From the Rector
Journey to the Heart
Our journey to the Upper Room, the Cross, and the Empty Tomb has begun once more. It’s always fascinating to me that even though we tell the same stories year after year, since the world around and the hearts within have changed, we walk these steps anew each time. It’s for this reason that we are framing our time in Lent and in Easter with the landmarks of the pilgrim’s path, and specifically of a labyrinth.
The labyrinth and the pilgrim’s path felt right for our current moment for many reasons. One is that like a labyrinth, the realities of the pandemic have felt like we are winding back and forth and back again for years. But unlike our recent experiences, labyrinths lead to a center. It’s not like a maze, instead there’s a path that leads to the heart of the sacred space and then leads back out again. For this reason, as our labyrinth builder Lars Howlett taught us on the Soulcast a couple of months ago, labyrinths can serve as, “a certain path in uncertain times.” In fact, the practice of walking labyrinths seems to consistently re-emerge at times of crisis and chaos in human history.
For centuries the season of Lent has served as a time to become more aware of our bodies and how our bodily selves are the medium of our spiritual lives. It’s why we fast from food and why we serve others. It’s all so that, as we heard in Dan Carlson’s Ash Wednesday sermon, we can lessen the grip that the little d deaths have on us. And our bodies lead the way.
We also take these steps to soften our hearts. As you can hear in this week’s Soulcast, our Parish Admin, Annie Rovzar has made many pilgrimages on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Annie’s description of this intensive weeks-long pilgrimage shares the same goal as our day-to-day Lenten pilgrimage––the engagement of our bodies so that we might journey to the heart of God. As the saying goes, the journey actually is the destination. Or, to paraphrase our Godly Play stories, there are many weeks of Lent and Easter because it is such a big mystery that if you don’t get ready for it you can walk right past it.
So. If you haven’t yet, download the pdf of this year’s Lenten booklet. Then, sign up for a Soup + Story or a Zoom + Story to join with some companions on the way. Whether you let your fingers do the walking, explore some of the labyrinths scattered around the bay, or use the streets of your neighborhood, set aside time and space each day to pray, listen, and consider.
The heart of God awaits, let’s walk the path together.
The Pilgrim’s Path
Find Your Center in God
A labyrinth is a kind of ancient pilgrimage, a circuitous path inward to a center that winds back out and into the world again. We move our bodies through the labyrinth, which becomes a lived metaphor and engages our senses. The stillness of meditation and contemplation is juxtaposed with the action and dynamism of our walking bodies and focused (or sometimes yearning) minds.
Some say that labyrinths are based on medieval maps of Jerusalem. The sites and events in Jerusalem are foundational to our Christian faith. It was the movements of the bodies of the faithful to visit these sites as events happened and afterwards to investigate and pray. It was these early pilgrim visits and encounter with sites, events, and each other, which led to our Triduum rituals and the liturgies for this period which we enter with Lent into Easter and beyond. These events were unprecedented and traumatic, also most wonderful and salvific, though ultimately incomprehensible with reason and witness alone.
Jesus appears to those on-the-move and to those awaiting healing and nourishment.
Labyrinths have origins outside and before Christ and our church, but the Christian labyrinth practice, though shrouded in much mystery, also was rebirthed in the Anglican tradition with origins in the pilgrimage journey of the Rev. Lauren Artress to the Cathedral at Chartres in France. This medieval labyrinth design is the one we have reconstructed today in the Jordan Courtyard. Rev. Artress, a priest of Grace Cathedral, re-kindled our focused engagement with this design, said to represent or ‘map’ on a smaller scale, the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. We faithful do well to experience this relationship and mapping by walking its route.
Both pilgrimage and labyrinth-walking differ from an adventure or the challenges of a maze. Labyrinths and pilgrimage aren’t about ‘exploring’. Rather, you know where you are headed and can receive the blessing of an opportunity to release many tensions surrounding our lives as we know them outside of these movement-based forms of worship. In the labyrinth and also on pilgrimage, our attention can be focused prayerfully, but also honed and broadened with simply the principle of following the path and remaining open to receiving the signs that lead and guide us.
