From the Associate for Ministry Development
Dear All Soulsians,
As most of you know, I’ve just come back from a six-week sabbatical from my work here at All Souls and am feeling very grateful for the time away and also energized to be back. I will say that I feel a little rusty in writing this letter to you all as I have not done much writing during my time away. So, then, what did I do while I was away from All Souls? Overall I was less productive than I imagined I would be; instead, I took the time to think about what it is that I’m doing, and how I’m doing it.
At the start of my time away I connected with an old friend who decided to sabbatical with me. We wrote five questions that helped shape the six-weeks and had weekly check-in calls to see how things were going, to process the week that was, and to name some goals for the week ahead. So with that structure to my time, I set out to reset some imbalances in the workload of the Hansen Curran house, spend some concentrated time working on the new Sunday Night Service I’ve been kicking around for a couple of years, and to build new rhythms for my body and mind. Also, to start chipping away at the massive to-do list that accompanies buying an older home 🙂
I’d say that mostly all of these things were accomplished (it was 9p on the last night of my sabbatical when I finally planted the last tree that had needed planting in the yard), but what I’m mostly excited to mention here is the work I got to do on this Sunday Night Service. Most of you don’t know, but on Easter Sunday evening at 5p we hosted the very first service. There were just a few of us there––only those who had been helping with planning the service––but it served as a data point for the work I hoped I could do during my sabbatical. As exhausting as it was to pull that service off after a very full Holy Week and Easter Sunday, I’m really glad we pushed to do it then. It was good to have that data point before I did a lot of the theoretical work around putting together this liturgy. First, I read Stephanie Speller’s new book, The Church Cracked Open. A great book, and one that encouraged me to keep going with creating this service now and in this place. Then, I slowly worked through Ruth Meyer’s book, Missional Worship Worshipful Mission. This proved to be an extremely helpful guide so that I ended up with the proposed liturgy for this Sunday Night Service in one hand and Ruth’s book in the other. What I have now is a new draft of the liturgy for the second of the Sunday Night Services, and a much greater understanding of why things are the way they are (liturgically).
Other sabbatical fun facts: I dug. I dug up so much dirt and weeds, and weed cloth from my yard; I demoed a structure in my backyard; with the help of the Rev. Maggie Foote and her mitre saw, I installed new baseboards in my kitchen; Simone potty-trained herself fully and we also hosted a 2nd birthday party for her; I installed my first light fixture; I watched the entire show “Halt & Catch Fire”; I cooked lots of dinners; we had some indoor dinner parties (!); I put just over 200 miles on my e-bike; and I spent a lot of time trail running with our dog Scout and Simone (in the stroller) in Wildcat Canyon and going for walks at Albany Bulb. I continue to be amazed at the generosity and support of this place. I’m also very excited to be back and feel energized to move into this new phase of Church in the summer of 2021.
-Emily Hansen Curran
From the Rector
Mixed Presence, Together
The challenges of making church this past year have been many. Moving centuries of practice and gathering online in a matter of days. Discovering ways to serve in person that are safe and doable. Learning how to worship outdoors, sometimes with singing, and finding ways to stream that online at the same time. Trying out new mediums for virtual gathering and learning so that our hearts and minds can continue to grow. All of this has been challenging, and, for the most part, we have found a way into most of them, most of the time. One constant is that it has always been changing.
The change continues, but thankfully in a hopeful direction, as for our next pivot, we will be online and in-person for worship, gathering, and learning. Thank God for the middle school teachers in our midst who have blazed the trail with the “roomies” and the “zoomies.”
On Sunday mornings we will continue our 9am Eucharist in the courtyard, and now we will be in the church at 11:15am for Eucharist. (and this Sunday, for Pentecost, with four baptisms!) Please do register on the home page of our site so that we know how close we are coming to the capacity of our spaces.
Both services are BYOC (bring your own chalice), and here I’d invite you to be creative. What vessel holds that meaning for you? Is it an heirloom passed down from your grandmother? A mug your child made in the 3rd grade? A trusty camp cup that has made it up and down the Sierras?
