleven people. For three years the film follows survivors, families of the victims, diverse community members, students and civic leaders as they examine their vulnerabilities and the impact of rising antisemitism, racism, hate speech and gun violence. Against the backdrop of a tumultuous period in the country, a local community that has faced violence and trauma works to heal and grapple with what it means to be stronger than hate. Click here to view the film trailer.
This event will be mixed presence (Zoom and in-person), with light refreshments available for those attending in person.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 820 7970 1535
Reflections on Faith
We Must Stop Forgetting
By Stephanie Spellers
I have not watched the film of five Black Memphis police officers beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols to a pulp. I have not seen the EMTs who did so little while a beloved child made in God’s image lay dying at their feet.
I have not looked, yet it is all I can see. Just reading the account is enough to conjure the most horrific, tortured images—worse than anything Hollywood could script. I have not seen the video, but I cannot unsee it, and I honestly don’t want to unsee it. We have become too good at forgetting.
Even if brutality like this has happened before and will happen again, we need to sit with this particular incident. We need to sit and wonder why traffic stops so quickly escalate into police brutalization and then to tragic loss of life. Sit and acknowledge the depravity human beings are capable of when mob mentality kicks in. Sit and feel our own broken, haggard spirits, still raw from deaths too numerous to count.
In addition to all that, as a Black person—rest assured I’m not about to speak for all Black people, just from my particular experience living in this skin in this nation—I have to sit with the reality that we can commit racist horrors against our own.
This is no surprise. Black people in America are ever surrounded by a White-dominant national culture that hates, distrusts, criminalizes, cages, and lynches Black bodies. White-dominant culture has never known what to do with us when we are free of White control, and it cannot imagine we would not want to hurt White people and structures as much as they have hurt us. So it terrorizes us psychically and physically, and then disseminates an image of dangerous, demonic Blackness that makes White domination look necessary and good.
We have always resisted these forces with our own Black-positive narratives and institutions, but not everyone has access to that alternative source, and sometimes it’s not enough. And so we find that Black lives do not matter to some Black people. They have ingested the poisonous American waters we’ve all swum in throughout our lives.
In one telling study, groups of subjects played a video shooter game featuring a quick cascade of images of White men and Black men, either holding a gun or something like a phone, soda can, or wallet. The subjects had to quickly decide whether to shoot. White subjects more often “saw” the White men and guessed they held something harmless, even if they had a gun, while they assumed the Black men had guns, even if they only had a soda can. Sadder still: Black subjects also guessed unarmed Black men had guns, while they gave White men a pass.
Especially if you are deep in the American policing system, you are likely trained—explicitly or implicitly—to see Black people as a threat. Modern policing is based on models designed for patrolling Black slaves. It assumes there is an “us” that is White (plus whoever can sneak under that tent for cover) to be protected from a “them” that is disproportionately Black, Latino, Indigenous, and Asian and must be controlled or eliminated. If you’re an officer and a person of color, your pledge to keep “us” safe – and your need to prove you’re not like “them”—may make you more brutal than anyone. Just witness the cruelty of the Black plantation overseer.
There is so much to sit and reckon with in a moment like this. I hope we will honor that calling and not just go numb or switch to the next crisis.
I also hope we will get up and move. Move and demand reform in policing (see the Office of Government Relations’ “Nine Actions on Police Reform” for helpful tips), and this time keep holding civic and elected officials’ feet to the fire.
As folk of color, I hope we will partner to reverse the internalized oppression that plagues many of us exposed to White-dominant culture’s poisonous messages. The Episcopal Church’s Office of African Descent Ministries runs retreats on “Healing from Internalized Oppression,” and they’ve begun to collaborate with other ethnic ministries to help all communities of color join in this internal, healing work.
There have been other Tyre Nicholses, and I weep anticipating all the Tyres to come. Pray today that God will fill us with wisdom and courage, and move us to transform systems and hearts shrouded by evil, especially when those hearts might just be our own.
-The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers is canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care.
