From the Interim Rector

Callings: Old and New

Beloved in Christ,

It is good to be with you finally. I started officially on Monday with some emails and study time. Tuesday, I met with your most excellent staff and your amazing wardens, and Wednesday I ‘led’ worship at All Souls for the first time as we commemorated the Righteous Gentiles of World War II.

The Righteous Gentiles, as you may know, are folks who helped save Jews during the Holocaust. As I pondered their stories (you can go to this page and click on any number of them) I was moved not only by their courage and generosity, but also by their creativity. I was reminded of our vocation to be anti-racists: allies called to actively oppose racism and to support, defend, and advocate for those whose welfare, security, well-being, and even mortality is under siege by “the way things are.” The work isn’t new, but it has become clearer that this is our work to do in our time and place.

Perhaps the work that is set before us isn’t physically dangerous (although it might be, e.g., Jonathan Daniels) but it requires the courage, creativity and imagination of the Righteous Gentiles. as well as their  physical, emotional and spiritual strength to overcome the inertia, desolation, and not-knowing what to do. There is no how-to list, and sometimes the recommendations appear to cancel out, so we listen – to one another, to the people we are called to serve, to God. It probably doesn’t need to be said that it begins with knowing ourselves and opening to God’s transforming Grace. For that I look forward to joining you in Sacred Ground  to be trained for this journey.

Meanwhile . . .

The way I usually begin a new call is to meet and greet parishioners in whatever way I can: over coffee, tea, a walk in the park, or glass of wine at the end of the day. These conversations help me get to know folks (and maybe remember names.) Clearly that can’t happen physically now as much as we might like it. However, I have come up with a way to get to know at least some of you – and to learn how you fit together as a parish. 

Here’s my idea: I will invite folks I’ve already met to conversations over Zoom, FaceTime, or telephone, and then I’ll ask them to invite someone to join us on a second call. Then, that second person will invite someone to join us on a third call, and so on.  This way I will not only meet folks, but I might be able to track some connections as well as some special interests. Besides, it may be more fun than plain old cold calls. If you want you can choose to initiate a chain (or a simple contact) yourself.  Go for it. I suspect my calendar will fill up after a couple weeks and it will be harder to make this happen, but for now I’m looking forward to some good conversations. Probably best to set this up with an email, so I can be sure to be present with you.



Deacon’s Corner

Gratitude, Abundance, and Persistence

Friends, it seems like about a million years since March. In that time our whole world has been transformed. I, also, have been transformed by witnessing the generosity of All Soulsians and St. Albanites through Project Sandwich and the other work we have done here at All Souls to support our neighbors who are struggling in this pandemic. It has been nothing short of heroic and I am grateful to the many people who have pitched in.

Now we are at an interesting moment. We have done a ton of work, and we need to manage our resources well to be able to continue. We have, along the way, asked for donations of bikes and masks. Many have been delivered, and many are still coming! We have also received offers of donations outside of the things we have requested, and although these donations could be very useful, we have had to turn a number of them down. I simply do not have the capacity to figure out how we might creatively use these donations or search for the right home for them. Part of my personal learning in the pandemic has been that I need to recognize the limits of my energy and ability, and get stronger about inviting other people into ministry opportunities.

So I’m inviting you! Let’s make sure that this abundance is helpful to the most people possible. I’m looking for a team of 2-3 people to coordinate donations, including bikes, masks, and the other awesome offers we get, to our homeless neighbors. As needs come up, this could also involve putting out new calls for additional items and coordinating donations. This could be really fun: it takes creativity and persistence to connect the right resources with the right folks. I think it could also be really rewarding, as you will not only get resources to folks who need them, you will also help those of us working on Project Sandwich be able to focus on the core work of offering meals. You can anticipate 2-4 hours of work each week.

You can reach me at

Thank you!

Deacon Dani

P.S.: Project Sandwich is also looking for a pickup and delivery driver on Fridays. Is that you? Let me know!

On Regathering For Worship

These past months have highlighted the strength of All Souls as a community of faith,  and how much we care for one another, while it is clear how much we miss each other and yearn to worship face-to-face and not through a screen. However, given the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Alameda and surrounding counties, regathering in person for worship unfortunately will still not happen in the coming weeks.