Current guidelines from the state are that we mask and distance, though that will likely change with the upcoming guidance in mid-June. Congregational singing is allowed outdoors at the 9am, though not yet indoors at the 11:15am. And, our classes at 10:10am will be both in-person (Reparations & Restorations in the Parish Hall and scripture study in the Chapel) and on Zoom so that wherever you are, you can join in to learn.
If you aren’t ready to be in-person, either indoors or out, you can continue to participate in our classes on zoom and stream the 11:15am Eucharist on our site and on Facebook. No matter where you are, we look forward to being present, together.
From the Justice & Peace Committee
All Souls wades into the water
Most of us All Soulsians don’t keep tabs on the agenda of the Vestry, or the decisions that are made by that body. For the most part we are just glad to have 12 dedicated parishioners who are willing to donate their time to the myriad issues that come up in the life of a thriving church community. Since we don’t follow along closely, it is worth highlighting one recent Vestry action that is somewhat outside the norm of their usual business. On April 21, the Vestry decided that All Souls Parish would endorse the passage of two legislative bills pending before the California legislature, both dealing with our criminal justice system, specifically the way we decide how long to imprison those convicted of crimes.
I didn’t realize it until recently but we have a well-defined process for the Vestry to follow on this type of issue; our written Endorsement Policy is linked here. I worked with a core group of Justice & Peace members to prepare the draft letters of support, including the theological and scriptural foundation for our recommendation. The larger Justice and Peace Ministry team reviewed the letters at our April 2021 meeting and everyone supported sending the letters to the Vestry for approval. Janet Chisholm (J&P Chair) and I were invited to the Vestry meeting to provide further detail and answer questions.
Following the thoughtful discussion with Vestry members and Fr. Phil, we signed on to letters in support of SB300 and SB483, which are linked here and available for you to review. We are indebted to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights for highlighting the specific bills for support, as part of their 25 years of work on behalf of criminal justice reform and racial equity. This action is also traceable to the expanded awareness that a sizable portion of our congregation feels as a result of the Sacred Ground process. I’ve heard it from many of my fellow Sacred Ground participants in one form or another, “I gained a lot in terms of awareness and knowledge of our shared past, how do I use that to make positive change in the world around me?”
From my perspective, one piece of the answer to that is that we have to be intentional about shining a bright light on the systems of injustice in our midst, and living out the exhortation of the prophet Isaiah to be the “repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in”. In our current Adult Formation series we are focusing on that call. The rest of that Isaiah 58 chapter strikes me as a blueprint for a righteous life that clearly requires action in pursuit of a just and compassionate community life, starting off with “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.” It doesn’t describe a passive existence, where we can ignore injustice unless it affects us directly, or that we can find solace in the fact that we as individuals didn’t inflict the harm we see around us.
My own growth in knowledge and understanding derived from Sacred Ground was rooted in the fact that I am a child of the late 1950’s. I found some rather glaring holes in my history education around racial oppression and white supremacy. But as important as it is to fully grasp the impact of slavery and Jim Crow, I know those systems didn’t happen in my lifetime, so I became much more attuned to the systems of injustice that have been developed and implemented while I have been a largely passive citizen of this land. That leads straight to mass incarceration. That was a phenomenon of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, and I’ve been reflecting on what I was thinking at the time. The ideology of mass incarceration was propagated while I was a young adult, and while I remember having some unease with the most extreme policy prescriptions that were put forward, I couldn’t see it for what it was: a fundamental repurposing of the criminal justice system to be the primary enforcer of racial hierarchy. We were told in all kinds of messaging that criminals were just a different sort of humanity, an irredeemably bad lot that had to be locked away for as long a possible, and it was just a whole lot easier to believe that these lawless miscreants were different from us good folks because they were a mostly a different color. You just can’t keep doubling your prison population every few years if the people you are putting behind bars looks like they could be your family members. Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow) reminds us, “Today there are more African-Americans under correctional control – in prison or jail, on probation or parole – than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”
This brings us back to these two pieces of legislation that All Souls Parish is now on record as supporting. One seeks to reverse the current mandate on judges to impose a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole – the certainty that an individual will die inside prison walls – on those whose criminal culpability does not include the killing of another human being (SB300). The other bill would remove sentencing enhancements (added prison time) for prior drug offenses for those already incarcerated. In recent years the legislature eliminated drug enhancements for new cases, so this bill simply extends current policy to those who were convicted in prior years (SB483). It is policies like these that have filled our prisons beyond capacity, and have victimized black and brown communities far more than the rest of society. Eliminating these relics of the mass incarceration era are important steps toward being “repairers of the breach, restorers of streets to dwell in.” We can start by repairing the harm done during our lifetimes. We can speak with a clear voice that our faith – and especially our baptismal covenant – requires us to be activists for justice. My church community, All Souls Parish, is speaking in that clear voice, pointing us in the direction of justice.
