From the Associate Rector Search Committee
Who We Are and Who We Are Becoming
It is hard to express in words the joy and relief that came with the call of the Rev. Maggie Foote to be the next Associate Rector of All Souls Parish. Many of you know that the Rev. Liz Tichenor left at the beginning of November to serve as the Rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Pleasant Hill. Over the last seven (challenging) months the search team has been diligent, steadfast, and faithful. But more on that later. First, here’s why we are so excited that Maggie is joining us.
First off, Maggie has a tangible and abiding trust in Jesus. It is fundamental to how she understands herself and the world around her, and her faith is just plain compelling. This faith, combined with an innate joy, and desire for justice, has drawn many closer into Christian community in a variety of contexts since her ordination several years ago.
Mostly recently Maggie has served as a church planter with a Latinx community in Cincinnati, and has a palpable curiosity for where the Spirit is leading the Church next. She sees much of the tradition that we have received as gifts that can be offered to the next generation of Christians. That said, Maggie excels at building relationships with children and youth and families. Some of this comes from her own experience growing up in the Episcopal Church, some because of the skills she has learned throughout her formation, and some because of what we believe to be gifts of the Spirit.
Maggie has been a leader in her diocese, (Southern Ohio), and brings with her the ability to collaborate with a variety of people towards a common goal. We took it as a really good sign that those we spoke with who have worked with her wanted to be able to hire her. Like, immediately. Fortunately for us, since Maggie’s wife Andrea already had a new job in the East Bay, and it was clear that Maggie’s gifts, skills, and interests were an excellent fit for this role at All Souls come September.
The search team, which started its work last December, was comprised of Jennifer Ying, Raymond Yee, Calvin Payne-Taylor, Howard Perdue, Michael Lemaire, Diane Haavik, and Jennifer Dary, along with the three of us, co-chairs Jeannie Koops-Elson and Caroline McCall and our Rector, Phil Brochard. Our work lasted much longer than we originally anticipated, but the group persevered, meeting as needed to review applications, discuss interviews, check our assumptions and biases, and, finally, in March, to make the recommendation that Phil consider Maggie as a finalist for the position. The search was at times discouraging, but the team was open-hearted to each other and to the candidates, insightful and discerning in their consideration of applications, and unflagging in their positive attitudes and willingness to serve. Through it all, the team stayed committed to our hoped for (and now realized) outcome – that the right candidate would apply and be called to join us.
We in particular want to call out the work of Diane Haavik as our chaplain and Jen Dary as the point-of-contact for our candidates. Diane grounded our meetings in prayer and led us in meditations that were specific to the work at hand, bolstering our patience and our hope. Her quiet leadership affirmed the importance of having a designated chaplain in congregational work groups, particularly groups with a tendency to focus on tasks and outcomes. Jen was the initial face of All Souls for each candidate. She fielded candidate questions, received their application materials and helped us give thoughtful and respectful consideration to every candidate. From the outset, we believed it was important to blind the applications (removing names as well as markers of gender, race, and sexual orientation) so that we would not be led by our unconscious biases. This commitment proved a challenge to keep given the kinds of materials that come with a typical application, and Jen put in many hours of careful work with each application so that we could do our utmost to view each candidate equally.
The search process, while not what we had planned, taught us some things about the church and about All Souls. Our first discovery was that the national Episcopal church is facing a shortage of ordained clergy. We were warned that other parishes were having trouble fielding a cohort of applicants to fill open positions, but we couldn’t imagine that would happen to us. And then it did. Our initial job posting and application timeline did not yield the candidate we were searching for, and so we extended our deadline and considered applications on a rolling basis. But with about 5,500 active priests, and over 6,400 Episcopal congregations in the United States, the Episcopal church is going to be challenged to staff our parishes the way we have in the past.