Save the Dates
- February 21, Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday Jambalaya + Pancake Dinner
- February 22, Ash Wednesday (7a, 12p, & 7:30p)
- February 26, Catechumenate (Sundays in Lent)
- March 1, Lenten Contemplative Service + Soup Supper (Wednesdays in Lent)
- March 5, Breaking Break, Building Bridges Event
Join us for worship this week:
Join us for worship this week:
- 9am, in-person, indoors
- 11:15am, in-person, indoors. (click here to access the live stream)
- 5p, the Sunday Night Service, in-person, indoors, in the Chapel.
You can access the live stream through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning.
If you miss a Sunday, you can always catch the sermon on our homepage or as a podcast, anywhere you listen to podcasts!
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here, or join us in person in the Nave at 9a. Password: 520218.
Adult Formation Classes
Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in the Common Room.
Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:15a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in Phil’s old office, (now called the Shadrach Room).
Common Prayer for the People of God: Past, Present, and Future @10:10a in the Parish Hall or on Zoom (click here).
Since the sixteenth century, Anglicanism has been defined by a Book of Common Prayer. This class will explore the origins of the prayer book, its use today, and its future in light of the actions of General Convention in summer 2022.
- Feb 5: Prayer Books of the past. We’ll explore the origins of the Book of Common Prayer in 16th-century England and its adaptation for the Episcopal Church when it was formed in 1789.
- Feb 12: The Book of Common Prayer today. The 1979 Prayer Book marked a distinctive change from earlier books. We’ll consider the reasons for these changes and discuss their significance for us today.
- Feb 19: Where do we go from here? What changes are needed to continue to foster common prayer? What might a new Prayer Book contain?
Children, Youth, and Family News
Sunday School This February, we begin a unit about how to be a good friend with some skills adapted from the Stephen Ministry Class that was offered for adults in the fall. This series will be led by Madeline Feeley and Grace Telcs. Class gathers in the courtyard at 10:10am.
Faithful Families there will be no official faithful families in February due to Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, but all families are encouraged to attend the Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday celebration on Tuesday, February 21st!
Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.
Other News & Notes
Summer camp for kids & youth are now open at the Bishop’s Ranch!
2023 CAMP DATES:
- BREAD Explorers: For campers grades 10-12 — June 25 – 30
- Intergenerational Camp: For Families of all kinds — July 2-7
- READ Camp: For Local children grades 4-6 — July 10-14
- TOAST: For BREAD Alumni 21 years or older —July 14-16
- BREAD Adventurers: For campers grades 7-9 —July 16-21 or July 23-28*
- BREAD Discoverers: For campers grades 4-6 — July 16-21 or July 23-28*
*New in 2023! BREAD Adventurers and Discoverers are happening at the same time for the 2 weeks they are offered.
Justice & Peace
Support mental health services over incarceration in Alameda County. There is a broad-based community coalition called “Care First, Jails Last” that has a real record of achievement toward that goal, and some of us want to help in this effort. Join us at an informational zoom meeting Thursday Feb 16 at 7pm to learn more. Email to register: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com.
Lenten Contemplative Weekly Services
This Lent, rather than Soup + Story, we’re going to host contemplative services at the church following a soup supper in the Parish Hall. Each week we’ll focus on a different contemplative practice, around prayer, led by different parishioners at All Souls. Each week will also have parallel kids programming so that the entire family is welcome to join! We’ll start into dinner around 5:30 and into the prayer practice at 6:30, ending each night around 7p. More information to come!
Save the date, February 21st, to come eat, drink, party, and pray with us as we kick off Lent this year. We’ll have jambalaya, pancakes, and we’ll burn the palms from last year to make this year’s ashes for Ash Wednesday. There is a cost for this dinner and all the proceeds will go to help fund this year’s high school immersion trip. More details to come.
|SACRED EARTH: GROWING BELOVED COMMUNITY
CELTIC ROOTS FOR JUSTICE IN ACTION WITH JOHN PHILIP NEWELL
Wednesday March 1, 7 pm PDT REGISTER on faithinformed.org/Sacred Earth and in Diocal newsletter.