-Don Gates, on behalf of the Justice & Peace Committee
From the Diocese of California
Deacons: The Bridge Between the Church and the Needs of the World
They minister to the homeless. They distribute food to people who cannot afford to adequately feed their households. They provide supportive services for the mentally ill. They work as chaplains in hospitals. They also serve at the altar, proclaim the Gospel and preach sermons in church.
They provide a bridge between the church and the needs of the world.
They are deacons, one of the best-kept secrets of the Diocese of California. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry recently called the diaconate a “sacred and core ministry of the Episcopal Church.”
The Venerable Hailey McKeefry Delmas has a keener insight than most people into what it means to serve in this ministry. A resident of Belmont, she was ordained as a deacon in 1999 and has served several parishes around the Diocese. She also served as a chaplain at Stanford Hospital and Clinics, was the first deacon to chair the Commission on Ministry, and has served as administrator of the School for Deacons for the past two years.
And to emphasize his recognition of the breadth of her knowledge and experience, Bishop Marc Andrus recently appointed Hailey as Archdeacon for the Diocese. She serves as one of two Archdeacons, along with the Ven. Nina Pickerell.
How on earth did she end up doing this?
“When I was in high school, I felt a call,” she said. Mary Lou Taylor, who was a graduate of the School for Deacons in the Diocese of California, led a convalescent home ministry. Hailey went along with Mary Lou once to visit some patients in a nursing home, and Hailey’s path was set. “She gave me a list of patients and said, ‘These are your people.’ And from that day on, I felt a responsibility for my people.”
Hailey later married and moved to New York, where she again found herself active in parish work. “One of the priests there knew that I was trying to discern whether I should study for the ministry. He told me, ‘You can run but you cannot hide from God if you are being called.’ So I entered a program and came to the realization that my heart just was not into becoming a priest and running a church, but I was very interested in working directly with people.”
She returned to the Bay Area six months after being ordained in the Diocese of Long Island. She was placed at Church of the Epiphany in San Carlos. Three years ago she began splitting her time between Epiphany and Church of the Transfiguration in San Mateo, facilitating a growing collaboration between the two congregations.
Over the years her ministry spread to include California Clubhouse, which provides support services for people diagnosed with mental illness. She now serves on the board for California Clubhouse.
So what exactly does a deacon do?
“I’ve always thought that every baptized Christian, in response to their faith, needs to find a place to use the gifts they have been given,” Hailey said. “My job as a deacon is to get to know people and what’s going on in the world around them, and point them in the direction where they can do the things they promised in their baptismal vows.
She said there has been a renewal in the mission of the diaconate in the past 30 years. “Deacons are almost like translators. The church often does not speak in worldly terms, and the world in turn does not speak in churchy terms.” Deacons act as the bridge.
No single job description could ever illustrate the work they do. “We are like part-time secret agents out to change the world. But every deacon does it differently, and that’s why there’s so much confusion. You’ll find deacons helping the elderly, helping the homeless, advocating for change through various organizations… there are as many ministries as there are deacons. Deacons are the reminder that what we all believe has to be translated to how we all act in the world.”
