FROM THE RECTOR
Focused Attention: Deep Hospitality
Nearly two years ago, the All Souls Vestry made a series of strategic decisions. After months of congregational discernment, research, and prayer by scores of All Soulsians, the Vestry designated three areas for focused attention in the next three to five years. Those areas are Deep Hospitality, Christian Action and Practice, and the Re-Development of the Parish House.
Since almost two years have passed, this seems like a good time to revisit those three areas. What has happened for us as a congregation? Where is the Spirit moving in us and through us? What is still left undone?
We did some of this evaluation on retreat as a Vestry last month. Using the lens of the “Gather, Transform, Send” model from the College of Congregational Development, members of the Vestry and pastoral staff looked at how our congregation engages these essential activities of gathering, being transformed, and sending. And, as part of this exercise, we also layered in how our areas of strategic, focused attention were faring. The results from that exercise were fascinating. And hopeful.
By and large, in the areas where we set out to give our attention in this stretch of life at All Souls, we have done good work. There still is work to do, to be sure, but our intention, prayers, and efforts have begun to bear fruit. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting these three areas in this space in the Pathfinder as a way to see where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we seek to go.
This week our focus is on Deep Hospitality. Knowing the myriad ways that people come to this Christian community, our first goal was to, “create a climate at All Souls where invitation and welcome are embodied and embraced by all.” To this end an Evangelism Team has been established and has been the movement behind Ashes on the Way, the “Jesus Was a Refugee” stickers, prayer cards and the ways that we invite people into the “side doors” of All Souls: Bike Blessings, Cookie Parties, and more. Our Triptych and the Welcome Space in the back of the nave are both examples of our increased focus on engaging and welcoming people into All Souls. More work to be done in this area will be collecting and understanding the demographic data of our area, and identifying ways that All Souls can embrace all people, not just those with whom we might feel more comfortable.
A second goal of this area of focused attention is around orientation and welcome, to “grow the understanding of the ways people become a part of All Souls.” It was with this area in mind that we hired Emily Hansen Curran as our Associate for Ministry Development about a year and a half ago. Since then, in large part because of Emily’s dedication and creativity, we have a clearer sense of how people enter All Souls, what it means to be a member of this body, and how people best feel a part of it. All of this has resulted in an articulated “Pathway to Membership,” and ways to remove barriers and create spaces for people to enter in more fully. Some of you may have seen the Wall of Ministry in Emily and Jess’ office, or the steps that we have identified that mark how people are incorporated into the Parish. There still is space for us to grow here, and I am particularly interested in our further engagement with newcomers after they have been here for two or three months.
The third goal of this strategic area is to, “foster spiritual kinship and deep relationships…the ways that we are transformed.” This is an area that we have just begun to engage. It is clear to me that within the context of a larger, growing congregation, having smaller groups of intimacy and connection is critical. This happens in several ways already at All Souls—in our musical groups, Stephen Ministry, Lunch Bunch, our youth groups, and in our remaining house groups. Our current Lenten program, Soup & Story, though, has highlighted both the hunger and the potential of this way of being together. Whereas in past years, roughly 40-70 people have participated in our Lenten programs, so far well over 120 All Soulsians have been gathering in parishioner’s homes for a Godly Play parable, prayer, a meal, and conversation. It is my hope that this will be an area we explore and live into in the next few years.
As you can see, the discernment and decisions made a couple of years ago have had a profound effect on the living body that we know as All Souls Parish. More people have come to worship, eat, serve, give, learn, and pray with us as a result of this attention. What is to come is not yet known, but I trust that as we continue to create space for respite, renewal, and transformation, many more will find this community a place of welcome as well.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The Beginnings of All Souls, Chapter 5
We have looked at early views of the church and its interior, now lets look at parishioners. Two of the early members, and strong supporters of All Souls, were Charles Fremont Pond and Emma McHenry Pond. Charles was born in Connecticut in 1856. Emma was born in 1857 in Temescal Rancho (now Emeryville), the daughter of Judge John McHenry. In 1880, early in Charles career as a naval officer, Lieutenant Charles Pond and Emma McHenry were married. Emma was the first woman pupil of the noted California artist William Keith and became a noted artist in her own right.
