From the Associate for Ministry Development
The Wall – Ministry Teams at All Souls in the New Year
Did you know there are approximately 44 different teams of people doing different sorts of ministry within All Souls? Many of you might remember my old office where I covered one of my walls with post-it notes of a map of all these different ministries (photo by Jenny Jimenez). It was something I started when I first was hired here at All Souls in an attempt to see all that this parish was up to in one glance. I didn’t understand how the church was organized (I had never worked for a church before) and so started mapping the things I was learning about who did what, and how many things people did, and just how many groups of folks were gathering to do the work of this church. Over the years what became known as “the wall” took on different forms, and then of course in Covid it was nearly obliterated as so many of you and so many of the teams just could not do the work anymore. Then, with the move to our new offices, I lost “the wall” altogether.
A few weeks ago Phil mentioned in his lead article in this Pathfinder the idea of heliotropism in community––the idea that where we put our attention (where we cast our light) is where we see growth. Specifically, we as a staff have been talking about and looking into the revitalization of ministry teams as we enter this new year together. It’s a shift in focus that our vestry began in 2022. As many have witnessed, in Covid, the staff picked up a lot of the pieces in order to keep things afloat, however that is not the hoped for or healthy place for this parish to be. Mark Koops-Elson (a former Vestry member) once called the staff “force multipliers,” and while that is true, it’s the ministry teams which are the backbone of this parish.
Covid, however, severely damaged many of our teams, completely demolishing teams like Hospitality Parish Life; redefining teams like the Ushers, Open Door Dinner, Newcomers; and changing the work of roles like chalice bearers, working the sound booth, and participating on the Meal Train, but as we are continuing to return to Sunday worship and to the extra bits that make up church together, the task of revitalizing these ministry teams is becoming top priority. And so in this turn towards our teams, I’ve reshaped my “wall”, but in a digital format in order to share it more broadly, because this job of revitalizing our teams is a role that I don’t carry alone.
Another turn we’ve made as a staff team is towards the once per month ministry meeting, a meeting affectionately called the M4 (Monthly Monday Ministry Meeting). For about the last eight years or so the ministry teams of this parish have met at church on the second Monday evening of every month to meet as a large group before heading off to our respective team meetings. When I first started at All Souls we would see about 30-40 folks attend these meetings (representing about 8-10 ministry teams). But in 2019, just before Covid hit, we were down to about 2-3 teams meeting and about 10 folks in attendance. In Covid we moved this meeting to Zoom and got a little bump in attendance, but over time this too began to fade. I spent many conversations with our current Junior & Senior wardens (Irina Carrier and Melissa Devereaux) and Phil in 2021-22 about how to proceed, but since we decided that the original goals of this meeting still held (that this meeting would be a point of connection between all teams, a way for the staff to attend multiple meetings in a week without having to work every night of the week, and to provide a container for teaching and encouraging the health of all our teams), instead of canceling this meeting altogether, we have decided move this meeting to the third Sunday of the month just after the 11:15 service. We’ll try this out for about five months and see how it works, and then re-evaluate from there.
This shift in attention and light, towards ministry teams, which was initiated by the Vestry last year, has already produced fruit––we were able to launch a few new teams this past year including the Isaiah Project and a Property team––and I believe their work has paved the way for the potential for more growth and health in the year to come. So, check out my “wall” and admire all the teams and individuals who “make church together” at All Souls. And, of course if you see something missing or not quite right, or see something you’d like to join (!!) let me know, that’s part of the beauty of making this digital.
From the Associate for Music
Wouldn’t you like to be a Shaker, too?
I’m reminded of a TV ad campaign from the late ‘70s that promoted sales of their product, and more than that, the opportunity to become part of a unique, cool community. Several iterations of the TV commercial always began with the same set-up: A guy would start singing about how proud he was to drink Dr. Pepper. People around him would listen as he wound up his pitch: “I’m a Pepper, she’s a Pepper, he’s a Pepper, we’re a Pepper, wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too? Be a Pepper, drink Dr. Pepper.” By the end of the song an entire community would be gathered around him, dancing and singing the catchy little tune.
