From the Associate Rector
Happy Pride, Y’all!
In December of 2019, before the world was turned upside down by Covid-19, I was huddled on a couch in Cincinnati with Andrea and two of our best friends, also queer women. We were gathered at our friends’ house to watch, you guessed it, the reboot of the iconic show, The L Word.
We had been anxiously awaiting the premiere of the show for lots of reasons, but primarily because the show is all about queer women, and despite the fact that it was 2019, authentic queer representation in the media was still hard to come by. It still is today.
So, imagine my surprise when, in the third episode of the show, a love interest of one of the core cast members turns out to be a priest! I actually cried. Despite the fact that the character’s run on the show was relatively short lived, I had never felt more seen. Rebecca, the character, was a young, queer woman, who had a normal social life (after all, she met the other character, Finley, at a bar) and she was an ordained priest. She was bucking stereotypes about queer people and about Christians all in one fell swoop. I was living for it.
Unfortunately, Rebecca’s story line goes down an all-too-familiar path: Finley can’t get past the fact that Rebecca is a priest. She carries too much hurt and shame from her religious upbringing to be able to have a relationship with someone who works for the church, or even who claims to be a Christian.
Their short relationship highlights the tension that still exists between the Church and the queer community. The Church has caused so much pain in the lives of queer people, for so long, that many queer people still believe that being a Christian and being queer are irreconcilable. So, to see these two identities converge on one character on one television show was enough to bring me to tears.
It also raises the question, for me, about why this is so rare.
On the show, Rebecca says “I’m actually more closeted about being Christian than I am about being queer.”
It’s hard to claim a Christian identity in a society that often equates that identity with bigotry and homophobia (as well as a bevy of other sins,) but when we keep that part of our identity hidden, we lose the opportunity to bear witness to the truth that God loves queer people, and honors queer identity, and rejoices in queer love.
When we claim our identity as followers of Christ alongside our affirmation of queer communities, we offer proof that being Christian and authentically loving queer people are actually compatible. And I’m here to tell you that even in 2021, even in The Episcopal Church, and even in the Bay Area, that can be life changing for queer people who have been hurt by the Church. It can, quite literally, save lives.
We’re called to bear witness to the overwhelming love of Jesus Christ in the world. I wonder how each of us might do that as we celebrate Pride this year?
From Parish Life
The Parish Picnic Returns! Sunday, June 6
We are excited to extend our regathering and celebrate the ways we can be together again by returning to our Parish Picnic tradition. On June 6 we will continue settling into our “new normal” schedule of worship in the courtyard at 9am and in the sanctuary and online at 11:15; but after all that, join us for a potluck picnic, fun and games with your All Souls community. Sign up here to let us know you are coming and what you’ll bring. (Current county restrictions still limit gatherings in East Bay Regional Parks to 50 people; but if you can’t make this one we are likely to plan another picnic later this summer.)
Will the all-ages talent-optional 100% fun kickball game return? Absolutely! So will the good food, conversation, sunshine (hopefully!) and fellowship. We will be grilling and setting up the potluck on picnic tables; there is ample space to eat at shared tables or to eat independently on your own picnic blanket. Here are the essentials:
When? 1pm on Sunday, June 6
Where? Padre picnic site in Tilden Regional Park on South Park Dr between the Brazil Building & the Steam Trains (here’s a map)
What should I bring?
- food to share
- bubbles, balls, frisbee or whatever other fun you’d like to share
- sunscreen & layers (summer in the Bay Area!)
- camp chair or picnic blanket if that makes you comfortable
Can I help? Yes, please! Thanks for asking! We need help setting up, grilling, and packing out. Please sign up on the RSVP.
Where do I sign up again? Here
More questions? Contact Jeannie Koops (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From the Recently Baptized
This essay is part of a three-part series from three of the folks who were recently baptized at All Souls––two at the Easter Vigil and one most recently on Pentecost. I asked them to answer three questions:
1) What made you want to be baptized at this time? (and maybe how you found All Souls?)
2) What were you thinking as Phil was dunking you? 🙂
3) Who was there for you––either as a Sponsor or just in the audience with you that day and why them?
