From the Rector
We Cannot Remain Numb
Feeling numb is a normative response to a traumatic event. It’s one of the responses of the human body to an act of violence or destruction or pain outside of our control. Alongside hyper-stimulation (or arousal), feeling numb to yourself and the world around you can be a telltale sign that you have witnessed something traumatic and/or have given witness to someone else’s trauma. Feeling numb is part of our body’s defense system when we experience situations that are profoundly damaging.
So, it is not surprising that many of us around the United States are feeling numb this week. Following the targeted murders of Black folks shopping at the grocery store in Buffalo, and the shooting of Asian Americans at church in Laguna Woods, an 18 year-old young man stormed an elementary school in southwestern Texas this week and used an assault rifle purchased on his recent 18th birthday to murder 19 fourth graders and 2 teachers. The sight of this massacre is so heart-breaking that becoming numb is an understandable response.
And, we cannot remain numb, offer prayers and move on. To remain numb is to tamp down the collective response of the body to grieve, to reflect, and ultimately to take action. We have to feel the pain and the dislocation enough to want to create change. Over time our nation has come to accept that this is normative, that the murder of children and elders is acceptable. Lamentable, but acceptable.
There is no other country in the world that allows the killing of its citizens to this degree outside of war. It’s not even close. It is a sick and twisted form of American exceptionalism.
I do not yet know what form the collective action will need to take, just that it will need to be considered and sustained. And that I am placing my trust that the Spirit will guide us, and that our part is to be faithful in response. And I do not know whether or not the actions that we as a nation take will ultimately be successful, as were the actions of Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, all countries that responded with successful comprehensive legislation following mass shootings in their countries.
But as many others have said in the past couple of days, refusing to take action is making an active choice. It is choosing to accept that aggrieved individuals, almost always men, will be free to take the lives of others and that the only choice in return is that everyone else take up arms and be willing to take the life of another.
As a follower of Christ I believe this to be a fundamentally false choice, and one that I refuse to make. I do not believe that the Prince of Peace, the one who calls us to lay down our lives for one another (as Dr. John Cheng courageously did in Laguna Woods), asks us all––at the grocery store, at church, or at school––to be prepared to kill. There must be another way. There is another way. We forsake it at our peril.
From the Vestry
May Meeting Update
During our vestry meeting last week we began the meeting reflecting on how to love our neighbors as ourselves led by Nydia MacGregor. Something that is easy to say, but hard to practice with so many deep divisions in our society.
We discussed the racially charged mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, claiming 10 lives, a direct consequence of when people don’t live in unity. When disunity is present it invites fear to take over and acts of hatred and violence are committed. This week unfortunately we were once again faced with another horrific act of violence leading to 21 lives lost in Uvalde, Texas.
As usual our vestry meeting was packed with many items on the agenda including discussing our living waters capital campaign, reviewing the current state of the adult formation ministry, and receiving an update from the rector on the life of the parish.
This year each member of the vestry has been meeting with members of each ministry team to learn about their current state and looking for ways to help each ministry focus on its strengths. Tim Ereneta walked us the current status and opportunities for our Adult Formation ministry.
Richard Lynch joined us to report on the progress of our living waters capital campaign through which our parishioners have demonstrated their generosity and commitment to building a sustainable future for our parish and the communities we serve. The vestry then voted to tithe 10% of the total income from the Living Waters Campaign to local organizations in our community who are aligned with the vision of All Souls, and the Living Waters Campaign.
Lastly, Phil’s rector report was filled with good news with highlights from Jordan Court celebration and progress on our associate for Music search.
Overall, we had a great vestry meeting. It’s been great to meet again in person to discuss our parish life.
From Parish Life
The All Parish Campout is back!
But, with a twist!
Join us July 15th-17th at Pine Grove Resort and Campground in Cobb, California! Before we get to the details, you may be wondering about why we aren’t going to Big Sur like usual. There was a miscommunication between us and the Santa Lucia Campground and they gave our weekend away to another group. We have tentatively penciled ourselves in for next year in Big Sur, so we’re checking out this new location on a trial basis. If we love it, we can return, and if not, we’ll go back to Big Sur in 2023.