Fast forward 45 years: On January 15th our choir sang the offertory, “Ye followers of the Lamb,” a Shaker song filled with energy and joy. It echoed the message of John the Witness, “Behold the Lamb of God,” and the subsequent disciples hearing and following Jesus. One of the repeated lines in that piece, “I’m glad I am a Shaker,” made me think of that TV ad. While it might have sounded odd coming from a group of mostly Episcopalian Singers, the theme is clear: a joyful celebration of being one among many whose identity is tied to following the Lamb.
So here’s my spiel, not quite as cheesy as those 1978 commercials; but an invitation to consider taking part in the leadership of music in our worship. There are numerous ways you can participate:
The Choir – There are plenty of open seats in the choir, especially for tenors! We rehearse Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30PM. Singers choose to participate in one or both Sunday services. As we learn the music we experience the joy and “one-ing” that comes from singing regularly in a group. There is laughter, pastoral care and prayer permeating our time.
The Angel Band – offers music, both instrumental and vocal, largely drawing from folk and bluegrass traditions. Like others returning from “Covid Exile,” this group is looking to expand and share some of the great music of this country. If you like to sing this style of music, and/or play guitar, mandolin, banjo, string bass, maybe even percussion, I encourage you to be in touch!
Talent Bank – I know there are some of you here who might enjoy the opportunity to share your musical gifts in worship. I’d like to create a Talent Bank of interested individuals who’d be interested to do this on an ad hoc basis. This would be set to certain dates, rather than requiring a weekly time and rehearsal commitment.
Parish Chorus – We all lead busy lives, and may not have the time to attend regular rehearsals. Others may want to “dip their toes in the choral waters” before making some kind of commitment. I’d like to float the idea of a parish chorus that could meet several times to work on music leading up to a specific event, perhaps a major Feast.
While I don’t drink Dr. Pepper, (Diet Coke, please!) I’d like to invite you to “be a Pepper” and find a way to be involved in the music-making here at All Souls. If any of the above information grabs your attention, I encourage you to be in touch with me via email: email@example.com.
And please know how much I appreciate the song you raise from the pews each week: it’s a thrill and a delight to make music with you!
From the Vestry Nominating Committee
We write to share that we received no additional nominees for Vestry, and so the following All Soulsians will comprise the Vestry slate to be elected at the Annual Meeting on January 29th. We are delighted at the gifts they will bring to the Vestry and grateful for their willingness to serve All Souls in this way.
I am excited by the opportunity to join the All Souls Vestry where I hope to focus on growing our membership base. After many years singing in the choir, and recently serving on the search committee for a new music director, I feel called to deepen my commitment to the church. Specifically, I would like to better understand barriers to church participation and discover how we might broaden our reach, particularly to the socially isolated. I am an urban transportation planner by training, and currently work at BART, where I lead technology projects to improve the parking payment experience. My job responsibilities also include financial management, property management, contract negotiation, and market research and communications, skills that I believe will be of value to All Souls. I live just a few blocks from church with my husband Ray and two high-energy boys (Raphael, 10 and Phoenix, 11) whom you may have seen romping in the playground, or, in the case of Raphael, asking us all difficult questions during an Advent service. Thank you for considering me for this opportunity and I look forward to serving you all.
I moved to the Bay Area with my now husband over 5 years ago. After my first service at All Souls, it just felt like a place where I not only felt comfortable, but felt like the type of community where I could grow in my faith journey. After joining All Souls, my husband and I adopted our son, George who was baptized at All Souls on Christmas Day of 2021 which was really special for us. Since joining All Souls, I regularly met with the group leaders of Sacred Ground eventually leading to me joining the Racial Justice committee. I have partnered with other committee members to host various Racial Justice programs at All Souls. Last year, I gave a Good Friday reflection, and I participated in Project Sandwich in 2020 which helped to feed unhoused Berkeley citizens. Service in the church is how I grew up, my parents and I were very active in the church when I was growing up in Philadelphia, PA. So when I was approached about joining the Vestry, I sought counsel from my husband and my parents, and this felt like an evolution of another way to serve, so I would like to serve our parish through being an active member of the Vestry.
