From the Rector
Surprised by Joy
I was recently in a conversation with a colleague about the surprising nature of joy. And then, this past Sunday, I experienced it. The conversation was with a colleague who is reading the book Melancholy Joy with his congregation. And in our conversation he shared that, “joy is gratuitous and comes on us unexpectedly.”
I had never thought of joy as something that comes as a surprise, something that sneaks up on you. But these words immediately rang true, especially in the context of this past year and a half filled with isolation, confusion and fear. When moments of joy erupt, it’s not because of a 21 point plan. Joy doesn’t arrive as a prescribed amount. Joy just shows up and you almost can’t help but exult with it. It overflows the bounds we have set up to hold it.
This past Sunday at All Souls, as we celebrated our feast of title on All Saints Sunday, was one of those moments for me. As over 125 All Soulsians––children, youth, adults, elders––as we all walked through the studios and offices and apartments, I began to see in others and experience in myself a sense of collective euphoria. Smiles and laughter and even some tears. Memories of the old parish house surfaced, “That’s where I had a middle school overnight!,” “Your new office is where my bedroom used to be!” Wonderment abounded in that hour, as people walked through this long-held dream, marveling at the light in the rooms, the thoughtful design, and the sparkling Bay and Gate on the horizon. Time seemed to stretch out in front of us, and unexpectedly, gratuitously, joy was everywhere.
It’s not that we hadn’t spent hours and days and even years preparing for that open house. We had. Dozens of people have poured thousands and thousands of hours into discerning, planning, and preparing for this day. In spite of it all, we had made it this far––through the gauntlet of the planning process, the intense competition for funding, the myriad trials along the way. (Someday soon I want to make an illustrated map of our journey, with all of the dangers, toils and snares.) I have the sense that knowledge of the hardship was some of the source of the joy, as joy, unlike happiness, encompasses the pain and tribulation of the journey. And maybe that’s what made it even more extraordinary: amidst all of the anticipation and challenge, unexpected joy broke through.
That morning in Jordan Court and in the days since Sunday I’ve realized another thing about joy––that there’s nothing that we are supposed to do with it. There’s no way to capture it, or even to hold on to it, if that means controlling it. Joy can only be acknowledged, experienced, shared, savored.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Giving thanks to God for the path we’ve followed up to this point, remembering and expressing my gratitude to all those who made that glorious day a reality, and reveling in the joy made visible in the faces of many.
From Stephen Ministry
Four years ago, I sat on Liz Tichenor’s couch in the parish office, crying, again. She handed me a tissue and asked with the patience of a priest, “Would you consider talking to a Stephen Minister?”
I was hesitant: nothing was so terribly wrong as to send me back to therapy. Now don’t get me wrong – I love therapy! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the talented therapists of my early adulthood. But now I was simply dealing with the ordinary ups and downs of adult life: work, marriage, parenthood, ailing family members, and my struggle to discern who and how I wanted to be in all these evolving relationships. My questions were moral and existential. I didn’t need a therapist, I needed a priest. “It’s not therapy,” Liz+ said, reading my uncertainty. “A Stephen Minister is really just a specially trained listener. They walk with you while you’re going through something. And I know one who I think might be just right for you.”
A week later, I met Christina, my Stephen Minister, a woman closer to my mother’s age than mine, who had walked much of the path I was walking now. Every week, we met for coffee, and I would talk, first about the small crisis that had brought me into Liz+ office that day, then through the next small crisis, and the next. Everyday life never fails to provide. As I talked, Christina would reflect back what I said, helping me to feel deeply heard and understood. Her skillful questions helped me move towards greater clarity about my values and my priorities. But what was perhaps the most powerful gift of all was the quiet, subtle way she manifested Christ’s love for me, helping me to discern my own strength and resilience, my gifts and my calling, helping me to move towards self-love and thus a deeper capacity to love others. Talking to her, I came to understand my strange life as walking a path of faithfulness to something I can’t quite explain but believe in deeply.
When the pandemic hit, our weekly coffees turned into phone calls and text messages, temporarily digitizing our communication through the rollercoaster ride of zoom kindergarten and medical scares. In a painful period when my relationship with the parish nearly severed, she was the thread that kept me connected, and eventually pulled me back in. Stephen Ministry has been one of the greatest gifts of being part of this community, not simply for the rare (at least in mainstream American culture) joy of intergenerational friendship, but because it is one of the ways we can find Christ’s strength, healing, and wholeness in our relationships with each other.
-Sarah Bakker Kellogg
From the Stewardship Committee
A pledge now is just a little more helpful …
One of the reasons we have our pledge campaign in the Fall is to allow the finance committee and vestry to understand the income they will have to run the church starting in January.
We are always grateful to receive a pledge, but it worth all the more if it can be a part of the budgeting process from the beginning.
That process begins now, starting this weekend. The finance committee is taking the pledges we receive through this weekend and using them to draft a 2022 budget.
If you are planning to make a 2022 pledge, please let us know by the end of the weekend. You could:
- Click here to access the All Souls’ pledge form.
- Put a pledge card in the offering plate at church
- Mail a letter with a pledge card today
- Let us know you plan to continue using automatic bill pay and at what amount.
In the past two days we have sent over 80 emails asking people to let us know their pledging plans. Already we have heard from 8 people sharing their pledging plans for 2022 – some have pledged, others have let us know they’ve moved and others have said they will not be pledging. Whatever the answer, knowing those plans helps All Souls make its plans.