A second, significant learning was to see the character of our parish changing and being changed in exciting ways. At the beginning of the search we wrote what we believed to be an accurate job posting that would attract a candidate with the skills and orientation that we desired. Eventually, we did get applications from bright and competent people who were attracted to the job described, and it turned out that most of them were highly academic. Apparently, our job posting revealed that we are an intellectual parish and we place a high value on rigorous preaching. Which is absolutely true! But in the end, we decided that none of those candidates were the right fit for All Souls and felt called to Maggie Foote – a vibrant, young church planter working in the Latinx community who is living and preaching a new kind of evangelism and justice orientation. Recognizing that call as a reflection of who we are as a congregation now, our values, and where we are headed, was perhaps a little surprising, and very exciting.
This learning process, compounded by the many obvious disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic, meant that we had to rely on patience, perseverance, and hope in the Spirit––these, too, are characteristics of our congregation. Who we are and who we are becoming carried us to this new season of partnership with Maggie, and we are eager to see where the path of Jesus takes us together.
Caroline McCall, Jeannie Koops-Elson, and Phil Brochard+
How the Sausage Is Made, Music Edition (Part 1)
I love that I get to work with amazing people in this job. In truth, though, I’m something of an introvert. So I also love that a big part of my job, planning music for services, is something I get to do on my own. The downside is that the process might seem opaque. I thus thought it might be useful for me to say more about how I choose music. But it turns out that I have so much to say that it’ll run in two parts. Below is part 1, in which I describe how I typically worked before the pandemic (although plenty of it remains applicable). In next week’s Pathfinder, I’ll follow up with some thoughts on how this work has changed in our post-COVID world.
Considerations and Constraints
The process of choosing music is shaped by a variety of considerations and constraints. Most importantly, music works in tandem with liturgy. All liturgies have distinct components that serve different functions: in the Eucharist, these include opening our hearts, receiving the Word, giving thanks, and more. Our liturgical observances also adhere to an annual pattern: the days and seasons of this pattern are organized into two great cycles of preparation and feasting (Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter) that structure our recollection of the life and ministry of Jesus. Our music must match these liturgical rhythms.
Then there are practical concerns. I have to expect that many people in the congregation sing by ear, not by reading music notation. The blanket music licenses to which we subscribe don’t cover every piece we might want to use—they don’t even cover every piece in our various hymnals. The choir is a certain size, and we only get so much rehearsal time each week. I can’t hold the same expectations of volunteers that I would hold of professionals, and I can’t ask too much of the professionals we do have. The organ features little variety in its sounds.
Finally there are issues surrounding the relationship between existing texts and our ever-changing understandings of the world. This is a particular problem with music, since our attachments to it are so often grounded in tradition and memory. The results are that the words we sing, even beloved ones that remain in our hymnal, can carry ugly histories—which is why no one sings “Onward, Christian soldiers” anymore—and that some texts proclaim or reflect ideas with which we might not agree. Since our hymns and songs should be “congruent” with scripture, as stated the Book of Common Prayer, some of them borrow scriptural language and images that have problematic histories with regard to race and disability. Considering whether to use a text like this means considering whether it is still worth singing, particularly when a satisfactory alternative is available.
Now, on to the actual process. Probably my top priority is that the words we sing intensify the functions of each liturgical component. and speak in some way to the many meanings each day or season. More specifically, I aim for texts that re-articulate, develop, and even complicate these themes, particularly as they are delivered through appointed readings from scripture. I also think about whether the music will feel like it fits the liturgical function, the day, and the season. For example, during most of the year, our opening procession features a hymn accompanied by the organ, but during Lent we have for the last several years processed in to the Taizé Chant “Bless the Lord, my soul,” without instrumental accompaniment. The text of this piece still expresses praise and thanks, as is appropriate at this moment of the Eucharist, yet the musical features of the piece—particularly its slower tempo and minor key—combined with the practice of singing a cappella, hopefully reinforce the differences between Lent and the coming season of Easter.