For many there are profound inner journeys instigated by such practices, though expectation of experience is its own distracting burden. Anatomical tensions build around expectation by its holding and carrying. Often, the outward journey of our footsteps can make the space for the inward journey of our souls.
This booklet encourages reflection and provides a paradoxically simple though intricate structure for our pilgrim journey reflections and meditations through Lent, resting centrally at Easter for the events of the Triduum and then the return ‘home’ from the upheavals, confusion, grief, and astonishment associated with the cross, resurrection, and our sending forth.
You are encouraged to carry yourself through this period with only the expectation of reaching Jerusalem at the Labyrinth’s center, bit by bit for the events of Easter.
In this season think about how movement and embodiment influence your observance, veneration, worship, and ministry. How can we best prepare ourselves physically, psychologically, and spiritually for the changes God awaits for us? Can we let go of what we know, cease striving, and sink into the processes of waiting, jubilation, challenge, sacrifice, salvation, and renewal?
How completely can we wonder at and with those who were there, the events that occurred, and allowing their experiences to speak most deeply to our own bodies’ lives, deaths, and beyond?
So, walk the labyrinth and better yet, walk to the labyrinth to walk it. Or even utilize a finger labyrinth tracing the route with your hand. Enter the path this Lent and Easter, find your center in God again, and take this with you into the world.
-Michael Drell, Seminarian
From Adult Formation
Reconsidering Sin and Salvation
Adult Formation – March 6, 13, 20, 27
Scott MacDougall, Associate Professor of Theology, CDSP
Contemporary Christianity in the United States often thinks of sin and salvation in one of two ways: it makes them the absolute center of theology and practice, or it downplays them almost to the point of being invisible. What would happen, though, if we reconsidered sin and salvation? That is, what difference might it make if we thought about them more robustly again in places where they have slipped from view, on the one hand, and if we thought about them differently in places where they are almost the sole focus of attention, on the other?
In this four-part Lenten series, we will reconsider sin and salvation in both of these senses of the word.
- March 6th – “Self and Society” — we will take a theological look at what it means to be a human being in our place and time.
- March 13th – “Sin” – we will use that view of the human condition as a starting point for exploring what the concept of sin does and does not mean.
- March 20th – “Salvation” – we will clarify what it means to say that God overcomes sin, and this will allow us to think together about how this happens.
- March 27th – “Sanctification” – we will address what all of this means in terms of Christian life and practice.
Throughout the series, these reconsiderations will be based on scripture, theology, and the Anglican tradition, in conversation with our own lives and experiences. Scott will be presenting in person and we will also be sharing this via zoom.
Save the Dates
March 6, First Sunday of Lent
April 10, Palm Sunday
Holy Week: April 14, Maundy Thursday; April 15, Good Friday; April 16, Easter Vigil
April 17, Easter Sunday
Join us at 9am, in-person, outdoor service in the courtyard. 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.
Or (and!) join us indoors for the 11:15 service or on the live stream at 11:15a, 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. At our 11:15 service, masks are required.
Then join us outdoors at 5p Sunday Night Service for a Eucharistic Service.
If you miss a Sunday, you can always catch the sermon on our homepage or as a podcast, anywhere you listen to podcasts!
Due to the CDC mask mandate, masks are required for all large indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status. This also applies to when you visit the church offices during the week. Thank you!
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
We have just three classes being offered this Sunday:
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Contact Kate Murphy, firstname.lastname@example.org to join that Zoom call.
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:10a. This Bible Study meets in the Chapel downstairs or on Zoom. Contact Daniel Prechtel, email@example.com to join that Zoom call.
- Reconsidering Sin and Salvation with Dr. Scott MacDougall @10:10am.
- March 6th – “Self and Society” — we will take a theological look at what it means to be a human being in our place and time. Scott will be presenting in person in the Common Room and we will also be sharing this via zoom (click here to enter the Zoom call).
Children, Youth, and Family News
Join us this Sunday at 10:00am, for Sunday School! Children Pre-K-Grade 3 will meet downstairs in the Godly Play classroom. Grades 4-5 will meet upstairs in the Sunday school classroom.
