From the Rector
Today is the twelfth and last day of Christmas. In our home that means that the Magi are rounding the bend towards the Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, and it means that soon that decorations will come down as the festal season to celebrate the Incarnation has finally come to a close. And, it means that tomorrow is one of my favorite feasts, the Feast of the Epiphany.
The Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th, (it’s really one day, as the season that follows is the season after the Epiphany and is an “ordinary” time of the Church’s calendar) celebrates the arrival of the Magi (the ancient word from which we get our word magic) in Bethlehem. These wise astrologers from the East (were there 3? 7? 19? Matthew doesn’t give us a number) had seen an unusual light in the night sky and followed the celestial light to Judea. After checking in with the local authorities and learning that a long-expected ruler was to be born in Bethlehem, they followed the star to the house where they found Mary and Jesus.
Over the centuries we have come to celebrate this day as a Feast of Light, as the light of a star (or a comet?) led those Magi (some have posited that they were Zoroastrians) to the Christ Child. It comes at a time of year when the sunlit hours are the shortest, and at a time when we are turning to a new year.
And it has had me wondering about light and what it does to plants and people. Several years ago Caroline McCall (an All Soulsian currently serving the Diocese of Spokane) introduced us to the idea of heliotropism in communities. Originating in the world of biology, heliotropism describes the way that plants grow or turn towards light. Caroline often uses it as a way to understand how people or groups of people turn and grow over time. She has found that the groups often grow where collective attention is being paid, or in other words, where the light is being cast. The ways we spend our days are the ways we live our life.
What does that mean for us as we start a new year? How would you begin again if you considered that the growth or change in your life, in our lives, was contingent on how you cast light, through all the ways you give your attention? My sense is that we cast light with what we read and watch, who we eat with, how we spend our money, what we praise, how we withhold, when we forgive, where we stand.
Leadership teams at All Souls are going to be doing this work over the next month. As a staff we are considering where we need to pay our attention––how we can help areas grow and flourish. Over the first weekend in February our Vestry (the primary leadership body of the parish) will be on retreat discerning where best to place their attention and the attention of the various ministries of the parish.
As we come to the Feast of the Wise Ones this year, consider again how you might change where light is being cast in your life. Choose one or two specific areas where change would be beneficial. Pay attention and see what begins to grow towards the light.
From Family Ministry
2023: The Year of Faithful Families
Even before I learned (2 days ago) what heliotropism means (see Phil’s article above), the Children’s Ministry Team and I had already been evaluating the first half of this program year with the same attention to following the light or the energy of our ministries. We paid special attention to our Family Ministry offerings, and one thing became clear to us immediately. Some of the offerings we started in the Covid-emergence era (2021-early 2022) have served their purpose and are no longer needed, while another is gathering steam: Faithful Families. So, that’s where we’re focusing our energy and attention this winter and spring.
If you don’t know what Faithful Families is, it’s a week-night dinner, formation and worship designed for families with school-age children. Basically, a family arrives at church between 5:30 and 6pm for dinner (provided by All Souls and/or volunteers!), after dinner we have some time for intergenerational Christian formation, and we end the evening with a short prayer service in the chapel. Past formation topics have been names and attributes of God, Labyrinths, and music.
Apart from the obvious (dinner prepared and cleaned up by someone else,) Faithful Families offers families a chance to connect over a theme or topic of Christian practice, a chance to break bread with other All Souls Families, a moment of contemplative prayer in an otherwise hectic and possibly overwhelming week.
So this Spring (Jan-June) we will offer Faithful Families on the last Thursday of each month. (Conveniently scheduled when the groceries start to run low in the fridge and the idea of coming up with another dinner idea just might send parents over the edge.)
One of the blessings of community is that on those days when all we can do is show up, we’ll find that that’s enough. Doing life together doesn’t take extraordinary effort. It just takes showing up with our whole selves and being open to receiving others who do the same.
So, come do life with us. Break bread with us, talk about God with us, sing and pray with us.
Faithful Families: January 26, February 23, March 30, April 27, May 25 and June 29 from 5:30-7:30pm.
Save the Dates
January 29, Annual Meeting (between the 9 & 11:15 services)
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 8: Evil. What is evil? Where does it come from? How does facing the reality of evil affect Christian faith and life?
- January 15: Suffering. Why is there suffering? How are suffering, sin, and death connected, if they are connected? Why would a good God allow suffering? What does Jesus’ suffering on the cross say to us about the role of suffering in Christian discipleship?
- 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 8: What is Solitude? How is it different from loneliness, isolation, despair? How do you experience being alone? Hear from two parishioners ( Tom Varghese and Elena Ramirez) who will share their Spiritual Journeys with God and their search for Faith through Seasons of Solitude.
- January 15: Most of us live alone at some time in our lives. How are our spiritual longings affected by our Seasons of Solitude, especially deep grief, divorce, empty nesting, health crises, loss of a child? In these times, how can we cultivate an inner spiritual life with God, inviting God to be our companion on our most difficult journeys.
- 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 resumes this Sunday, January 8th at 10:10am with a four-week unit on music led by Toni Martinez Borgfeldt and Jenn Ying!
Youth Group resumes this Sunday, January 8th at 7:00pm in the Parish Hall.
Confirm Not Conform resumes this Sunday, January 8th 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
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.
Can we still reach you at the address and email listed in the church directory? If the answer is no, it is time for a refresh! Or has your family changed a bit since your last picture in the directory? If so, please send your updated photos and info to Mardie Becker at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or just fill out this form (which goes directly to Cathy).
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.
Ladies Lunch, January 12th
All women are invited to the launch of the monthly pot-luck lunch Thursday, January 12 – noon in the Parish Hall. Bring one of your favorite lunch dishes or a beverage to share. We look forward to seeing you and getting this new opportunity going. Access to Parish Hall: take the breezeway near the chapel door and go to the doorway across from the labyrinth, ring the doorbell marked ‘Parish Hall’ and someone will let you in.