Join us for the next episode of Sacred Earth: Growing Beloved Community where leading spiritual teacher John Philip Newel in conversation with Bishop Marc Andrus and Dr. M. Paloma Pavel shares how Celtic spirituality—listening to the sacred around us and inside of us—can help us heal the earth, overcome our conflicts, and reconnect with ourselves.
His latest book, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul: Celtic Wisdom for Reawakening to What our Souls Know and Healing the World, reflects on the long, hidden tradition of Celtic Christianity. He explains how this earth-based spirituality can help us rediscover the natural rhythms of life and deepen our spiritual connection with God, with each other, and with the earth. Celtic Christianity’s leading practitioners, both saints and pioneers of faith.
He accomplishes this work through sacred pilgrimage to Iona along the Western Isles of Scotland and through embodied learning in his School of Earth and Soul. The purpose of this three year program is to reawaken awareness of the sacred in all things and to help translate this awareness into compassionate action.
Canadian by birth, and a citizen also of Scotland, he resides with his family in Edinburgh and works on both sides of the Atlantic. His PhD is from the University of Edinburgh and he has authored over fifteen books, including A New Ancient Harmony, Sounds of the Eternal, The Rebirthing of God. His latest award-winning publication, Sacred Earth Sacred Soul, was the 2022 Gold Winner of the Nautilus Book Award for Spirituality and Religious Thought of the West. We welcome this scholar/bard to our series sharin wisdom and embodied practice.
Each episode of Sacred Earth includes music and a spiritual practice as well as evocative teaching with a chosen leader. We welcome you to our series. Register now. And in the spirit of Growing Beloved Community we invite “Each one bring one”. Learn more about this teams of two practice (see attached) and help grow our community of contemplation and action.
If you are looking to set up your pledge for 2023, you may still do so by clicking on this form. There is also a super easy way to give to All Souls––for either a one-time donation or for your ongoing pledge––that is through an app called Vanco Mobile (what used to be called GivePlus). You can find this app through the app store on your phone. Once downloaded, search for All Souls Episcopal Parish and you’re in! If you’d prefer not to download the app, you can just as easily give online through our personalized online donation page by clicking here.
Celebrating the Feast Day of Absalom Jones
The Northern California/Vivian Traylor Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians and the Afro-Anglican Commission of the Diocese of California invite you to celebrate
The Feast Day of Absalom Jones
February 11, 2023, 11:00 a.m. PST
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
114 Montecito, Oakland, CA
Theme: Repairing Dignity: Seeking Wholeness
The Right Rev. Deon Kevin Johnson, the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri, will preach.
The service will be streamed on St. Paul’s Facebook page.
Flowers on Sundays at Church
If you are interested in dedicating the flowers in the Church on Sunday mornings to a loved one or a particular remembrance, please fill out this form and indicate which day you would like to contribute the flowers and what you would like the dedication to say. The dedication will appear in our announcement sheet on the Sunday you have selected. The suggested contribution for flowers is $75, which can be paid to All Souls either electronically or by check (see the giving page on our website for more information there), and be sure to write in “flowers” in the memo line.
Please contact Maggie Cooke for any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s a New Year: Please Check Your Pledge Mechanics!
Here’s your Stewardship chair checking in about making our pledges a reality. January is a good time for each of us to ensure that we’ve begun to fulfill our pledge amounts for the coming year. During last fall’s pledge campaign, many people pledge a new total for 2023. Now is the time to adjust your giving to your 2023 pledge.
If you contribute via autopay from a financial institution, please review your account activity for this month to ensure that withdrawals from your account align with your 2023 pledge intention. Checking now will keep you on track to your 2023 pledge total. If you have any questions about autopay or the amount you pledged for 2023, please contact our Giving Secretary Maggie Cooke at email@example.com.
Thank you for all that you give and all that you do! Deirdre Nurre, Stewardship Committee Chair