Before the virus hit, I had discovered that achieving all these goals while attending to aforementioned considerations and constraints meant that I needed to plan a year at a time. One of the main reasons for this approach was to balance the need for variety and diversity of repertoire against the need for music that fits the liturgical moment, the day, and the season. A parish favorite like “Come, thou fount of every blessing” works well at several different moments in the liturgy and at many times of year, but even those of us who love this piece might find it tiresome to sing every week. Therefore, I have to decide on which Sunday I want to “spend” it. The result of that decision *might* ultimately hinge on the way the text resonated with a particular reading; or, it might hinge on the fact that the piece functions as a wild card, meaning that I can plug it into any Sunday for which I have not yet found the perfect Angel Band song. For the sake of variety, I try to use Angel Band songs not more than about twice a year, and congregational hymns and choral music not more than about once a year. As may already be apparent, what is both fun and frustrating about planning music in chunks like this is that the whole thing becomes a mix between puzzles and dominos. When I discover a new piece that fits better than one I have already chosen, I have to move the latter somewhere else, but if that somewhere else is already filled, then I might need to move *that* piece to yet another place, and so on.
But whether planning one isolated service or an entire year, I begin with knowledge of the liturgical year. Many specific days have the same focus from year to year, even as the specific scriptures used to convey that focus change according to the three-year lectionary. This is not just true for major feasts: the Fourth Sunday of Easter, for example, always centers around the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, so I know that a setting of psalm 23 will be appropriate even before I look up the readings.
Next, I read the appointed scriptures. Sometimes there’s a particular word or phrase that triggers a thought of a specific hymn, Angel Band song, or anthem, and I mark it down in my spreadsheet at the liturgical moment where I expect it will best fit. When I come across one of the healing stories in the Gospels, for example, I might think of the Angel Band song Touch of God’s Hand. When I come across scriptures that describe God as light, I might (as I just did) search for the word “light” in our digital spreadsheet containing the many hundreds of titles in our choral library, and come up with Jane Marshall’s Eternal light.
Next, I go to planning aids. There are books that have hymn and anthem suggestions keyed to the Sundays and other feasts of the church year, including each reading appointed in the Revised Common Lectionary. These resources expedite things so I don’t have to flip through hundreds of hymns for every single choice I need to make.
Finally, if I’m planning in chunks, which is what I prefer, I have to arrange the puzzle pieces. Given all the factors at play, this sometimes requires going back through the prior steps again, until the puzzle is complete. This shuffling and re-shuffling takes the longest amount of time, but it is worth it.
Stay tuned to next week’s Pathfinder for thoughts on how this work has changed in our post-COVID world, in the exciting conclusion to “How the Sausage Is Made, Music Edition”!!!
From Our New Associate Rector
Hey All Soulsians!
I wanted to send a quick note of introduction and share how excited I am to be your new Associate Rector!
While this is an unusual time to be preparing to move across the country, I am looking forward to returning to the Bay Area (where I attended seminary at CDSP) and beginning ministry with you all! Over the last few days I have been marching, protesting, and chanting here in Cincinnati, and I am more sure than ever that the Spirit is at work in and through each one of us, and I am so eager to bear witness to the ways in which that same Spirit moves through each one of you as I get to know you.
Most recently I have been working as a church planter, starting a new community that serves mostly Latino families. I love to experiment with new and creative styles of worship, especially with the goal of involving children in liturgy.
I love Mexican food, gardening, watching soccer and Ohio State football, reading, and basically any activity that brings me to the great outdoors, especially trail running. I’m also a big fan of DIY projects and home renovation.
I will be coming to join you all in September with my wife, Andrea, and our two dogs, Jasper and Kip.
Looking forward to meeting you all and seeing a few familiar faces as well!
Dear friends, we’ve now been doing this virtual version of church for a bit now, and it’s looking like it will continue for a “bit” longer. And so, we have created this survey (with the help of Liz Lynch, the survey pro!) whose purpose is two-fold. First, we want to make sure that what we’re doing on Sundays and during the week is meeting as many people as possible. But, second, because we can’t actually see all of you, or look you in the eye to say hello, or to see how you’re doing, we’re hoping that you will fill out this survey so that we can get a pulse on everybody at once. It’s not ideal, as so much of life is these days, but it seems like the best way forward.
