From the Rector
The Long Run
There is a point in a long hike with a pack, or a long run, or a long swim, or a long bicycle ride––anything that requires physical exertion over a long period of time––when you are ready for it to be done. When it becomes clear that the ride or run or hike is more than you expected, more than you think you can give.
It seems to me that in many parts of our communal lives, we are in a moment like this. The emergent moment around the coronavirus has become days, days that have turned into weeks, weeks that have turned into months, suffused with uncertainty and anxiety and fear of the virus and all of its attendant effects. Our initial reserves have been depleted and we are ready for this to be done. And it’s not.
Within this time of disruption has emerged one of the most potent movements in living memory to re-form this nation’s understanding and practice around race. And, yet, as some of the initial burst of energy around the protests of racial injustice has begun to ebb, and in several places met resistance, many have wondered if this effort of national repentance will last.
Many in this nation are tired, many in this nation are anxious, many in this nation are uncertain. And the temptation to give up is ever present. To go back to life as we knew it, to turn aside from the hard work, to distract ourselves from the realities of suffering around us. But we must not lose hope.
For it is the work of the long run that has the possibility to make significant change, if we can sustain, if we can endure. My experience with change is that deep and lasting change––whether in my own life, in the life of a community I’ve been a part of, or the life of a nation––takes time. Often more time than I am initially ready for.
And, I’ve learned that the efforts in our lives that result in fundamental change require significant effort and resource and time. This is because in the words of one sociologist, culture is deep and broad and stable. Culture of all kinds––national, religious, familial––resists efforts to change it, attempting to remain as is for as long as possible. But change is possible.
I suppose part of this understanding of the long run is also informed by the actions of our Vestry last night. Last night we accepted and approved the final documents so that the Parish House can become Jordan Court. In Mary Rees’ article below you’ll find more details about the weeks (and months and years) ahead. But after over five years of sustained effort and a faith in the Spirit’s guidance, in the next month a new community for the vulnerable in Berkeley will rise. And much of this because we kept taking the next step, and the next step, and the next step, as exhausted as we were.
So faithful All Soulsians, keep loving each other, even when we can’t gather in person. Keep serving and finding ways to act, rather than being kept by what we can’t do. Keep learning and striving for justice, even as the arc still has so far to bend.
In all, let us keep the faith, and keep on running.
And Away We Go!
Groundbreaking for Jordan Court Scheduled for Early August
Even though COVID-19 has disrupted our lives as a parish in so many ways, it hasn’t slowed down the final preparations for our planned affordable apartments and parish office space. What began six years ago with a study of the options for using our two extra lots is now nearing construction. The new complex of 37 apartments — including 34 low-income studios for seniors, a manager’s apartment, and two apartments for All Souls staff — and All Souls office and meeting space will be named Jordan Court, as selected by the Vestry.
A lot has been happening behind the scenes while we sheltered in place. Our partner, Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA), has been working with the city of Berkeley’s building and planning departments, and has secured the investors for the construction and initial years of operation. Their investment, in exchange for tax credits, rounds out the necessary funding, seeded by loans from both the city of Berkeley, Alameda County, and the state of California.
All Soulsians Jill Churchman, Renae Breitenstein, and Diane Haavik have been eagerly and methodically organizing stuff from the Parish House, removing items for sale and donation, with the help of Ministry leaders and Administrative Assistant Annie Rovzar. They’re holding a garage sale on July 25th, and proceeds will go to Project Sandwich, to help feed the unhoused citizens of Berkeley. By the way, we still have a relatively new, sprightly boiler available for sale, if anyone’s interested….
The seemingly indefatigable Kirk Miller continues his dogged efforts to clarify every aspect of the design of the new building, down to paint colors and garage door type, in order to hammer out as many details as possible before construction starts.
As of now, demolition of the old Parish House is projected to begin on Monday, August 3rd. Groundbreaking and excavation beneath the current parking lot will soon follow. Construction of the new building should take 18 to 20 months.
While this is exciting news, the imminent demolition and construction will cause some inconvenience and force us to make some changes. The noise and dust will likely be disruptive to our neighbors up and down Oxford and Cedar Streets. SAHA will send letters announcing the start of construction to All Souls’ neighbors, who will be invited to an online meeting with the contractor where they can ask questions and voice their concerns.
Hearts Leap Preschool will likely be most affected during demolition, because of its proximity to the construction site. The parish is planning to install double-paned windows in the Heart Leap classrooms to help reduce the incoming noise. During construction, you’ll see signs marking the temporary Hearts Leap drop-off/pick-up spot on Spruce Street near the courtyard entrance.
All Souls parishioners coming to any event on the campus will need to allow more time for arriving early and parking further away. When in-person services resume, some of us may even consider walking to church, especially if carpooling remains a risky prospect.