Nonetheless, the Regathering Task Force continues its work, developing plans for eventual in-person regathering. The group is comprised of All Souls staff (Fr. Phil, Emily Hansen-Curran, Whitney Wilson, Jamie Apgar and Annie Rovzar) and parishioners Dr. Cynthia Li, Jeannie Koops-Elson, Sarah Bakker Kellogg, Molly Nicol, the Rev. Ruth Meyers, Renae Breitenstein (head of Ushers) and Ray Concepción (head of Sacristans) and Toni Martinez-Borgfeldt (Junior Warden).

As you may know, in mid-June Alameda County allowed for the reopening of additional services and businesses, including limited religious services, but this week more restrictions have been put in place, as the county is now on the state’s monitoring list. While the state of California released guidelines allowing for gatherings of 100 people or 25% building capacity (whichever is lower), Alameda County strongly recommends gatherings of no more than 25 people and, as of today, holding outdoor services only.

Concurrently, last month the Diocese of California also released guidelines and a plan template for congregations who want to regather when allowed by their county and city, which differ geographically across the Diocese.

With these sets of parameters, the task force developed -and continues working on – a plan for a first-phase for regathering for worship. This first phase considers holding one Sunday outdoor service in the courtyard, while continuing the indoor live-streamed service. In this plan, parishioners who want to attend a Sunday service would need to sign-up in advance, and choose one monthly service as a start, in order to allow for more people to attend. Parishioners would be required to bring their own chairs, which would be placed in family groups maintaining safe distancing, do symptom and temperature-checking before entering, wear face-masks for the entire time of the service, among the most important measures. This plan aims to be implemented only when Alameda County moves to the next stage, considering safe to hold gatherings of up to 50 people.   

While the task force continues discussing logistics and protocols, our main focus is on addressing the way in which these services can be not only safe and sustainable, but also meaningful and holy. We have had long conversations about the needs of parishioners for whom the live-streamed services are challenging, for example families with children, leading to broader conversations on how we can continue being church during this pandemic, and addressing the pastoral and sacramental needs of all our parishioners.  With this in mind, we are also working on medium and long-term plans for worshiping inside our sanctuary, as the length and development of this pandemic is unknown.

Additionally, we continue participating in biweekly meetings between faith-based organizations and Alameda County health officials, where we receive updates on local COVID-19 indicators, and answers to specific questions about regathering in our worship spaces.

So, dear Allsoulsians, hang tight and continue praying. Our staff and parishioners have the safety and wellbeing of all of us at the forefront of all measures and decisions moving forward.

In Christ,

Tonantzin Martinez-Borgfeldt, Junior Warden

Being Called By Name

I recently read the following story in a Godly Play email I received, and it has stayed with me for several weeks:

Seemingly out of nowhere, he turned and said, “Mama, you know the ordinary shepherd? From the story?”

“I do.”

“Well, he wasn’t bad you know. He just. . . he just wasn’t very good at his job. At being a shepherd.”

“Hmmm, I wonder what he could have done better?”

Immediately, he responded, “Call the sheep by name!” After a few minutes of silence, I asked him if there was anything else the ordinary shepherd could have done differently. In a tone that clearly suggested I should be able to figure this part out for myself he said, “Ask the Good Shepherd for help.”

Many of you are quite familiar with the image and story of the Good Shepherd.  We have an icon of the Good Shepherd hanging above the altar table and many have heard Psalm 23 many times.  The parable of the Good Shepherd (Mathew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:1-7) is one of the foundational Godly Play stories that is told often in our Godly Play classes and has been used in sermons and other adult formation.  But this little story brought back the parable to me in a whole new way.  As Phil mentioned in his sermon last Sunday, “Parables are a way to see truths previously unseen and unheard.”  That is exactly what happened to me with this clear view from a child.

Being called by name is a powerful experience.  It is part of our baptismal liturgy, our burial liturgy, confirmation, and marriage.  Being called by name is a rallying cry in the Black Lives Matter movement.  I believe it is a recognition of our humanity.  A recognition of a child of God. 