Hello, All Soulsians. My name is Grace Telcs, and I am grateful for the chance to serve for a second time on the Vestry at All Souls. This year I will have been at All Souls for twenty years, which is hard for me to believe. The Episcopal Church has always figured prominently in my life from serving as an acolyte and attending diocesan youth events as a kid, attending my college Canterbury group, participating in the Episcopal Service Corps as a young adult, to my vocation as a social worker at Episcopal Community Services. When I was new to the Bay Area, I was initially drawn to All Souls by hearing a strong call to social justice from the pulpit, but soon felt this community to be a surrogate family. Over the years I have had many roles in the parish, including chairing the Social Justice and Stewardship committees, participating in the search committee that called Phil to All Souls, serving as Senior Warden, and most recently ushering and teaching Sunday School. I live in Oakland with my husband, Scott, and two children, Peter (age 9), and Rose (age 12), both of whom were baptized here. I find the more I am involved in this community, the more thankful I am to be a part of it, and my faith deepens further. As a Vestry member, I hope to have a part in helping All Souls continue to be a meaningful place for all who are drawn here to feel the inclusive love of God and community.
In 2018, Maria (my wife), Addy (my daughter), and I moved to the East Bay. One Sunday morning, I snuck into the 7:00am service to test the waters. It took only a single service to realize that I had come home. I found a place where the questions one asked about one’s faith were far more important than the answers. Since that time, our family and our relationship with All Souls has grown. Henry (my son) and Addy have been baptized. Our favorite family traditions now include the Easter Vigil, the annual retreat at Bishop’s Ranch, the Advent Festival, and of course the newly minted All Souls Caroling Party (don’t miss this year!). But most important, All Souls has become a place for us to listen to stories filled with meaning and ask the yearning questions. Simply put, All Souls has become a gift in our lives. For this reason, I wish to serve on the Vestry in order to give back to our church family. When I am not asking questions, I’m usually skiing with Addy or watching the Minnesota Vikings with Henry. During the work week, I am an attorney representing Cities, Municipalities, and local governments throughout California.
From the Living Waters
Save the Dates
January 29, Annual Meeting (between the 9 & 11:15 services)
February 21, Mardi Gras
February 22, Ash Wednesday
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 (Meeting ID: 811 8105 6561. Passcode: 516358), or join them in-person in Phil’s old office, (now called the Shadrach Room).
- Dr. Scott MacDougall “Contending with Evil and Suffering” This three-session course will struggle with the realities of evil and suffering in a world made by a good and loving Creator who declares it to be “very good.” How can we reconcile all of this? We’ll look at some of the ways Christians have tried to do so over time and consider our own views of these questions, as well.
- January 22: Meaning. Revisiting some of the questions raised by the first two sessions, we’ll conclude by asked whether meaning can be made out of evil or suffering. If so, what sort of meaning? How can we live Christianly in the face of evil, suffering, and death?
This class will be offered in person and on zoom (click here for Zoom link).
- The Very Rev. Dr. Peggy Patterson “Seasons of Faith in Solitude” (offered in-person only) Are you ready to enter the Season of Epiphany exploring an unexpected blessing…the blessing of Solitude as we enter the third year of the Pandemic? This is the question a recent author, Elizabeth Orens, asked in the Christian Century. In this new year, this Season of Epiphany, how can we cultivate an inner spiritual life with God? How can we live into our own baptism as Jesus did, experience God’s guiding light as the Wise Ones did? And experience our own Epiphany,…opening our hearts to God’s deep presence within us? You are invited to join an Epiphany Community for three Sundays in January to explore the ways God is calling you anew ….
