From the Rector
(Re)Cycles of Life
About twenty years ago the Rev. Alice Mann wrote a slim, potent book called, “Can Our Church Live: Redeveloping Congregations in Decline.” In it she reimagined a way of understanding the life of an organization, around a cycle of life. And as part of describing the reliable patterns of birth, life, and death, she also offered ways that organizations can redevelop––that the death of an organization is not inevitable.
Over my years as a parish priest (and really, as a human), I have found this lens of communal life to be one of the more intuitive and hopeful lenses through which to see the life of a Christian community. It can help a group understand where they are and then assess the kind of energy, resources, and intention that will be needed to reform.
As we re-emerge from the intensity of the last two years, we are finding that the landscape around us that previously existed has changed significantly. This has been true in many parts of our common lives, and especially so at All Souls. The patterns and practices that we relied on are no longer as reliable, and so we are using Alice Mann’s lens in our work as a Vestry, Staff, and with our ministry teams so that we can both assess where we are in our various ministries and see how we might be able to reimagine and redevelop them.
There’s more here in this model than one Pathfinder article can hold, so I’d just like to pay attention to one critical element of this cycle: formation, and its sibling re-formation. Mann teaches that whenever a new Christian community (congregation, ministry team, small group, etc) comes into existence it has to answer three basic questions:
Who are we, as followers of Christ?
What are we here for?
Who is my neighbor, and how are we related to them?
Once the group has been able to answer these questions they are more likely to be able to move into a place of health and stability. If they aren’t able to answer these questions then it is unlikely that they will continue to exist, either because of a lack of identity, clarity of purpose, or engagement with the world around them.
It has come clear to me that we are in a time of re-formation. It’s not that what we had or who we were will be unrecognizable. But we have changed, significantly, and so now it’s time for us to ask those elemental questions once more. My guess is that the discernment of those answers may be uncomfortable, as we realize that the new environment of which we are a part has shifted without our permission. But I trust that we will also find the Spirit there, ever ahead, promising life anew.
From the Diggers
Quietly, oh so quietly, behind the All Souls Scenes, a few dedicated parishioners have been toiling at the tasks necessary to move out of the Parish House, to move into Jordan Court, and to clean up the offices and spaces downstairs. Workers include Jill Churchman, Ann Cockle, Diane Haavik, Renee Breitenstein, Margaret Sparks, Toni Borgfeldt, Suzanne Nelson, Jeanne Koops, and me. And on more than one occasion, Margaret Sparks provided a delicious lunch for the weary workers.
First, we moved out of the old Parish House— removing, recycling, saving or selling the multitudinous items stored there. Woah! What a task! The group became known as the “Diggers” during this time and were occasionally assisted by John Love when carpentry was involved or Martín Ortega if electricity was involved.
Then we cleaned up the library, discarding or recycling books that could no longer fit on the shelves. Come on down to see it now and borrow a book!
We moved the music library from the Parish House to the undercroft, then back again to Jaime’s new office at Jordan Court. The music you hear during worship comes from this extensive library which fills an entire wall in Jamie’s office.
Over a few weeks we moved out of the old offices—Phil’s, Annie’s, Maggie’s, Emily’s, and the Copy Room—and into the new offices. One day we calculated the average age of the women working was somewhere in the 80’s!!! But box by box, we moved into the Jordan Court offices.
The art team cleaned up their storeroom in the Crow’s Nest. White Doves, and Flames of Ribbons, and Stations of the Cross, and so many other items that adorn the liturgical seasons are stored in this room.
We cleaned up the Utility Room, the electrical heart of the church. We’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, much to the dismay of the Berkeley Fire Marshall, the Utility Room had become a crowded storeroom.
We cleaned up the Boiler room.
Then, the Great Switcharoo:
(1.) Move the remaining Copy Room items to Annie’s old office
(2.) Move the Archives from the Archive Room to the old Copy Room,
(3.) Move the stored items from the Utility and Boiler Rooms to the old Archives Room—
We have an accessible Library
A new dedicated Maintenance Storeroom.
A new and improved Archives Room.
A new “ Education Office” downstairs in Annie’s old office.
A spotless Boiler Room.
And a tidy Art Room
While a few minor clean-up tasks remain, we have completed the Lion’s share of the work.
A great big THANK YOU to all who helped. And the woman with the most Jewels in her Crown—the person who attended every single workday and worked many days alone—apropos to her name— Jill Churchman! Please give her a special thank you when you see her.
From the Episcopal Church
This week began the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Our own Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers is a part of the Diocese of California’s delegation.
What is General Convention?
The General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church. Every three years it meets as a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, composed of deputies and bishops from each diocese.
The Executive Council serves as the governing body of The Episcopal Church between sessions of General Convention, charged specifically with executing the program and policies adopted by Convention (Canon IV.1.a). They also serve as the board for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (commonly referred to as the DFMS) (Canon III, Article II) and the Executive Office of the General Convention (Canon IV.1.a). The DFMS is the corporate entity of The Episcopal Church (Canon I.1.3). This structure encompasses the Office of the Presiding Bishop and their staff, the President of the House of Deputies and their staff, and the Executive Office of the General Convention as well as the offices of the DFMS that are shared by all three.
The General Convention also includes Interim Bodies which meet between the triennial sessions to accomplish ongoing work and tasks set in the triennial sessions.
What happens at General Convention?
The legislative process of General Convention is an expression of The Episcopal Church’s belief that, under God, the Church is ordered and governed by its people: laity, deacons, priests, and bishops.
The General Convention is the Church’s highest temporal authority. As such, it has the power to amend the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church; to amend the Book of Common Prayer and to authorize other liturgical texts; to adopt the budget for the Church; to create covenants and official relationships with other branches of the Church; to determine requirements for its clergy and other leaders; to elect its officers, members of the Executive Council, and certain other groups; to delegate responsibilities to the Interim Bodies of The Episcopal Church; and to carry out various other responsibilities and authority.