I find these three especially brave as they have decided to join a faith and a church body in the middle of a global pandemic, and in some cases having never met anyone in person from the church! I hope you find them as inspiring as I have.
Covid brought to light a lot of trauma in my family, and this trauma exposed ways that my family communicated in ways that were not Godly. I said to a family member “I just have to think, what would Jesus do.” In that moment I knew… I needed to find a church asap. I’d wandered the wilderness seeking Christian communities, but never found one that suited me well. Bishop Curry brought me to the Episcopal Church and the internet brought me to All Souls. And wow, what I found was incredible! Like water in the desert. I joined at the perfect time and was able to take the Catechumenate class. With divine timing like that how could I say no? I knew it was my turn to get baptized. So I said yes! My baptism was on the Easter Vigil and it was a magical experience. Unforgettable!!! The night of my baptism there was a lot to focus on… I was meeting a bunch of people I’d come to cherish, who I’d never met in person! I had to read a long passage from the Bible…. In front of a lot of people. And the baptism itself… What if I fell? But as we all gathered by the pool things just became clear and I knew more than I’d ever known, that I was in the right place. My friend Jessica was there, who is Charismatic. She has helped me learn a lot about the Bible and she helped me feel more proud to come to Christianity as an adult. With her I was able to explore the more controversial aspects of Christianity without the heated conflict that comes with discussions with secular people. And through all this I met Daniel Prechtel, who runs the Bible study. When I first found All Souls he took the time to talk with me for almost an hour. Someone he’d never met or seen. We got to know each other through the Bible study and keeping up our chats on the phone. I chose him as my sponsor because he’s incredibly joyful and deeply spiritual at the same time. And I aspire to hold both in my heart at once, as he does.
New Racial & Social Justice Library
During the last year, All Souls has had a deep desire to share the truth about the church and our role in the history of racism. By sharing our experiences, and participating in the course called Sacred Ground, many have found life-changing ways to practice the way of Jesus and to repair the breach in our country.
There are some incredible, challenging books on racism and social justice being published right now, and we have set up a way to share these treasures among our congregation. In the narthex as you enter the sanctuary, you will find several shelves of new and used books. Please take one, keep it, pass it on, or return it. Add one or as many of your own if you see fit.
Sunday Mornings: Join us at 9am in the courtyard, in-person (masked and holding a 4’ distance between you and anyone outside of your pod or family). Attendance is limited for outdoor services, so please sign-up here! Please remember to bring your own chair and chalice!
Or (and!) join us in person (masked and distanced of course!) or online for the 11:15 service, which can be accessed through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning. If you’d like to attend in person, please register at this link, and don’t forget to bring your own chalice!
Wednesday Mornings: 9:00am PDT
Join us in person in the church, or online!
Join the Zoom call here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86087951049?pwd=THNxbjlqMm5zdjc5RGNLWkFrZk16QT09
Meeting ID: 860 8795 1049 Password: 520218
Thursday Night Compline (Night Time Prayers): 8:30pm PDT
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84737698405?pwd=dlh2OXZmblBYTU5hTEw5TGJXUVZNZz09
Meeting ID: 847 3769 8405
7:30am Reading Between the Lines Bible Study Contact Kate Murphy to join that Zoom call.
10:10am Reading Between the Lines Bible Study Contact Daniel Prechtel to join that Zoom call.
If you’d like to attend this class in person, it will meet downstairs in the chapel at 10:10am.
Summer Book Group for Adults Please join us for summer book group at All Souls! Starting in June, we will be discussing The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee. You may attend in person or by Zoom. The reading and discussion session is: June 13 (Intro through Chapter 3, p. 65), June 20 (Chapter 4 through Chapter 6, p. 165), June 27 (Chapter 7 through Chapter 8, p. 219), and July 11 (Chapter 9 through 10, p. 288).
Missed the previous week’s class?? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be recording all of the Adult Formation offerings and loading them to the Adult Formation page of our website. Click here to get there and access the class recordings.
Children, Family & Youth News
No Children’s formation this week. We will begin summer Book Clubs for kids on June 13th, at 10:10 in the Courtyard!