- January 22: As we follow Jesus into the desert after his Baptism during Epiphany, how does silence, Prayerful Solitude, and facing temptation help us to feel enfolded by God’s love? These Seasons of Solitude offer the quiet to experience the presence of God.
All three weeks will include various introductions and experiences of Prayer which might enrich your Seasons of Solitude: Centering Prayer, Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, The Evening Examen, Compline, Taize Chant, Prayer with Beads: The Anglican Rosary, Walking Meditation in the Labyrinth, Acts of Mercy, Reading the Mystics, especially Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen. We will even have our very own Bethlehem olive wood Anglican Rosaries to begin our Prayerful practice. Start the New Year with a Season of Prayerful Solitude.
Children, Youth, and Family News
Sunday School continues this Sunday, January 22nd at 10:10am with our four-week unit on music led by Toni Martinez Borgfeldt and Jenn Ying!
Youth Group Youth Group continues this Sunday at 7pm in the Parish Hall.
Confirm Not Conform continues this Sunday, January 22nd at 10:10am in Maggie’s office.
Faithful Families meets Thursday, January 26th from 5:30-7:30pm in their Parish Hall.
Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.
Other News & Notes
This year’s Annual Meeting is on January 29th between the 9 & 11:15 services in the Parish Hall. If you’re able, please bring some small snack (that can be eaten easily during the meeting) to share! The meeting will also be hosted on Zoom for those who cannot make it in person (click here to enter Zoom call).
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.
Spaghetti Again Mens’ Dinner
Join some of the men from this parish for a monthly dinner in the Parish Hall. January 30th at 6p. Please bring good appetites, a beverage to share, and ideas for meeting topics and format.
RSVP! (For non-French speaking friends, Let us Know if You’re Coming!) (LUKIYK) to Bob Cross, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, email@example.com.
Winter Talk from the Episcopal Indigenous Ministries
All Episcopalians are invited to register to watch a livestream of Winter Talk, an annual conference that honors and highlights Indigenous and Native American traditions and contributions within the church January 21-23. Hosted by the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, the event includes special greetings and speakers, music, presentations, and more. Watch for the Winter Talk schedule on the Indigenous Ministries webpage.
“Sacred Earth: Growing Beloved Community” webcast featuring Canticle Farm, Oakland
January 26, 2023, 7:00 PM
Click here for Zoom Registration
Anne and Terry Symens-Bucher, Co-Founders of Canticle Farm will be our featured guests in conversation with Bishop Marc Andrus and Dr. M. Paloma Pavel. Canticle Farm in Oakland is an urban garden, educational center, and community of intention experimenting at the intersections of faith-based, social-justice-based, and Earth-based nonviolent activism. As the founders acquired surrounding houses, they removed fences in the inner city, providing living spaces and work for activists, asylum seekers, recently incarcerated people, and many interested in community, justice, and farming to provide food for their neighbors. They are growing food and faith while growing Beloved Community.
As an urban farm, they work for food security, holistic health and food sovereignty through organic gardening, permaculture, herbal medicine and stewardship of their urban oasis. As an intentional community, they live in intergenerational, interracial, and interfaith relationship. As a living classroom, Canticle Farm hosts workshops, retreats, circles and visiting teachers, welcoming people from around the world to grow and learn together. Click here to see a video of Canticle Farm.
Anne and Terry were enthusiastically received as retreat leaders at the Clergy Retreat this past fall for the Episcopal Diocese of California. During the webcast, they will share a “Work That Reconnects” practice with us. Poet/Musician Lu Aya will also join us this evening. He uses music and poetry in the struggle for human rights and justice in Colombia, Sudan, Palestine, Afghanistan and the US. He performs at rallies and in streets, in hospitals and on stages, inside prisons and in front of precincts. Lu’s work is to sing truth to power.
To learn more about their work, please visit www.canticlefarmoakland.org.
More information is at the webcast website so check in to see information on this episode as well as view past episodes. Each episode of the Sacred Earth series offers information, inspiration, spiritual practices, and resources for action.