All told, the years of planning and praying, imagining and designing, listening and leading, have brought us very close to realizing our dream of providing shelter and community for vulnerable elders. Thanks be to God.
Caring for One Another – The All Souls Support Desk
As many of you know the Meals & Rides ministry has been a long-time fixture of ministry to All Soulsians. For many years Erin Horne led this ministry, and made sure that many All Soulsians were given meals after surgeries or births, and rides to and from doctors’ appointments and/or church. I am very grateful for the ministry that she did for those years. But, a few months ago she stepped down, and only recently were we able to fill this role. Part of what took so long was that we decided to re-vision the ministry of Meals & Rides by extending it to what we’re calling now: the All Souls Support Desk.
The new Support Desk has two branches. The first is the Meals & Rides side of things. This is as it has been. If you are in a season of life where you need regular meals or rides––maybe you just had a major surgery, or welcomed a new baby, or…, please reach out to our new Meals & Rides leader, Cathy Goshorn or fill out this form, and Cathy will set up a Meal Train for you. You can reach Cathy at: firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s also in the online directory.
The other branch to the new Support Desk is the “support” side of things. This side is for one-off needs that might creep up in a given week or month. Perhaps you look at the week ahead and realize that there is no way you will be able to get dinner together on Thursday evening, or that you just need this one piece of hardware from the hardware store but have no idea how you’re going to carve out the time to stand in line and get there––this side of the Support Desk is for you! If you have one-off needs like this, you can contact Gloria Bayne, or fill out this form, and we will try to get an All Soulsian to help out with your needs.
To that end, we are attempting to get a pool of All Soulsians who can be on-call to help out with these one-off sorts of needs. If you are in a position to be able to help out with short notice, please reach out to Gloria to get your name on the list of those who can jump in to help other All Soulsians. You can reach Gloria at: email@example.com. Gloria is also in the online directory.
You can find all this information and more on the Support Desk page on our Website: http://www.allsoulsparish.org/caring-for-all-souls/meals-and-rides/.
—Emily Hansen Curran
Connecting During the Pandemic: Survey Results Part 2
For part two of our survey results overview, we’re looking in more detail at how we’re all staying involved with All Souls. No surprise, our kids are much less engaged than they used to be. An hour of streaming video is tougher for kids to get excited about. Finding ways to reach kids and teens is more important than ever. When we are all together at All Souls, kids are surrounded by ritual, by community and by teaching. At home, they’re in the next room on their phones (unless that is just my kids), literally tuning out all of that. At the risk of sounding like a Whitney Houston song, children are our future, and we need their engagement to thrive.
Adults are connecting more, whether or not we are fans of video. But many of us are looking for more and different ways of connecting. Some would like to move from primarily consuming content to having interactions with people. Others would like to be able to schedule their own involvement to work around lives that are already overwhelming. Some of this is easier to address–checking in with connection groups to see what should be recalibrated, for example. Other things take more time, attention and thought. The All Souls staff is doing that work now, and you’ll see more about new and different opportunities in the coming weeks.
Question: For parents of young kids/youth, how (if at all) have your kids connected with God through All Souls since the Shelter-in-place?
- Zero zip zilch connection
- They did not attend services with me much prior to the shelter in place. Now they wander around while I’m participating online, so they catch some of it.
- worship, connection group, cnc, youth group
- My youth had been pretty turned off re: All Souls before this. They’ve walked through the room a few times when I’ve been in the service, and they’ve stopped to watch. They’re thinking about things like the homeless engagement, black lives matter, etc. Forcing church on them would be ineffective, but they’re still absorbing things this way.
- Not at all.
- sporadic attendance/attention to Sunday streaming services; even more sporadic attendance at Children’s Chapel
- No 🙁
- My kids occasionally watch stories from Whitney Wilson. I do not feel that they have more zoom in them.
- My child has taught himself hymns on the violin and they are very beautiful.
- Discussions around the dinner table engages God quite a bit.
- Not at all.
- Just started book club
- Connection group (Soup & Story), youth group
- Maundy Thursday service, at-home altar during Lent, Children´s Chapel (regularly at first, less so lately), social activities (scavenger hunt/trivia), dinner baskets
- Sunday livestream is a very special time for our family
- Not interested. Too much school zoom already.
- Just started book club
- Some attendance in Children’s Chapel
- Youth Group
- youth group
- Enjoying Narnia! Sunday school not a draw here.
- Church in pjs!!!!!!
- Children’s chapel, scavenger hunt
- my two girls have connected with children’s chapel well, but our son doesn’t
- Enjoying Narnia! Sunday school not a draw here.
Question: Are there additional opportunities for learning, action, small group, prayer, worship, etc. that would be helpful for you or your family?