How is General Convention organized?
There are two legislative Houses of General Convention: the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. Each of the two Houses has a presiding officer: the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. When there is a joint meeting of the two Houses, the Presiding Bishop has the right to preside.
- The House of Deputies is composed of deputations elected from each diocese of The Episcopal Church; from Navajoland; from the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe; and from Liberia (which has seat and voice). Deputations may include up to four clergy and four lay members. Members of the Official Youth Presence also have a seat and voice in the House of Deputies.
- The House of Bishops is composed of every bishop of The Episcopal Church with jurisdiction; every bishop coadjutor; every bishop suffragan; every assistant bishop; and every bishop “who by reason of advanced age or bodily infirmity, or who, under an election to an office created by the General Convention, or for reasons of mission strategy determined by action of the General Convention or the House of Bishops, has resigned a jurisdiction.”
General Convention acts through the adoption of resolutions. A resolution becomes an Act of Convention only after both Houses adopt it in the same form and at the same General Convention.
The Secretary of General Convention has responsibilities to support the work of both Houses. This person must first be elected as Secretary of the House of Deputies, and then, through concurrent action by the House of Bishops, becomes the Secretary of the General Convention. The Treasurer of General Convention is elected by concurrent action of both Houses.
Save the Dates
July 15-17, All Parish Campout
July 8-15, Youth Group High School Immersion Trip
August 19, All Souls at the A’s Game
September 16-18, All Parish Retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch
Join us for worship this week:
- 9am, in-person, indoors
- 11:15am, in-person, indoors. This service will also be live streamed.
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. This service will move indoors if the weather is below 40 degrees at 8:15a, if the AQI is over 150, or if there is rain.
Then join us in the Parish Hall at 5p Sunday Night Service for Evening Prayer.
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. Masks are required for this service as it is indoors.
Adult Formation Classes
There are three class offering this Sunday:
- 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 @ 10:10a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in the Chapel (downstairs at church).
- Summer Book Group begins! @10:10a in the Common Room (and on Zoom––click here). The first book we’ll read is Thomas Merton’s Contemplative Prayer for June 19, 26, and July 10th. In the final group meeting we’ll read and discuss Thomas Merton’s book The Wisdom of the Desert. If you need a copy of the book, please see Emily.
Children, Youth, and Family News
While Sunday School is on hiatus for the summer, there are fun activities planned for children at 10:10 on Sundays in the courtyard! Join us!
Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.
Other News & Notes
All Parish Camping Trip
You can still sign-up for the church camping trip! Join us July 15th-17th at Pine Grove Resort and Campground in Cobb, California! This is a private campground, and we have booked the entire group camping site which means we’ll have tons of space to bring up to 100 people! It will be hot, but there are two pools (one chlorinated, and one natural spring-fed!) as well as a creek on the property so there are lots of opportunities for recreation. There is a fire-pit and a cob oven, and plenty of places to sit and eat. They have newly renovated bathrooms (with showers) as well! Check out their listing on HipCamp for pictures if you’re interested.
This will be a weekend full of fun, relaxation, and time to connect with other All Soulsians. We’ll have a pizza party using the cob oven on Saturday night, and a Eucharist service on Sunday morning, otherwise this is mostly unstructured fun with occasional pop-up activities! Feel free to bring games and activities to share. Sign-up here!
Now that the 9am service has moved indoors, we’re assembling a pick-up choir to sing a simple anthem each week. You don’t need to vest or attend the Wednesday evening rehearsal, just show up at 8:30 on Sunday morning. If you have questions, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org!
How to access staff & clergy in the new Jordan Court Offices
Wondering how to reach us in the new offices? Here’s how:
- Enter on Cedar & Oxford and press “001” on the call box. This will take you to the church voicemail system. Select the number of the person you are trying to reach and it will call their office phone directly.
- For Annie: press 1
- For Phil: press 2
- For Maggie: press 3
- For Emily: press 4
- For Jamie: press 5
- Once on the phone with the person you are trying to reach, but before they buzz the door open, they will give you a code that you need to either write down or remember as you will need it to enter the stairwell or the elevator.
- Once you have been buzzed into the lobby, head towards the stairs or elevator and use the code you were given to get to the 3rd floor.
- After exiting the elevator or stairwell, turn right and the All Souls offices are at the end of the hall! Voila!
- If you are entering from the church building, you can also access the offices through the gate at the courtyard. You can either text or phone a staff or clergy to get the gate code and then may enter the staff offices either by going up the outdoor stairwell or by entering the Jordan Court building and going up the elevator (the same gate code will get you in the Jordan Court building and the elevator).
Church Office Hours:
Staff & Clergy can be reached Sunday-Thursday by phone/text/or email. Tuesday-Thursday from 10-5p you can find staff & clergy in the office. You can reach an on-call clergy at any time by calling our church offices and pressing “8” for the on-call priest.
Summer Book Club
Summer Book Group: Part II
What Strange Paradise, By Omar El Akkad
Join us July 24, July 31 and August 7 to discuss Omar El Akkad’s book What Strange Paradise. This compelling story of a nine-year old Syrian refugee who washes up on the shore of a small island and is rescued by a teenage girl. As the blurb says, “What Strange Paradise is the story of two children navigating a hostile world. But it is also the story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair – and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.”
All Souls at the A’s Game!
Join us in our annual A’s game outing, on August 19th. We’ll meet up at 5p in the parking lot for some tailgating and then head into the game together. Please reach out to Don Gates to reserve your ticket (email@example.com). If the cost is prohibitive, please let us know.