Ok, here’s why I’m excited about Pine Grove: This is a private campground, and we have booked the entire group camping site which means we’ll have tons of space to bring up to 100 people! There are two pools (one chlorinated, and one natural spring-fed!) as well as a creek, on the property so there are lots of opportunities for recreation. There is a fire-pit and a cob oven, and plenty of places to sit and eat. They have newly renovated bathrooms (with showers) as well! Check out their listing on HipCamp for pictures if you’re interested.
This will be a weekend full of fun, relaxation, and time to connect with other All Soulsians. We’ll have a pizza party using the cob oven on Saturday night, and a Eucharist service on Sunday morning, otherwise this is mostly unstructured fun with occasional pop-up activities! Feel free to bring games and activities to share.
As in years past, each family is responsible for bringing their own food for all meals and snacks except dinner on Saturday night, which will be the pizza party sponsored by All Souls. Drinks are not included.
The cost of this event is $150 for a family of four or more, $125 for a family of three, $100 for a family of 2-3 if the third person is a child under 12, or $50 for an individual. If this cost is prohibitive, financial assistance is available. Use the sign-up form below to indicate that you will be seeking assistance.
If you and your family would like to come, please sign up using this form no later than June 30th (but preferably as soon as possible!). More information about payment and check-in procedures, etc. will be emailed to you after you sign up.
We’re looking forward to a great weekend!
Save the Dates
June 5, Pentecost
July 15-17, All Parish Campout
August 19, All Souls at the A’s Game
September 16-18, All Parish Retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch
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 optional.
Then join us in the Parish Hall 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!
Wednesday 9am Service
Join the Zoom call here, or join us in person in the Nave at 9a. Password: 520218.
Living Waters Capital Campaign
Adult Formation Classes
This Sunday: All classes are on a break this Sunday for the holiday weekend.
Next Sunday, June 5th:
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Contact Kate Murphy, firstname.lastname@example.org to join that Zoom call, or join them in the Common Room!
- 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.
Children, Youth, and Family News
- Save the Date: June 24th, How to Raise an Anti-Racist: a presentation by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- Youth in grades 6-12, save the date: June 26th for our Walking Pilgrimage to San Francisco!
- See the most recent Children and Family Bulletin or Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.
Other News & Notes
From Justice & Peace
- Racial Justice Dr. Ibram X. Kendi will be speaking at First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley on his new book How To Raise an Antiracist Child in the evening on 6/24. Contact Don Gates to get tickets, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer Book Club
Part 1 (June 19 – July 17): A Short Course in Merton
Even as Thomas Merton continually aspired to the more monastic existence, he never disengaged from the most vital political conversations of our modern age, those regarding culture, social justice, literature, and religion. For All Souls’ first summer book club we’ll read two signature works as introduction to Merton in his entirety, touching on his work as social critic and contemplative.
The first three weeks will be devoted to Merwin’s Contemplative Prayer, published in paper and with an introduction by Thich Nhat Hahn. Contemplative Prayer is also available in audio- and e-book formats.
During our final week we’ll focus on his The Wisdom of the Desert, published by New Directions in paperback, also available as an e-book and on Audible. This volume of Merton’s translations of sayings and parables was one of his own favorites—he had hoped to spend his final years in the manner of the fourth century Christian Fathers in the deserts of the Near East, seeking solitude as a hermit.
June 19-July 17 **Please note: The book club doesn’t meet on July 3rd.
Part 2 (July 24 – August 7)
Part 2 – Please Vote for the book we will read in the second half of the summer. Voting will start soon in the narthex.
We have four possible books for our mid-summer book group. They are:
Colum McCann Apeirogon: A Novel
Omar al Akkad What Strange Paradise
Charles Blow Fire Shut up in my Bones
Peter Gomes The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart
Longer descriptions will be available soon in the narthex. Look for the jars and marbles and cast your vote!
Check out Season 5, Episode 19 of the Soulcast!
Spaghetti Again, our parish men’s group, will meet for dinner and fellowship on Monday May 31 at 6 pm in the Parish Hall. Please contact Bob Cross (415.602.3865) or Kirk Miller (415.505.0106) if you would like more information.