From the Associate Rector
Confirm not Conform
Prior to the revision of the Book of Common Prayer in 1979, Confirmation in the Episcopal Church was required before one could receive communion. At that time, the Book of Common Prayer identified Baptism as full initiation into the Body of Christ, and it became the sole prerequisite for communion. (As an aside, many Episcopal churches practice what’s called an “open table” which doesn’t require Baptism before communion, but that’s a conversation for another day!)
So, if confirmation is no longer a requirement for communion, and baptism is considered full initiation into the church, this begs the question: why? Why have confirmation at all? One possible reason, among many, is the opportunity to publicly reaffirm one’s faith. Especially for those who were baptized as infants, this can be an opportunity to claim one’s faith for one’s self.
If reaffirmation of faith is one reason to do confirmation, then a deeper dive into the Christian faith and a period of discernment should precede the rite itself. Hence, Confirm not Conform.
Confirm not Conform is a program for young people to help them navigate this deeper dive into the Christian faith and period of discernment that can, in some cases, lead to participation in the rite of confirmation. Beginning in November, High School aged youth at All Souls are invited to participate in Confirm not Conform. This will be a series of classes, visits to other churches, service, and a retreat that will allow us to explore our faith more deeply, wrestle with hard questions with peers and mentors, and discern whether or not confirmation feels like the right choice for each individual at this time. I want to emphasize that the goal of Confirm not Conform is not confirmation. The goal is deep discernment and engagement with the Christian faith.
If you have high schoolers in your family who may be interested in this, please reach out to me for more information, or plan to attend an informational session on October 23rd at 10:10am to hear about the plans for and expectations of the program.
And if you don’t have a high schooler in your family, I welcome your prayers for the young people who will be participating in Confirm not Conform throughout this year.
From our Vestry
September Vestry Meeting Summary
The Vestry convened in the Common Room for our September meeting with a full agenda. Don’t get me wrong. We never really have an empty agenda and this is a good thing. Our conversation lasted 2 and half hours and covered those very topics on which we’ve spent much of our time this year. We continued to engage in careful listening and learning to take stock of ASP ministries, large and small. This time we examined parish communications, in particular the website and its challenges. We reviewed plans to support a successful Living Waters Campaign, particularly ensuring that we invest those funds in alignment with the campaign’s vision and congregational input. This has required and will require more listening. We heard about the unfolding process of fully integrating our Jordan Court neighbors into the ongoing operations of All Souls. Listening again to those who are genuinely, if surprisingly, in our midst. Finally, we heard the one-year-anniversary story of the Sunday evening service and its gift of welcoming those who thought they might be outside the community of the church.
Pushing back from the table at the end of the meeting, I stretched. Over two hours of close listening can leave a person tight in the joints. But my heart was light and at ease. For what we had concluded was a business meeting in name only. Similar to the Parish Retreat, we heard stories that evening, the stories of our community. The challenges and heartbreak (sometimes), and the joy and creation that we witness and, if all goes well, steward. The time together offered the opportunity for meditation on that mystery revealed in this community and time to discern how to continue in that Light-giving work. We will meet again this month to pick up the tasks.
From the Jordan Court Community Team
Have you considered volunteering to share your skills or interests with our neighbors at Jordan Court now or in the future? If so, come join the All Souls Jordan Court Community Team to prepare to enter into this neighborly relationship with care and intention.
This training, led by Wendy Calimag and Emily McDonald, takes place on Sunday October 23rd from 1:00 to 4:00 in the Common Room, and includes lunch. All are welcome to attend this valuable training even if you have no plans to volunteer at Jordan Court, but simply want to be more intentional about relating to people whose experience or background is different from your own. Wendy & Emily will cover topics like: building an intentional community, approaching trauma when you don’t know it exists, and racism as trauma/power as privilege.
Wendy Calimag is the co-President of an organization called Forward Together Action, an organization that works to evaluate how existing power structures help or harm families and “pushes for the changes needed to create systems that serve all of us” (see https://forwardtogetheraction.org/about/). From her bio: “over the last 15 years, Wendy has been committed to uplifting the experiences of girls and women of color. Prior to coming to Forward Together, Wendy served in senior and executive roles in girl-serving organizations in Oakland and San Francisco, developing and supporting civic engagement, reproductive health, and college and career readiness programs for middle and high school girls from under-resourced communities.”
Emily McDonald is a Case Manager for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness in the public mental health system. Emily has a passion for providing mental health services and has been working in the nonprofit sector in housing services for 10 years. Emily is a disability rights advocate verse in running support groups, educating people on mindfulness and self-soothing techniques, and teaching people independent living skills.