The youth group wrapped up for the year last Sunday with a final courtyard meeting! Stay tuned for information about summer gatherings. If you have a young person in your household in grades 6-12, and do not receive updates about Youth Group events, please email Maggie at email@example.com to be added to the list!
Other News & Notes
Soulcast: Our Weekly Video Announcements
Diocesan Ordinations at Grace Cathedral
All Souls’ own Ethan Lowery will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 5, at 3:00 p.m.
Gather to celebrate the ordinations of Ethan Lowery and Colby Roberts to the priesthood at Grace Cathedral. The ordinations service will allow for an in-person congregation (200). Pre-registration is required https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diocesan-ordinations-in-person-tickets-154638571129, and health screening will be conducted at entry. Masks are required at all times.
The service will also be livestreamed on gracecathedral.org.
Whether in-person or online, please join this momentous occasion and raise your prayers for these ordinands.
The Bishop’s Ranch Seeking Seasonal Interim Summer Camp Director
The Interim Camp Director will lead the team of staff and volunteers who carry out summer camp programming this season. The Interim Camp Director functions as an integral member of the Ranch Hospitality Team and helps provide gracious hospitality to all our guests, volunteers, residents and staff throughout the summer. Summer Camps sponsored by the Bishop’s Ranch are focused on Community, Spiritual Life, the Arts and Creation Care – primarily through Sustainable Agriculture and Watershed Protection. The Interim Camp Director is responsible for providing leadership to all Bishop’s Ranch Summer Camps which includes 2 weeks of intergenerational “family” camps, 1 week of high school overnight camp, 1 week of junior high school overnight camp and 1 week of READ day camp with students from the local elementary school. Living at the Ranch during the camp season is required.
People needed to “Make Church Happen”
Consider joining the Usher and or Greeters teams!
During the week the musicians practice and the sacristans ensure the altar linens and other things necessary for the service are in order for the service. They arrive early on Sunday and set up for the service. These preparations enhance our experience of Church. When we arrive on Sunday morning there are people who greet us, hand us a bulletin, and make note of newcomers then distribute wine and juice during the service. They answer our questions, help us with a chair and place to sit. They welcome us and want us to feel at home.
Does this sounds like something you’d like to do? If so, contact Renae Breitenstein.
Lectoring & Intercession on Sunday Mornings
If you are interested in becoming a Lector or Intercessor (the folks who read the bible passages and lead the prayers during the Sunday morning services), come to our Lector & Intercessor training next Sunday, June 13th between the 9 & 11:15 services. Dr. Scott MacDougall will lead a short training for anyone interested. For more information, see Emily, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday Morning Tech Help
If you are technically inclined and looking for a way to help out on Sundays, we can use the help! Mostly we’re looking for a sound tech or two, and perhaps another person or two to learn how to operate the camera. All roles come with training and great company :). See Emily for more info, email@example.com.
Stephen Ministry: Christ Caring for People through People
That’s the motto of Stephen Ministry. The Stephen Minister’s role is to bring God’s love into the lives of people who are going through a difficult time or experiencing a crisis. What do Stephen Ministers do? They listen, care, support, encourage, and pray with and for a person who is hurting. And in the midst of this confidential, one-to-one, caring relationship, God’s healing love comes pouring through.
If someone you know is facing a crisis—large or small—and could benefit from the caring presence of a Stephen Minister, talk to Rev. Maggie Foote (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Stephen Ministry Leader Madeline Feely (email@example.com). Our Stephen Ministers are ready to care for you!
Racial Justice Event at the Ella Baker Center
Realizing Racial Justice event put on by the Ella Baker Center with special guest Ibram X. Kendi on June 16th at 5p (livestreamed) to talk about what’s next. Register here for the event!
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.
If you are able to help provide some meals for parishioners in need, please contact Cathy Goshorn to help out! We are in great need at this time to help care for each other––please consider helping other All Soulsians in need by providing meals or gift cards for meals. You can reach Cathy at email@example.com.
Contemplative Pride Service at Good Shepherd, Berkeley