Save the Dates
(*see “Other News and Notes” for more info on events)
November 14: Family Hike – 3:00pm at Inspiration Point in Tilden
November 21, Baby shower for the Rev. Maggie Foote & Andrea after 11:15 service
November 28: Advent Festival – 5:00pm
November 28: Advent Windows Begin!
Join us at 9am in the courtyard, in-person. At this service masks are not required. If it is raining, this service will move indoors where masks are required. Don’t forget that this Sunday the clocks fall back one hour!
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, come back at 5p for the launch of our newest service, the Sunday Night Service in the courtyard.
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.
Due to the new CDC mask mandate, masks are required for all indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status.
We have three offerings for Adult Formation this Sunday:
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Contact Kate Murphy, email@example.com to join that Zoom call.
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study at 10:10 in the Common Room (and on Zoom). Contact Daniel Prechtel for the Zoom link, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Resurrection, Part 2 in the Parish Hall (and on Zoom)
Resurrection Class part 2 taught by the Rev. Michael Lemaire. This class begins the second part of the three part series on the resurrection. Last spring we explored the range of beliefs that were present in the pagan and Jewish community about life after death. In this second part, we will explore the resurrection as reflected in the letters of Paul. The writings of Paul predate the Gospels by 20-40 years and are the earliest articulation of the Christian understanding of resurrection. By exploring Paul’s conversion, his early teaching in 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians and his late in life reflection in 2 Corinthians, we will try to understand what the early Christian community understood happened to Jesus, what that meant for those who followed him, and how those beliefs evolved through time. Please feel free to join us for one or more of the classes as you are able. The class will meet in the Parish Hall at 10:10a, October 24, 31, November 14 & November 21 and on Zoom (click here). All are welcome (even if you didn’t catch part 1!).
Next up in Adult Formation?
Starting November 28th we’ll have a set of new classes!
The first is our regular (we offer it twice per year) Newcomer Class. If you have not been to one of these and/or if you have just started attending in the last 6 months to a year, this is designed for you. The Rev. Phil Brochard & Emily Hansen Curran will lead us through four weeks of the history, values, and practices of All Souls as well as some time to get to know each other. You can find the class in-person in the Common Room or on Zoom (click here). Meets November 28-December 19th.
The second class is a three-week series of All Souls partnerships here in the Bay. We’ll hear from representatives from the YSA Tiny Home Village, the Episcopal Impact Fund, and from SAHA. You can find this class November 28-December 12th in the Parish Hall or on Zoom (click here).
Children, Family & Youth News
Sunday School meets on Sundays at 10:10am for children in Pre-K through 5th grade. Read the Family Bulletin for more information! If you’d like to receive updates about this, but do not subscribe to the Family Bulletin, please email Maggie Foote (email@example.com) for more information.
Youth Group continues Wednesday, November 17th at 7:00pm! Meet at 10:10am in Maggie’s office for Office Hours (a donut and a check-in)! If you are (or have) a young person between 6-12 grade, and are not a part of the google group for youth group updates, please email Maggie Foote (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and to get added to the list!
Our next Family Hike will be this Sunday, November 14th at 3:00pm at the Inspiration Point trailhead in Tilden. Meet at 3, and we’ll start hiking at 3:15!
Other News & Notes
Soulcast: Our Weekly Video Announcements
You may have missed In-Gathering Sunday last Sunday, but you can still make a pledge to All Souls for the 2022 year! Head over to the Stewardship Season 2021 page on our website for more information about how to give and to find the electronic pledge card.
Thanksgiving Day Service
We will not be hosting a Thanksgiving Day Eucharist this year. If you’re hoping to get to church that day, St. Mark’s in Berkeley is having a service at 12p that day.
UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021
COP26 Closing Event: Report Back from the Presiding Bishop’s Delegation. As the 26th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change draws to an end on November 12th, gather with Episcopal advocates and ecumenical partners for this closing event. Our Presiding Bishop’s Delegation will offer reports from their witness at the conference, as well as top line summaries from the negotiations. We will finish with a faith-led vision of the future for Episcopal advocacy around climate change. Click here to register to attend on Zoom.
Shower for Maggie & Andrea’s New Baby!
On November 21st, just after the 11:15 service, we’ll host a baby shower for the Rev. Maggie Foote and her wife, Andrea. We’ll have tacos & drinks and we’ll shower them with love (and some material gifts). We’re asking for gifts of cash (you can venmo Molly Nicol directly @molly-nicol or send a check to the church with “Maggie & Andrea” in the memo line). We’re also collecting baby books (new or used) that have meant something to your family over the years to give to them (you can bring the book(s) directly to the shower). Hope you can make it!
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 (email@example.com) or Stephen Ministry Leader Madeline Feely (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our Stephen Ministers are ready to care for you!
Ongoing Canned Food Drive
You can always bring food on Sundays and place it in the “Berkeley Food Pantry” basket in the Narthex (or in the courtyard for the 9am service).
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.
BYOC (Bring Your Own Chalice)
We’re looking to build up a store of reusable chalices so that we can stop using disposable chalices each week for the Eucharist. If you have a few small vessels around your house that you’d like to donate, please bring them and leave them on the back Narthex counter. You can watch this episode of the Soulcast to get a better idea of what we have in mind.