The Ponds lived at 2621 Ridge Road and are listed in the 1900 census in Berkeley. Their house was replaced by a new building which became Beta Theta Phi and later Chardin Hall of the Jesuit School of Theology. In 1902, as a Lieutenant Commander, Charles was the Executive Officer on the U.S.T.S. Pensacola, a training ship, based at Yerba Buena. In 1910, he was listed in the census as Captain of the U.S.S. Pennsylvania, an armored cruiser, stationed in the Bay Area.
On January 18, 1911, the U.S.S. Pennsylvania, anchored in San Francisco Bay, received the first aircraft to land on a ship. The same airplane took off again later that day (but not the first ship take off). The U.S.S. Pennsylvania had been fitted with temporary wooden “flight deck” built over the stern.
On August 29, 1916, Admiral Pond was ashore while his flagship, U.S.S. Memphis, anchored off Santo Domingo harbor. A tsunami resulting from a passing hurricane caused the U.S.S. Memphis to be hit by monstrous waves and driven aground. There was some question as to whether the ship’s captain was under orders from Admiral Pond to not keep all boilers up to steam.
John (Jack) Graves, who was baptized at All Souls on Easter Sunday 1916, told me that he remembered Admiral Pond with his Van Dyke beard and formal black cloak marching up the aisle to his pew.
– Thomas Burcham
EcoJustice Weekend: Safeguarding Climate, Food & Water
Mark your calendars for a weekend of learning, fellowship and reflection on EcoJustice with folks from around the Diocese of California, and special visiting guests, including the Most Rev. Michael Curry, our Presiding Bishop. A range of events will take place May 19 and 20 in San Francisco. Stay tuned as more information becomes available!
Friday, May 19 | Day of Inspiration | Grace Cathedral
- Morning Plenary: Racial Reconciliation, Justice, Food, and the Environment, with the Rev. Cn. Stephanie Spellers and Melanie Mullin
- Morning Panel: Moderated by Malcolm Young, Dean of Grace Cathedral
Bryant Terry, James Beard Award-winning Afro-Vegan chef and activist
john a. powell, Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion at the Haas Institute for Fair and Inclusive Society
Aaron Grizzell, Executive Director, Northern California MLK Foundation
- Lunch by James Beard Award-winning Afro-Vegan Chef Bryant Terry
- Afternoon panels with Bp. Marc and guests; topics include securing water and wheat, and sustainable farming
- Breakout sessions and time for networking
- Evening Reception
- 7 p.m. Eucharist with The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop
Saturday, May 20 | Day of Action | Golden Gate Overlook
- 9 a.m. Eco-Confirmation at the Golden Gate Overlook in the Presidio, officiated by The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop
- Morning and early afternoon participating in family-friendly service projects reaffirming commitment to EcoJustice
More details, including registration, to come — watch diocal.org/ecojustice!
Haiku for Lent
One of the ways All Soulsians are tracing the path through Lent this year is by writing haiku together. By sharing it on social media and on paper in the narthex, we’re getting down to the essence of what we’ve lived in just a few words. We’ll be sharing a selection of poems today and in the weeks to come. It’s not too late to join in – just look for the prompts on Facebook, or see all of them here, and share away.
We are dust whirling
blown by wind through air we fly
morphing into shapes
From dust we ignite
our spirit kindles within
thus burning brightly
tracing marks of death
in ash, a strange way to tell
friends that you love them
Home, dirty forehead.
My son asks, as always, why?
Me: We’re dust. Him: How?
Blessed from birth to death
by the dance in the middle
turning us to dust.
marked by unfamiliar dust
breathe and flow forward
Lent – austerity
Giving up, yet giving in
Sweet peaceful silence
After Rome, for years,
Reverse fasted: ate the meat,
gave up giving up.
simplicity, then? To do
more with less. Just this.
Oh great Mystery,
unfamiliar to your world,
lead us into life.
The ground is too soft
For this unfamiliar growth
God is my strength
beckons to me silently
and I hesitate.
Walk with me a while
Down an unfamiliar path
Where the Spirit leads
Don’t fret, it’s simple
Watch this path here, not beyond
Where the fog rolls in
I want chocolate
But it’s Lent so I abstain
Do I miss the point?
Breathing with intent
Searching for elusive path
If we strip it all
back to the bone, or just the
rawest heart – then what?
Truth or beauty or
some God-awful nothingness?
Or maybe just grace.
Meeting the ineffable
Tasting bread and wine
The Spirit plays the playa
They dance and hold and…
Sets the yearning heart on fire
Spirit enters in
The journey is long
Often with uncertainties
My help is in faith
I’m too cranky to
square this haiku. I blame Lent.