Youth Group and Office Hours continue this Sunday for youth in grades 6-12. Meet in Maggie’s office at 10:00am for a donut and check-in, then join us for youth group from 7:00-8:30pm in the Parish Hall!
Other News & Notes
There is a super easy way to give to All Souls––for either a one-time donation or for your ongoing pledge––that is through an app called Vanco Mobile (what used to be called GivePlus). You can find this app through the app store on your phone. Once downloaded, search for All Souls Episcopal Parish and you’re in! If you’d prefer not to download the app, you can just as easily give online through our personalized online donation page by clicking here.
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!
Check out Season 5, Episode 10 and our new series on pilgrimage.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lenten Soup + Story Small Groups
It’s that time of year, again! Soup + Story is a small group program that we host during the 5 weeks of Lent. This year, we’re going to offer a few different tracks of engaging our
Soup + Story programming: one in-person in parishioners homes or in the church courtyard (we’ll likely ask for vaccinated & boosted folks only for indoor gatherings, but if you can host outdoors at your home or in the courtyard at church, then that will not be required or advised), one over Zoom, and one individual track. If you’re interested in hosting a Soup + Story group in any of the forms listed above, please contact Emily, email@example.com. These groups will start the week of March 6th and will meet weekly until the week of April 3rd.
What is the Catechumenate? The Catechumenate is a class where we teach about the Episcopal Church in an attempt to give an idea of what this Episcopal church and faith tradition are about. Folks who take this class (called Catechumens) will learn from a number of thoughtful people in this community and hopefully get a glimpse of Episcopal theology, history, and structure, as well as how to use the Book of Common Prayer and some ideas on how to read the Bible. The class will meet on the six Sunday evenings of Lent (March 6-April 10) at 7p in person and on Zoom. All are welcome, even if you’ve been an Episcopalian for a long while. But, if you are looking for an introduction to this tradition or are hoping to be baptized (whenever that can happen), Confirmed, Received, or Reaffirmed into this tradition, this is most certainly the class you’ll want to take. I hope that many of you will join this year’s class as we attempt, together, to wrestle with what it means to be an Episcopal sort of Christian in our world. If you have any questions or would like to sign-up, you can write to Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Episcopal Summer Camps––Save the date!
Interested in Episcopal summer camps for your kids? While registration has not yet begun, the dates have been dropped. Check out the latest with all the dates and descriptions of camps!
The Bishop’s Ranch: click here
St. Dorothy’s Rest: click here
Associate for Music Position
As many of you know, Dr. Jamie Apgar, our beloved Associate for Music, will be leaving us this spring. The job posting for his position just went live today, click here to read about it (or pass it along to a potential candidate!).
Adult Formation Committee wants your input!
The Adult Formation Committee is in early stages of planning for the summer reading group and the calendar for the 2022-2023 season. We would love to hear your ideas about:
- What book or books might you recommend for the summer reading group?
- What classes would you like to attend next year?
Suggestions of both topics and speakers are welcome!
Please send your ideas to Anne Yardley (email@example.com) before March 7th. Thanks for helping to shape our communal learning opportunities!
The Sunday Night Service is on a podcast!
One of the new attenders at our Sunday Night Service is the creator and host of a podcast! Over the last few months she has interviewed some of the core team for the Sunday Night Service and created a podcast series that ended up being about the new service here at All Souls! It’s quite an honor and it’s a well-done podcast, too. If you’re interested in hearing the life stories (or some of them) of Emily Hansen Curran, the Rev. Maggie Foote, and the genesis and impetus behind the new service, check out the whole podcast series! It’s called the Abbey Normal podcast (click here).
Living Waters: Renewal for our Second Century Capital Campaign
The Living Waters team invites you to visit (and bookmark) the new module of the All Souls website to keep track of our campaign efforts, http://www.allsoulsparish.org/capital-campaign/. There you’ll find an overview, FAQs, campaign calendar, resources, and general announcements about our effort. We also invite you to read our first newsletter, if you didn’t already see it in your inbox. We look forward to communicating with you through the website, email, print, and social media in the weeks ahead.