From the Rector

Wholehearted Thanks

For the next few weeks we will engage in the practice of holding up, giving thanks and blessing areas of our communal life at All Souls. This week we will recognize those who serve in our community, in the many ways that emerge from this parish––through meals and tutoring, intent listening and loud praying. In the weeks to follow we will be giving thanks for the teaching and learning that happens at All Souls, and then the worship life and all who give themselves to it.

This notion of expressing our gratitude in our Sunday morning worship doesn’t spring from whole cloth, of course. For several years we have had a practice of inviting people to offer their thanks to God as we approach the table for the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving. Often the thanksgivings have been for birthdays or anniversaries, other times they have been about changes in health or work, revelations about identity, or remembrances about those whom we love but see no more.

At each service, though, the intent is the same: to re-engage our stance of gratitude to God for the particular gifts that we receive and for the gift of life itself. This is the same intent that we wish to hold for these communal thanksgivings during this time in October. Because, all too often, if we don’t pay attention, the work of compassion and mercy offered by members of All Souls Parish goes unseen. Our hope is to recognize the remarkable gifts that are being offered, pray for those who come close to God through these acts, and listen for how they call us to new ways of offering ourselves in this parish, this community, and in the world.

If you have participated in service, teaching, or worship ministries in the past year, we hope that on the week those ministries are recognized you will come to the crossing before the table at the appointed time in the service to be held up and blessed by all. The expectation is that this will be a practice all can participate in, both through our coming forward and in reaching out our hands to offer God’s blessing.

As we make a practice these next weeks of recognizing these particular efforts at All Souls to make manifest God’s vision, I hope you will be able to see what I see: that people are excited to give of themselves for this greater good and that we can be a more active presence in the transformation of our local community in the ways of justice and mercy. We are ready for this place to be one of deep hospitality, inviting many in to this experience of God’s grace.

May this Sunday and the Sundays to follow be just the first glimpses of thanksgiving for all that we have received, have given, and are returning to God once more.


In Thanksgiving for the Life of Bob Kaiser

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Bob Kaiser passed away peacefully on October 5th. Please hold Nancy Snow and the rest of his family in your prayers. Arrangements for his service are forthcoming.

Bread of Life

When recent health issues led me to remove gluten from my diet, I went through a period of adjustment to be sure… no more trips to Acme Bakery, or snarfing of the amazing bread placed on the table before a restaurant meal. As my new patterns of eating and food preparation settled in, what surprised me was that possibly the most difficult thing to give up was weekly communion bread at All Souls.

I had always loved the bread used at communion at All Souls. I remember the first time I visited and received communion thinking to myself, Yum! Good bread! Not cardboard wafers! Every week it has been a sweet reminder of the love and care offered up in so many aspects of our worship together.

When I got the news from my doctor that a weekly dose of gluten is not on the agenda going forward, I was both relieved to recall we have a gluten-free option at church, but wary of what it would taste like. And, sorry to say, I am having trouble with the current offering, partly because of the taste, and partly because the pieces are already sliced up. The combination of them being in a container separate from the other bread (for obvious reasons) along with the pre-slicing makes me feel left out now, in a way I wasn’t anticipating.

I’ve been struggling with how to address this, most of the time telling myself to be grateful that at least it’s available at all! But I cannot help the thoughts that come each time I receive: Is the symbolism of this ruined because I’m eating rice and not wheat? Should I wear a label so I don’t have to verbally ask for it in front of everyone, every single time? Why do I feel like I’m being punished? How would I feel if I had never had the other bread to begin with?

At our recent parish retreat, I learned that the bread to be used at communion was ALL gluten free, so everyone could receive in the same way. I was delighted at this prospect, and indeed felt much more included with the rest of the congregation. It seems like a small thing, but it felt big to me that day. A sprout of hope emerged that the gluten-free bread offering might be change-able someday.

Recently, Mo. Liz Tichenor presented me with a sample of some delicious, wheat-y and grain-y textured gluten-free homemade bread, for which I was very grateful. She told me it is from a recipe provided to her by our former seminarian Andy Shamel. Below is the recipe – I encourage anyone interested to try it out. I dream of the day that we could have bread like this at communion, as one loaf broken apart for all of us.

– Jocelyn Bergen

Gluten-free, Vegan Communion Bread

2½ cups warm water
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup ground chia seeds or 1/3 cup ground poppy and sesame seeds
1/3 cup whole psyllium husks
1 cup garbanzo fava flour
1 cup tapioca flour
½ cup sweet rice flour
½ cup cornmeal
1½ teaspoons sea salt

Put the warm water in a bowl. Add the yeast and honey and whisk together. Let rest for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast.

While the yeast is activating, mix the flours and the salt together in a large bowl.

After the yeast is good and frothy, whisk the olive oil, maple syrup, ground chia or poppy and sesame seeds, and psyllium husks into the water-yeast mixture. Let stand for just 2-3 minutes. Whisk again.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until thick. Then knead the dough on a floured wooden board, adding the flours a little at a time, until the dough stays together and is just slightly sticky. Form the dough into a ball, put in the large bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Put it in a warm place to rise.

