FROM THE RECTOR
As you may have read in this space last month, I recently was a trainer at the College for Congregational Development in the Diocese of Olympia (Western Washington). The College (or CCD) is part of a movement in the Episcopal Church to create and re-create “more faithful, healthy, and effective communities of faith.” We have been a part of this movement at All Souls for the past four years, as participants as well as trainers, and were active in bringing the work of the College to California. (as of this writing six All Soulsians have been trainers or will begin training very soon) In June Emily Hansen Curran, Madeline Feeley, and Marguerite Judson took part in the first week of training at the Bishop’s Ranch. And next week Caroline McCall and our Associate Rector Liz Tichenor will be in Rochester, NY to train teams from congregations of various sizes, shapes and contexts.
Every time I take part in a week of this kind of learning and formation, and I look through them at the life of All Souls Parish, I find myself re-invigorated by these tools and lenses all over again. Each time, they reveal an aspect of our common life that bears exploration.
One of the elements that has resonated with me this past month is the belief that one of the core tenets of a healthy organization is transparency. The word comes to us from medieval Latin, as
trans (through) + parene (to appear)
So when someone or something is transparent, you can see through it, their sense of being shines forth. In people, you know it when what they present to you actually seems to be true for who they really are. For organizations, it is experienced when the actions that a group takes are consistent with their values, and that the path to decision-making and the decisions themselves are clearly communicated. My experience is that as transparency increases, so does trust, the lifeblood of any community.
My sense of the culture and practices of All Souls is that we don’t obscure who we are, what we believe, or how we live. However, we can be more regular in sharing our essential information more widely, and be more pro-active in communicating the directions we’ve discerned, the decisions we’ve made and how we have made them. This transparency extends from our music selection to our budgeting process to our Parish House Project. I see this exercise of transparency as one more way that “we make church together.”
So last night at our Vestry meeting I shared this goal of increased transparency. In the weeks and months to come, look for these practices: quarterly reports from our Treasurer, with information about the giving and participation patterns of our parish, monthly reports from our Wardens about the conversations at that month’s Vestry meeting––the decisions made, and the directions taken––as well as regular reports and fora about the project to redevelop our Parish House. And, as other ideas and possibilities come to heart and mind for you, please share them with members of the staff, Vestry, and me.
In all, as we continue along this path of faith, shine on.
From the Kickball Field
This spring was the second season that All Souls fielded a kickball team in the Albany Kickball League. Below, enjoy reflections from one of our MVPs.
It’s game 7 in the World Series of Kickball. The score is tied in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 outs. The undefeated “Ball Souls” kickball team is at the plate. After a spectacular rally late in the game, it all comes down to this kick. The players are restless in the dugout with their dreams of a championship within reach. The cheers from the crowd and the blowing vuvuzelas create a deafening roar that fills the air and draws an even larger crowd. David winds up for the kick. He makes solid contact on the ball and it soars deep to center field. The outfielder reaches the warning track and leaps into the air as the ball flies past his head and over the outfield fence. HOME RUN! Ball Souls wins the championship and the crowd goes wild. It’s a spectacular display as fans rush the field to celebrate the greatest display of athleticism in the history of kickball.
Well, maybe that’s not exactly how the season transpired…
After a season plagued by injuries including broken ribs, slipped disks, torn shoulders, pulled muscles, dislocated joints, and sprained ankles, team spirits were still high going into the final game of the season. While the All Souls Parish kickball team may not have been the most practiced, coordinated, or athletic team in the league, they sure had the most fun at games. We played through the injuries not for the legacy, but for the love of the game. Even if an inning didn’t go as planned, there was always a cold beer waiting for you in the dugout along with tacos and tomfoolery after the game. We ended our season this year just as we were finding our rhythm as a team. Next season is when we take the championship! We hope you can be a part of it.
– Will Meinberg
Visions of Big Sur
Around fifty All Soulsians trekked down to the Santa Lucia campground in Big Sur last weekend for our annual parish camping trip. Here’s a look into some of the fun had and the majesty encountered.
From the Junior Warden
You may have noticed by now that there are new chairs in the Parish Hall. Interestingly, they look a lot like the previous ones, though in blue. Coincidence? Well, there is a little more to this than merely a marketplace transaction that, yes, even places of worship have to engage in. Of course there was research into cost and function; a committee worked for weeks, proceeding through proper channels at all times, back and forth with your Vestry. As a part of that committee, I thought about a time at All Souls when we were constantly unfolding very heavy tables, many of which were shedding splinters (that got in the way of appreciating the purpose of hospitality the tables were supposed to be serving), and unfolding dozens of metal chairs, the kind that refuse to stand upright when they’re stacked in their corners and make a deafening clatter when they slide to the floor. Good times.