The journey’s long already.
Wherever you are
In your spiritual journey,
You are welcome here.
“One foot in front of
The other,” they sang to me.
Then I tripped again.
There was a time when
I worried about time
Now I just let go
the sprout pushes up
bringing hope and comfort to
all who are ready
– Keller and Richard
A volunteer sprout
the existential question
to pull or not to…..
The little green sprout
pokes cautiously through the soul.
Is it time yet, God?
A sprout pushes up
Through the soil into the light
Roots stretch out below
I didn’t do it.
What are we talking about?
Oh, that. Yes, I did.
Guilt is always found
In not enough, gone too much
But love is found here
that spreads, chokes the thorny ground –
white guilt is a weed.
To “live with your guilt”
Was my grandmother’s advice
I choose repentance
un·du·lat·ing waves re·dound
The rain falls upon
The just and unjust alike
Is this true abundance:
To have more than I need today?
Unsure. Perhaps. If shared.
Love in abundance
Water poured onto my head
A sip of wine, bread.
Is not a win-win.
Not an investment or fair trade.
It is lost. A gift.
let the cool air shatter you
then be in heaven
What true sacrifice
are we willing to offer
for Earth’s well-being?
20s and 30s – Phoenixes Brunch
Interfaith Immigration Vigil
Join us at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond 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. The immigration vigil is usually held the first Saturday of every month. However, in April it will take place on Sunday, April 2, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm with a Passover Seder.
Stations of the Cross
Seeking your photos!
For the past ten years, All Souls has created custom-made, artistic interpretations of the Stations of the Cross as a way for parishioners and friends to deepen their experience of Christ’s Passion and come close to the mystery of Easter. You are invited to participate in the creation of the fourteen Stations by sharing images that resonate for you when reflecting on the stages of the Passion. Perhaps it’s a moment in nature, an event, a design encountered on your daily commute, or a detail in a painting that comes to mind. We envision this as a practice which continues and builds throughout Lent, with visual reflections offering another point of access into Christ’s journey.
Please email your photo(s) to both Jocelyn Bergen (jocelyn@zephyrine. com) and Michelle Barger (firstname.lastname@example.org) in high-resolution format (JPG, PNG) — alternatively, you can simply send photos taken on your phone directly to us. We may need to make adjustments to your image to best fit the display format, and we’ll do our best to include as many of your images as possible. Questions? Feel free to email Jocelyn or Michelle.
For your reference, the Stations are listed below, including words and phrases which the Arts at All Souls group have found useful in guiding the creation of previous Stations of the Cross installations.
Station 1 Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Fear, anticipation, anxiety, prelude
Station 2 Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested
Sorrow/deep sadness; struggle, alone, alienation
Station 3 Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
Fear, hatred, revenge, power, exclusion, bigotry, control
Station 4 Jesus is denied by Peter
Betrayal, denial, weakness, anxiety, sorrow, regret, Peter: self-protection
Station 5 Jesus is judged by Pilate
Resignation, dignity; legalism, policy
Station 6 Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
Station 7 Jesus takes up his cross
His journey, not what was done to him; taking control, ownership, accountability; met his destiny
Station 8 Jesus is helped by Simon to carry his cross
Compassion, community, support, unselfishness, outsider coming in/being pulled in
Station 9 Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
Love, femininity, compassion, mourning, motherhood
Station 10 Jesus is crucified
Eradication, fulfillment of promise, finality, cruelty, torture
Station 11 Jesus promises his kingdom to the repentant thief
Salvation, forgiveness, hope, promise
Station 12 Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other
Love, continuation, projection, new generations, passing torch
Station 13 Jesus dies on the cross
Finality, despair, grief, aftermath, finite, hopelessness, darkness
Station 14 Jesus is laid in the tomb
Love, honored, rest, respect, sorrow, cold
Here are some examples to help you start seeing this story in new places:
Keeping Vigil in Holy Week
A tradition at All Souls, and around the world, is to keep vigil the night of Maundy Thursday in remembrance of the events after Jesus’ betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane and his arrest. At the end of the evening Maundy Thursday service at All Souls, we will process as a community to the chapel where we will leave from there in silence but members of our community will take shifts throughout the night keeping vigil. If you would like to help keep watch, email Erin Horne to sign up for a one hour slot from 9:00 pm to 8:00 am, April 13-14. For more information, contact one of the Vestry chaplains, Bob Holum, Erin Horne or Kat Lisa.