After the dough has risen, put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.

Punch down the dough and return it to the floured wooden board. Knead for one minute, then form it into a round ball and place it on a piece of parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross on the top, then drizzle with additional olive oil. Let it continue to rise for about 30 minutes while the oven and stone are preheating.

Use the parchment paper to place the risen loaf on the pizza stone in the over. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about an hour.

Family Choir

Family choir is just that: families with kids, singing together!

As a mom I am concerned with providing a broad developmental range for my kiddo. We are constantly being told how studies show that speaking to babies while still in the womb brings comfort and that even having pretend conversations with nonverbal babies from birth increases their vocabulary and reading skills. Music is just one of those ways in which we communicate and develop. Being in a group environment is another way to learn other desired skills, like listening, sharing, and following the leader, for our children’s future. Beyond that, I’m also regularly asking myself ‘how do I balance and juggle my family and spiritual life when the workday is done?’

Sure, you’ll see Ed, myself, and Inara on Sunday mornings up in the choir, and I’ll send her off to Children’s Chapel and Sunday School, but I’m usually focused in a very different way during that time. Maybe it’s a bit selfish or self-preserving, but I want to worship and listen to the sermon without worrying if my child will explode into tears at any moment because she has two of the same color crayon. But I also value the little bits time we have together and want to share with her the joy I receive in praising and praying through song and to be able to open the door of possibilities in her own personal relationship with the Lord. I think of young Moses and the time he had with his birth mom before being adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. What an amazing spiritual seed she planted for him to reject the Egyptian ways of cruelty and prosperity and to humbly become one of the most famous leaders in biblical history! Family choir gives our family this opportunity. I can focus on her experience, I don’t need to be concerned with how her noises will impact the congregation’s worship experience and she can take joy in singing with her peers as well as with Mama.

I’ve invited many families to join us, and often parents are concerned that their voices aren’t great or that they can’t read music. That’s okay; most of the kids are developing their voices too! Would you consider joining us to learn a little musicianship in praising God? It has been a big encouragement for Inara, its the reason she has decided to join Ed and myself in the choir and has a little robe of her own. She asks, “are we going to Family Choir?” every week!

This choir doesn’t require robes. It’s simply about giving the next generation the space to explore another avenue in which they can fully participate in church and build the foundation for their own personal spiritual relationships. We do hope to sing one or two songs at special congregational events for the fun and joy of it too.

We meet on Wednesday evenings starting on October 22nd from 5:30-6 pm, giving us the opportunity to work with Christopher Putnam, our organist and choir director, on the same evening which the choir and Angel Band rehearse.

Sign Up Here

We hope you join us!
– Alisa & Inara Hofmann

Wholehearted Giving: Stewardship Celebration Dinner

October 26, 5:30-7:30p

At the retreat recently, many of us engaged in powerful conversations about transformation in our lives and about how we have experienced love at All Souls. Savoring the abundance of our life together, we will explore what it means to give back with our whole hearts. The extra-fabulous potluck and rich conversation with friends new and old always makes this evening feel like a great dinner party. There will be music, prizes, reflections on another vibrant year of life in our parish community, and an inspiring look ahead. Please join us for this special event! Sign up online here, via email to, or at the coffee hour station in the narthex on Sunday.


Parking this Sunday
Sunday Streets Berkeley is closing down Shattuck Avenue from Rose to Haste this Sunday October 12th from 11 am – 4 pm. Some streets will likely be closed off earlier, so you may want to plan your route to church accordingly.

Phoenixes Barbecue
The Phoenixes, our 20s and 30s ministry, is hosting a barbecue in the All Souls courtyard this Saturday October 11, from 5pm until around 7:30. All are welcome, including and especially children. Meat and veggies will be provided to grill, but please sign up to bring sides, desserts, drinks, etc. to share.

TrailHeads, an occasional hiking group, will be hiking on Sunday October 19, meeting at 2pm at Inspiration Point in Tilden Park. The hike is fairly gentle, out and back so people can choose their comfortable distance. All are welcome! Questions can be addressed to Madeline Feeley or to Nancy Pryer.

Loaves and Fishes
The first Loaves and Fishes meal of the year will be held this Saturday, October 11th. All are welcome at this fun and informal potluck. Please contact Gloria Bayne for more information.

Education for Ministry
A few spaces are still available in our EfM (Education for Ministry) program! This benchmark program for adult Christian formation is a deep immersion in Holy Scripture, prayer, and Christian community. The group meets on Thursday evenings and will begin for the year in mid-October, or as soon as two more people join. EfM students need not be members of All Souls, so share the word with neighbors, coworkers, and others who might be looking for this kind of in-depth formation. The more perspectives, the better! If you are interested in newly starting the EfM program or have completed a year or more and want to continue, please contact Ari Wolfe at