Underneath the clamor and cost of the remodeling of the church (2002-2003) a small group of parishioners, still among us but preferring anonymity, were quietly shepherding the acquisition of banquet chairs and the state of the art tables we currently offer the congregation weekly and the wider public at our Open Door Dinners. It took weeks of research into cost and function back and forth with our Vestry (wait, did I already talk about that…) But back then, and this is significant, the tables and chairs were a gift; there was no money for what many considered frills under financial constraints. The tables are as rewarding today as they were those many years ago. Unfortunately, nature and the brilliant sunlight we enjoy degraded the fabric of the chairs before blinds were installed to protect the stacks against the south wall of the Parish Hall. Over time, we were able to see exactly what the chairs were made of, and studies into reupholstering revealed a cost twice as high as purchasing new chairs.
Selecting blue to replace burgundy creates more uniformity when chairs are moved into the church to supplement high attendance services such as Christmas and Easter. But the burgundy chairs… where are they now? One of the jobs the committee was tasked with (when reupholstery proved too expensive) was finding good homes for the chairs, disposing of none in landfill. Mission accomplished! One dozen chairs now serve the staff room at Albany Middle School, and the rest “uphold” if you will, the worshippers at Empowerment Cathedral Church in Oakland. Witnessing the convoy of cars and congregants loading up these chairs to bring them to their church’s new building was inspiring, to say the least.
The first week of July was when this “seamless” transition took place – chairs hauled, pews and tables moved out, floor refurbished, new chairs delivered, unwrapped (every dang leg of every dang chair), hauled into the Parish Hall, pews and tables returned. I’m sure to many the transition was seamless, but there were several moving parts (which here means parishioners giving of their time and strength) at work over the week’s time, and to them, please offer up your thanks. We have angels among us, and when we are in need of help, we need but ask.
Stay tuned… twelve matching stackable armchairs will arrive by summer’s end.
– Maggie Cooke
All Souls at the A’s
We will be hosting our annual night at the Oakland A’s game on Saturday, August 12th. The game starts at 6:05 PM, and we will meet in the parking lot at 4:00 pm to tailgate. Tickets are $25 each, and we need to have our head count by July 29th. Please make all inquiries/payments to Andrew Lisa, Phone: (925) 325-6117 Email: email@example.com.
Services of Resurrection for the Rev. Canon Stefani Schatz
A Service of Resurrection for Stefani Schatz, our beloved Canon to the Ordinary, will be held on Saturday August 12th at 10:00 am at Grace Cathedral. Stefani died Wednesday, July 12th after a fourteen-month struggle with cancer. You can read her obituary here.
Instead of flowers, contributions “In Memory of Stefani Schatz” may be made to St Margaret’s Visiting Professorship of Women in Ministry at California at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
The address is:
2451 Ridge Road Berkeley, CA 94709
Attn: Advancement Department
If you have any questions, please email DioCal’s Working Group Head for Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HIGH SCHOOL OVERNIGHT CAMPING TRIP
COFFEE HOUR FOOD
As announced a few weeks back, we have new Hospitality chairs – Beth and Will. They need help with Coffee Hour this summer, and you can help! Please sign up online here or on the clipboard in the Narthex to bring food to share during Coffee Hour. This time on Sundays is a great way to build community and an easy way to get involved here at All Souls. Good food always welcome!
CONNECT ON FACEBOOK
PARTICIPATING IN WORSHIP
If you are interested in getting involved at All Souls by serving during the Eucharist as a chalice bearer, usher, greeter, sound tech, or interested in doing one of the readings on a Sunday, please contact Emily Hansen Curran to ask questions or go through a training. More help is always needed!
SIGN ON CEDAR
Curious to know what that sign out on the Cedar side of the church is about? Each week the prompt on the chalkboard is changed in response to that Sunday’s sermon. If you are interested in submitting a proposal for a new banner of advocacy, please fill out the Triptych Proposal Form found on the website. You can also follow the sign on Twitter @SignOnCedar to see what the community and neighbors are saying in response to the aying in response to the weekly prompts. If you’re interested in helping out with this outreach to the community, contact Emily Hansen Curran.
INTERFAITH IMMIGRATION VIGIL
Join us this Saturday, August 5th at 11:00 am at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond (5555 Giant Highway) for the monthly interfaith immigration vigil. We’ll gather with song, prayer, sacred story, and make our presence known as loudly as we can for our sisters and brothers being detained. Contact Margaret Sparks for carpooling information.