- My connection group never took off which was disappointing
- I have to balance church activities with a very intense job and other self-care, so not for me. I am so appreciative of everything you are already doing.
- the zoom of the service and talk after are unreliable
- I like the relatively immediate back and forth of dialogue that is possible on Berkeleyside when commenting and replying to comment pertaining to a particular article. Why not form a dialogue group on the subject of white privilege? Set some ground rules and invite people to participate in dialogue on that subject.
- Saying Compline with 5 or 6 other people every Thursday has been great, and I hope we continue this after this is over.
- not right now
- Not that I feel comfortable sharing in a survey, but yes. It’s a deeper discussion.
- Not sure
- Offer forum at different time from Bible Study, perhaps on do one on Sat?
- I feel supported by the three connection groups I am in, and hope they continue.
- I’m sure you have enough going on, but a virtual small group would be good for me since I’m at a distance.
- Get involved physically with outreach programs
- right now I feel there are ample options. Not sure I could take on more.
- You all are doing such a magnificent job of creating new ways..I have no suggestions.
- Glad we are taking on racial justice work
- a short 7 am service.
- I plan to take greater advantage of existing discussion groups and classes in the future.
- Not that I can see at this time, thanks
- More with the home altars
- Anything to enhance consecutiveness is helpful during this time… Question/answer periods after services, or formation or maybe study groups would be helpful.
- Twould be preferable to have Formation rather than book groups now
- Coffee hour zoom (moderated)
- Small group discussion— maybe FaceTime call— around the difficulties of family relationships and adjustments during this stress-filled time
- Prayers for the unity of the church: Christian, Jewish, Orthodox,
- Maybe some kind of social distance play date?
- An early-morning (say Wednesday) church moment that can fit better into our pandemic lives.
- Not sure.
- I’d be interested in something I can do at my own speed (workbook? Ecourse that doesn’t require synchronous meetings?)
- It has just been tough for young kids to connect online. They haven´t been attending the streamed services and lose steam on Children´s Chapel even. Whitney has done an amazing job being thoughtful and diligent in serving our children during this time and I´m enormously grateful for her service.
- No. Thanks for everything you’re doing!
- Spiritually — online course
- I should take advantage of the prayer meetings already offered
- I’m happy as is.
- Doing ok
- I am looking forward to participating in Sacred Ground
- We’re OK
- Guidance on action we can take from home for racial equity, list of parishioners needing errands, etc… we can choose as a one off way to help
- More hymns in the Liturgy; a hymn singalong out of 1982 hymnal and LEVAS after church
- looking forward to Sacred Ground
- Maybe a coffee hour gathering a couple times a week on zoom. Wondering about the day one at night to reach a variety of people
- Expand the “Soul cast” as an interactive form of the Pathfinder.
- I am so grateful for all that is sustained and thriving even during the pandemic.
- inter faith opportunities
Sunday 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.
Adult Formation Class this Sunday
This Sunday join our teaching hour at 9:15a to take part in our Summer Book Group! This week’s book club discussion of Braiding Sweetgrass will cover the final section, from pp. 303 to 384. Our Zoom meeting will be led by Jen Dary. Here’s a little about her background:
Born outside Philadelphia and raised in Westchester, NY, Jen Dary and family moved to Berkeley in 2014. She is currently growing a garden in pots on her back deck; tomatoes, green beans, snap peas and herbs are happening. When not volunteering at All Souls, Jen runs a leadership coaching firm called Plucky.
Click here for the Zoom link to access the class on Sunday.
Big Sur Camping Trip is on!
July 17-19 is our annual Big Sur trip, and we have received word from the camp directors down there that they are open and able to host us! There are a few changes we’ll need to make to accommodate safety standards, but we think they are sacrifices worth making so that we can all make this trip together. Sign-up here. $35/person and a $120 family max. More details to come.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: http://www.allsoulsparish.org/children-youth-and-families/childrens-virtual-formation-during-covid/
All Souls After Hours
This week, Jamie & the All Souls Jukebox is coming back after the service! You can find the link to this on the “Streaming Services” page on Sunday morning or head to our Facebook page to find the live stream just after our Sunday service. Email your requests to Jamie by 2:00 pm Friday 7/10 at email@example.com
Evening Prayer via Zoom
Here is the link for the Thursday night BCP Compline https://schoolmint.zoom.us/j/7124066649?pwd=d0Z4c1RHeld0QllOLzdlS1IxK3FKZz09. 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.
Check out the latest episode of the Soulcast for more parish announcements!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86087951049?pwd=THNxbjlqMm5zdjc5RGNLWkFrZk16QT09
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049
In Gratitude for the life of Alec Blair
The Rev. Dr. Alec Blair died last Thursday, June 25th. There will be a live-streamed memorial for Alec on July 11th at 11am. You can find the link to the live stream on the homepage of our website.