I invite you to join me this Sunday, July 19th for our next All Souls “After Hours” (via Live stream right after the 10:30am worship service) as we journey with the Good Shepherd.  What can we as ordinary shepherds learn?  How can we call the sheep by name?  How are we called to ask the Good Shepherd for help?  I wonder…

– Whitney Wilson


Live Streaming News

The live stream of Sunday services can now be accessed through our website (rather than simply on Facebook)! Click here to watch on Sunday morning. 

Reminder About Phishing Scams

Several All Soulsians received emails Thursday from an email address pretending to be Fr. Phil. Remember, Phil will never use email to ask you to send money or gift cards to him nor will he ask you to purchase gift cards for anyone else. No matter how believable or realistic the email seems, protect yourself from scams and do not respond to the request.

Adult Formation Class

The Summer Book Group takes a break on Sunday, July 19.

Sunday, July 26, at 9:15 we start Wendell Berry’s WATCH WITH ME with Jack Shoemaker’s overview and a guided discussion of the six linked short stories with which the tale begins. This book is only 208 pp in its entirety, and the stories provide a quick, comic, even romping read.

Children & Family News

We will be doing a children’s chapel program this Sunday at 9:30am via Zoom. It should last about 30 minutes. Please email Whitney Wilson for a link so your family can participate. We are hoping that this will give the kids a time together for their own “church” and a time to see their friends as well. Please email Whitney Wilson at if you want a Zoom invite or have any questions. 

If you are looking for some current information regarding Children’s Chapel or the upcoming Kids Book Club – check out the new additions to the All Souls website. The All Souls Website has been updated to include some new information and resources(including the links for all the storybook videos) for families.  Here is the link:

All Souls After Hours

As she described in her Pathfinder article, this week Whitney Wilson will be leading us in an exploration of the parable of the Good Shepherd. You can find the link to join her on the “Streaming Services” page on Sunday morning or head to our Facebook page to find the live stream just after our Sunday service. 

Correction on Jordan Court Timeline

The Parish House demolition will go forward as Mary Rees described in her Pathfinder article last week, BUT it is likely to start a week or two later. Expect to see the project start August 10th or 17th rather than the 3rd.  

Evening Prayer via Zoom

Here is the link for the Thursday night BCP Compline For safety, the password needed to join the call is 329903

All Souls Geek Squad

If you’re having any trouble with technology during this time of tech-only contact with others, we want to help! On the homepage of our website is a box with the words “Technical Help”. Click on that box and you will be taken to a form that you can fill out. Once you fill that out, we’ll have someone get in touch with you to help with your tech problems. You can also click here to access the form directly. 


The Soulcast is taking a break this week. Emily will be back next week with more announcements and special guests!

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.

Wednesday 9am Service

Join the Zoom call here:

Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218

Survey Says… We Long Hear and Raise Our Voices in Song

The thing we are most looking forward to when we can finally gather together in person?  Yes, hugs, the sense of people physically around us, and seeing Phil, but resoundingly it is hearing our voices together in song.  Hearing our voices entwined is not only beautiful and unifying, but I think also gives us a sense of the strength that we have together.

––Liz Lynch

Question: What are you most looking forward to when we can come together again in person?

Full Results:

  • Singing together
  • Involving my child in worship
  • Being able to look into one another’s eyes, even if we can’t hug yet.
  • Community
  • interchanges with actual humans
  • singing! (whenever its safe)
  • Sunday workshop + Emmaus groups in person
  • Renewal of the 7:30 service.
  • EUCHARIST!!!! And celebrating together. I miss that 7:30 morning mass with all my heart.
  • Meeting new people–hard to get to know folks over the internet.
  • seeing those who I have connected with
  • Special social events (retreat, camping trip), just worshiping together in one space together again
  • Singing with the choir
  • Choir someday. Participating in live music someday
  • Not sure
  • seeing and talking with parishioners and visitors, choir, sitting in a pew, not my computer chair
  • The service, all of it, community and clergy in the flesh, Eucharist (eventually), Wed. chapel.
  • Worship and hugs!
  • all the intangibles around being in the physical presence of others
  • Wednesday service
  • in person services
  • Seeing my fellow All Soulsians in person rather than just virtually.
  • Being with people, hearing all those voices again.
  • I am not in Berkeley, so this is (sadly) not possible.
  • Eventually being able to smile /hug each other
  • Holy Communion with my community
  • In person direct personal conversations
  • While we 7:30 folks are still seeing each other on Zoom, I look forward to our meeting in person, whether in the Chapel, or perhaps upstairs (where, some of them don’t go very often.) There are people we don’t see in our Zoom meetings that we do not see, John and Charli, Ray and Dan, Malcolm, Charles, Martin, Linda, and several more, who might return if we had the opportunity for the 7:30 session in the main church.
  • Seeing community members who are outside my friend or connection group but feel like part of my village family
  • People
  • Being in church instead of at my breakfast table surrounded by distractions
  • Having normal social interactions that are not online
  • Communion
  • Singing together!
  • Worshipping as a community
  • Seeing EVERYONE’S faces and receiving Eucharist
  • Seeing people and singing together
  • Sharing the Eucharist -singing together
  • Hugs, easy conversation, the energy of people together
  • The presence of people.. the community.
  • Way in the future….hugs; watching everyone go up to receive.
  • The church full of people who are happy to be back
  • Just seeing multiple people in person
  • Singing together
  • The sense of Spirit Force of being in the physical of others
  • Being with others
  • Communion friends and the people of ASP
  • Sitting in church and singing in choir.
  • Music and friends.
  • Seeing people in the flesh, connecting without the lag time of cyber-space
  • my friends’ faces
  • Hugs, serving on Sundays, taking the Eucharist to homebound members and EFM
  • Eucharist
  • Being able to travel to you to share service
  • Singing. The liturgy. The Eucharist.
  • Physical together
  • Community
  • Seeing people’s faces
  • Geez it feels so far away. Probably being in the parish hall with a bunch of people for a celebration.
  • Singing in the choir. (Not happening I know.)
  • Having the downbeat each week of resetting, finding God in community and reflecting on my work and ways in the world.
  • Seeing friends face-to-face
  • Seeing everyone in person, singing with and (hopefully eventually) being able to hug people again
  • Finally meeting other parishioners
  • Hugs, getting caught up with folks
  • Everyone joyously together
  • Communion, seeing the beloveds I miss, song
  • Seeing friends
  • Community worship and Eucharist
  • Being able to see everyone again; more distantly, the Eucharist.
  • in-person contact with friends, music
  • Sunday services and Bible study
  • Coming to church for Eucharist. Sad to be excluded by age rather than personal assessment of risk.
  • seeing people in person
  • Seeing one another, confirming we are healthy and growing in compassion
  • Being together, seeing faces, feeling energy
  • group singing, if even possible
  • Seeing other people and children
  • Seeing everyone
  • Being together in worship
  • being in community
  • The feel of embodied presences
  • Returning to the little chapel and the folks at 7:30 service
  • making eucharist together
  • Seeing and talking with people who I don’t see (on zoom calls) or correspond with regularly
  • Holidays
  • Seeing and being seen by others, enjoying the happenstance conversation
  • hugs, Phil, Emily
  • Individual Prayers aloud from the congregation
  • Personal connections
  • Singing
  • Communion, hugs
  • Looking into people’s eyes
  • shaking hands, hugs with fellow parishioners
  • Physical proximity, loving presence, communion
  • Sunday service
  • just being in worship together with others
  • Fellowship
  • peace and communion
  • Making Eucharist together
  • Singing and praying together
  • the community of people
  • live interaction w friends, parishioners
  • Meeting more people
  • Worshipping with people and post service conversations
  • Being in each other’s presence!
  • Being in that sacred space of the sanctuary, breathing the same air together and touching each other and hugs And hearing the full voice is adding to the music
  • It’s going to be a while. I’m not up to thinking about that yet.
  • Sharing in the Eucharist, greeting
  • Sharing the same space with others and physically taking the sacrament.
  • Hearing everyone’s voices together in prayers and songs
  • Coffee hour
  • Being in that sacred space of the sanctuary, breathing the same air together and touching each other and hugs And hearing the full voice is adding to the music
  • kids playing together, eating together, receiving eucharist
  • Personal connections
  • Worshipping with people and post service conversations
  • creating deeper connections with people of the congregation, learning more about ASP, adult formation classes,
  • Being in that sacred space of the sanctuary, breathing the same air together and touching each other and hugs And hearing the full voice is adding to the music