Hailey and fellow Archdeacon Nina hold Zoom meetings with the rest of the deacons every two weeks. “We have 65 deacons residing in the Diocese, including those who are retired. Of those 65, 40 are working deacons while the rest are retired but often still actively helping.”
One leads worship and a feeding program called Open Cathedral in the San Francisco Civic Center every Sunday; another is a military chaplain; one provides ministry at San Quentin; some serve as hospital chaplains; another works with the Braid Ministry for youth; some help administer food pantries or housing for the poor.
There has been a complaint in years past that, because most deacons receive little or no pay, only the wealthy can afford to pursue the ministry.
“It used to be an elite ministry, skewed toward older, retired people who were well-off enough to have the time,” Hailey agreed. “But that has changed. When I was ordained in 1999, most deacons were more than 60 years old. But we have many younger people now, and they are very good at letting us know what’s needed in the world outside the church.”
Hailey sees her role as administrator at the School for Deacons as an extension of her ministry. “It (the curriculum at the school) provides an opportunity for postulants to get exposed to and involved with many types of ministry, and then we push them out the door. We equip people to recognize the gifts that God has given them and to decide how they want to use them.”
If a member of the church seems to be hearing a call to ministry, what should she or he do? Speak to your priest, Hailey suggests. If, after discussion, the idea still feels right, there is a process for discernment. The Holy Spirit will lead the way. But if one would like to first talk it over with Hailey, she can be reached at email@example.com or http://scatteredrevelations.com/. The website for the School for Deacons is at https://schoolfordeacons.org/, and the page on discernment is at Seeing the Deacon in our Midst — School for deacons.
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 for the live stream of Sunday’s 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.
Additionally, you can try out live streaming our 11:15 service to a Zoom call, so that you can participate in church with fellow parishioners. Click here to get into the 11:15 Zoom call, and please send us a note this week about your experience with this new mode of virtual church!
Wednesday Mornings: 9:00am PDT
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.
Restorations and Reparations at 10:10am on Zoom with the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers and guests.
This class meets in person in the Parish Hall, in addition to the Zoom call.
Over the past year, All Soulsians have been pondering questions of racial justice, healing, and reconciliation. This class will explore questions of restoration and reparation, inspired by the promise of the prophet Isaiah, “You shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in” (Isaiah 58:12). In conversation with leaders from the wider Episcopal Church, we will explore foundations for the work of racial reconciliation in scripture and Christian tradition, and consider next steps we might take individually and as a congregation. This class is open to all and is intended to be complementary to the Sacred Ground groups and the fall class “Carrying the Cross Together.”
May 23: The Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, Bishop of Maryland. Under Bishop Sutton’s leadership, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and in September 2020 approved a $1 million dollar fund for reparations. In 2019, Bishop Sutton testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the 116th Congress in support of H.R. 40 to commission a study of reparations.
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
In person Children’s Formation takes place in the courtyard this Sunday at 10:10am.
Youth group meets this Sunday, May 23rd, at 3:00pm in the courtyard. Hope to see you all there, and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list!
Other News & Notes
Soulcast: Our Weekly Video Announcements
Church Divinity School of the Pacific Commencement is this Saturday!
Join us online for the the 126th Annual Commencement Exercises of Church Divinity School of the Pacific on Saturday, May 22 at 10:30 AM Pacific Time.
The commencement address will be offered collaboratively by honorary degree recipients the Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and the Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, managing director of the College for Bishops.
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.
Stephen Ministry: We are here for you!
2020 was a challenging year, right?! Most of us have been struggling and overwhelmed. You are not alone. Stephen Ministers understand and are available to listen, support and pray for you. We can offer you a confidential caring relationship or an occasional phone call to help you through these ever-changing times. Contact Maggie Foote at (513) 309-1079 or Madeline Feeley at (510) 495-4512 so we can be there for you.
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: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.