We are asking that anyone who would like to volunteer over in Jordan Court in any capacity go through this training to ensure that we share common understandings. If you are planning or hoping to volunteer but cannot come on the 23rd, please contact the team members: Emily McDonald, Cathy Goshorn, or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVP to this same address so that we can provide lunch for you!
Save the Dates
- October 12, Book Launch party for Phil’s new book
- October 16, Spiritual Autobiography Information Session
- October 29, Parish Garden/Clean-up Day
- October 30, Stewardship Celebration Dinner
Join us for worship this week:
- 9am, in-person, indoors
- 11:15am, in-person, indoors. (click here to access the live stream)
- 5p, Sunday Night Service. In-person, indoors in the Chapel.
You can access the live stream through our website or by tuning into our All Souls Episcopal Parish Facebook page. Click here to watch on Sunday morning.
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.
Adult Formation Classes
There are three class offerings this Sunday:
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Click here to join by Zoom, or join them in-person in the Common Room.
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:15a. Click here to join by Zoom (Meeting ID: 811 8105 6561. Passcode: 516358), or join them in-person in the Common Room.
- Toil & Teleology. On October 2, 9, 16, and 23rd in the Parish Hall and on Zoom. What is work for? Why does it matter for us Christians and as a Christian community? Join Dr. Scott MacDougall and the Rev. Phil Brochard as they explore the demands of Pharaoh, vocation, statements of ultimate value, the meaning of economy, the Protestant work ethic, and what it means for each of us to labor as an element of Christian practice.
Children, Youth, and Family News
Children Pre-K-Grade 5 are invited to join us in the courtyard at 10:10am for the second of our four week series on Animals, Monsters and Spooky Stuff in the Bible!
Youth Group continues this week! Office hours in the Youth Room at 10:10am and Youth Group meets from 7-8:30pm in the Parish Hall on Sunday.
Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.
Other News & Notes
Vital Christian Community Book Launch Party
Come out for a fun evening among friends and colleagues to celebrate the publication of Vital Christian Community, by The Rev. Phil Brochard and The Rev. Canon Alissa Newton.
Details about time and place are in the graphic above. Jose Quinonez, founder of the Mission Asset Fund, MacArthur Genius, and local Episcopal lay leader, will also interview Phil and Alissa about the book, why they wrote it, and the hopes they have because of it.
You can RSVP here. And, if you haven’t yet bought Vital Christian Community at your local bookstore or online, limited copies will be for sale at the party. Alissa and Phil will be glad to inscribe something for you or your beloved.
Come celebrate with us, and invite others to join you!
If you’re able to help with this event by helping with set-up or clean-up or food, get in touch with Jeannie Koops.
Church Office Hours: Staff & Clergy can be reached Sunday-Thursday by phone/text/or email. Tuesday-Thursday from 10-5p you can find staff & clergy in the office. You can reach an on-call clergy at any time by calling our church offices and pressing “8” for the on-call priest.
Spiritual Autobiography Small Group All Souls will begin offering an ongoing writing workshop/small group this fall. Meeting in person as a small group at church one evening a month, we’ll work to create for one another the loving environment we all need to tell our own stories to ourselves. This workshop will be open to writers at all levels of experience. If you’re interested, please come out to the information session on Sunday, October 16th just after the 11:15 service, in the Common Room or October 18th in the evening. Feel free to reach out to either Jane Vandenburgh, the instructor, or Emily Hansen Curran for more information.
Save the Date – Parish Cleanup Day Autumn is upon us, and hopefully the rainy season too. We have some work to do to prepare the All Souls Parish campus for the upcoming winter: gutter and drainage cleanout, trimming of trees and bushes, leaf raking, sweeping of the courtyard, and general cleanup of the outside of the church buildings. Please join us Saturday, October 29th for a day of rigorous outdoor work with your fellow parishioners. Start time is 9:00 am, with a break at around noon for pizza lunch (provided) and completion in the early afternoon. Bring your yard tools, gloves, and dress for outdoor work.
Contact Kaki Logan (Landscaping Sub-Committee Chair) or John Cockle and Martín Ortega (Property Maintenance Sub-Committee Co-Chairs) with ideas and/or questions.
SAVE THE DATE: “Sacred Earth: Growing Beloved Community”
Featured voices include: Bishop Marc Andrus and Rev. Ambrose Carroll, Founder of Green the Church. October 13 at 7 pm. Join the launch of this monthly video podcast series, featuring global and local visionary leaders in the field of climate justice and creation care. Information, inspiration and Action, with music and spiritual practices supporting a vital life and thriving world. Hosted by the Sacred Earth Team: Canon Amy Cook, Dr. M. Paloma Pavel, Richard Page, and Dr. Sheila Andrus. The registration and zoom will be provided by the diocese and the link will be available next week and will be the same every month.