This survey is meant to be filled out by each adult attender in your home. If you are filling out with kids in mind, please just have one adult fill out the information regarding the kids. Also, please fill this out by June 21st. Thanks for hanging in there with us.
—Phil, Emily, Jamie, Whitney, and Annie.
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 the first week of our Summer Book Group! This summer we are reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and Distinguished Professor of Environmental Biology at SUNY. Here weaves an invaluable story of how to heal the fundamental bonds borne of our intertwined and often tragic shared history, even as she helps us assess our relationship with the living earth and all that exists upon it. Both the e-book and the audiobook version are available from the Berkeley Public Library via Hoopla ( https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/explore/elibrary/hoopla-digital ).
You’ll find our summer book club meetings on the ASP Zoom site during the 9:15 adult formation hour starting this Sunday, June 14th, with Jack Shoemaker guiding the initial conversation, the chapters in “Planting Sweetgrass” through page 59, to be followed by other leaders. Each section will be led by a different parishioner or community member with a specific approach to this achingly moving and inspiring book. Click here for the Zoom link to access the class on Sunday.
|June 14||Planting Sweetgrass, Through 59|
|June 21||Tending Sweetgrass, pp. 61 — 117|
|June 28||Picking Sweetgrass, pp 121 — 201|
|July 5||Braiding Sweetgrass, pp 205 — 300|
|July 12||Burning Sweetgrass, pp 304 – 384|
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. If you have not used Zoom before––it is pretty user friendly in that I send you an invitation that you can log-in to at the appointed time. 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/
Also, the All Souls Kids Book Club has just begun! We are going to read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and our plan is to “meet” every Wednesday afternoon at 4pm until August 26th. We will have guest readers, a short project or game and wrap up in about 30 – 40 minutes. We will offer some illustrations so even the younger kids (kindergarten age or so) can follow along. We are planning to start on Zoom but hopefully later in the summer we might be able to meet in person.
If your child is interested, please email Whitney at email@example.com and I will send you the zoom invite link.
Family Trivia Night
Lastly, mark your calendars now for a fun event that is just around the corner. On Saturday June 20th – Terry and Molly Nicol will be hosting a trivia game via Zoom. There will be lots of fun questions for all ages and it promises to be a great time to spend with some of your All Souls friends. Email Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org for link to the zoom invite. See you there!”
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!
Berkeley Canterbury Summer School
All are invited to join Berkeley Canterbury for a series of talks designed to inform and encourage during this time of pandemic. Each week, beginning next Wednesday the 20th, Tom Penoyer will host a speaker on a different topic. Tom will send out the zoom link on the morning of each talk. Email him for more information: email@example.com.
Here’s the lineup:
- June 17th: Mr. Jared Ladesma who will be talking about how art offers consolation and meaning in times of crisis.
All Souls Children’s Virtual Library
We have reached out to a few people to ask them to make some videos for the All Souls’ kids but realize that many of you might be willing to help us as well. It is very simple and a pretty fun project:
- Pick out a children’s book with bright colorful illustrations. (If you don’t have any books at your house email Whitney and she will drop one off at your house!)
- Make a video recording on your phone of you reading the book making a special point to show the illustration.
- The video needs to be less than 15 minutes long.
- Email the video at firstname.lastname@example.org
- We will then add your video to the virtual library so the kids can watch it and enjoy hearing your voice reading a story.
And by the way, the video is not for public viewing so it doesn’t come up in any kind of search. You would only be able to access it if you have the direct link.
Questions? Email me at email@example.com.
Justice & Peace
Interfaith Power and Light are hosting a film screening and discussion over the film “The Human Element”. Watch for free (June 8-17 anytime through Interfaith Power and Light) then join Bishop Marc and other honored guests with specific inspired actions for building Beloved Earth Community linking racial and environmental justice, facilitated by Dr. Paloma Pavel on Zoom at 7:30p on June 17th. Join the warm up conversation with filmmaker James Balog and Interfaith Power and Light President Susan Hendershot at 5 pm June 17th. Click here for more information and to register for the discussion.