From the Associate Rector
A memory from college came back to me recently. Maybe it was because at the thanksgivings at the 9:00am service, one of our own All Soulsians announced that they were leaving for college this week, and that we wouldn’t see them for a while. In any case, the other day I found my mind transported back to my freshman year dorm room at The Ohio State University (yes, the “THE” is important.) I was having a bit of a hard time adjusting to college life, generally, and my grandmother, with whom I was very close, had just died, and on one particular day I found myself in need of some solace.
I thought to myself, I’m a Christian. I have gone to church almost every Sunday of my whole life. I should look in the Bible for some comforting words. As I sat at my desk, which was stylishly located under my roommate’s lofted extra long twin bed, and got out my Bible, I was suddenly at a complete loss. I didn’t know where to start. Where should I look to find the kind of comforting words that I was seeking? Would it be in the gospels? The Old Testament? The psalms? I decided to go with the ol’ “I’ll just open it up to a random page and trust that I will find what I need in there” trick. While I don’t recall exactly what passages I opened to in my few attempts, I do remember that I didn’t find the solace that I needed. And I also remember feeling a little dumb for having looked in scripture at all. I wasn’t plugged into a faith community in college, aside from the church camp that I worked at over the summer, so I didn’t feel like I had anyone to help me navigate my feelings and learn how to use the resources of my tradition.
This is an experience that I don’t want for the young people leaving All Souls for college, or moving away from home (and their faith community) for the first time. I don’t mean the specific experience of not understanding how to read the Bible, I mean the feeling that came over me when I realized I didn’t know how to engage with my faith tradition for myself, without a priest, or a youth minister, or a Sunday school teacher, or a choir director there to help me. I had spent Sunday after Sunday in church, and week after week in youth group, and summer after summer at camp, and countless overnight lock-ins, and I didn’t know how to practice Christianity for myself. Now, this is not to say that those experiences weren’t formative, because they were. And they were also what kept me in the church in the long run; I was seeking relationships and communities that made me feel safe, and known, and loved, the way I had always felt at church and camp.
But, I didn’t know the first thing about an individual practice of Christianity, and how to claim it for myself.
Earlier this week, Phil and I were discussing youth ministry here at All Souls, and we identified four core practices that we hope that our youth (and all All Soulsians, for that matter) would develop here in this community, and carry with them into their futures. We plan on practicing them over the years, and learning them together. They are:
- Prayer: How do I pray? How do I use the resources of my tradition (scripture, the Book of Common Prayer, etc.) to engage in personal devotion? How do I find communities in which to practice corporate prayer, and why does that matter?
- Christian ethics and theological reflection: How to use the values and principles of Christianity as a lens through which to view the world. How to make decisions about politics, relationships, career discernment, what we do with our bodies, etc. with a foundation in the Christian faith. How can we train ourselves to be aware of the presence of God in the world around us?
- Relationships: How to build and maintain relationships of all kinds and communities with a basis in the love of Christ.
- Service: serving those in need in a way that is life-giving for all.
My hope for the children and youth of this parish, is that some day in the future, when they find themselves adrift and in need of solace, that there will be a deep well for them to draw on, and that they will feel confident that, at the very least, they can claim the core practices and foundation of the Christian life.
Introducing our new Seminarian
Hello All Souls Parish. I’m Dan Carlson, one of the new seminarians for this academic year. I’m currently beginning my third (and final) year of seminary, and I feel incredibly grateful for the chance to spend time this year connecting with the All Souls community. Prior to moving to the Bay Area for my studies, I worked at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, Ohio as their Director of Fresh Expressions. While the title sounds a bit like I managed the Cathedral’s produce section, in reality my work in Cincinnati centered on developing new expressions of intergenerational church community. Much of my work centered on the planting and development of a worshipping community very similar in vision to the new Sunday Night Service at All Souls. I’m looking forward to assisting with this new evening service community—’church planting’ work of this sort is my real passion in ministry. It’s incredibly exciting to be here as the Sunday Night Service is taking form, and I’m eager to learn from Maggie and Emily as they nurture this new expression of community at All Souls.
I’m looking forward to connecting with the full spectrum of life at All Souls, but the mission of the Sunday Night Service has a special resonance for me due to my own faith journey. I was raised deep within the evangelical world and worked for a pair of evangelical churches for most of my 20s—yet in many ways the most formative part of my spiritual journey was the decade I spent after leaving evangelicalism; a decade spent feeling that there was no real place for me within the church. I’m grateful that I eventually found my way into the Episcopal Church, but I often reflect how easily I could’ve missed it. I now think quite a bit about how my ministry might somehow support those who are on similar faith journeys—journeys away from old ways of being Christian which no longer work for them and in search of a more life-giving experience of Christian faith.
Other things about me: I spent over a decade of my life as a jr. high/high school history teacher—primarily working through nonprofit programs and a federal grant which allowed me to develop new ways of teaching history through games, simulations, and storytelling. I’ve also worked as a freelance illustrator for the children’s publishing market (I have a BFA in oil painting) and as an art teacher for various age groups. I continue to have a deep interest in the intersection of faith and art. I’m a big fan of mythology, fantasy, and science fiction, with a special life-long love of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I’m married to singer-songwriter Kim Taylor (kim-taylor.net) with whom I parent one son, Griffin (a recent college graduate!) and three rescue dogs (Camilla, Thora, and Lucky).
If you see me around, please stop and say hi!
From the Stewardship Committee
Stewardship Survey at Kickoff
The 2022 Stewardship Campaign is going to kickoff on Sunday, September 26th in the Parish Hall. It will end on October 24th when, as usual, we ask you for a financial pledge to support All Souls in 2022.
But to start the campaign we want to try something new – a stewardship survey; in real time.
In previous Kickoffs, we have invited the group to privately reflect on generosity or giving and then share with the person sitting next to them. And that face-to-face conversation was as far as the conversation went. The church at large never learned what the congregation was thinking about the topic.
During the Kickoff this year we will present a brief survey on stewardship and giving. Each person will be able to use their smart phone to go to a website to answer the questions anonymously. Presentation software will aggregate the anonymous responses and display them in real time. We will also have non-tech ways for people to participate, although there will be a time-delay.
For instance, we may ask “How do you decide how much to pledge?” People will privately choose from some typical methods and the software will display to the group how many people use each method. We will learn how parishioners, generally, approach this important issue, without being able to identify any individual response. We hope the anonymity will help people be candid about these personal issues.
Learning about how our neighbors approach making their pledge, without needing to expose their individual information, can offer us new paths to consider and a better sense of how the community is using its resources.
I know many people are uncomfortable talking about money, particularly at church. But All Souls expects to spend about $850,000 in 2022. We need about $650,000 in pledge support to meet that goal, so we need to have these conversations.
All Souls at the A’s Game
Crack! The baseball hit by an A’s batter in the second inning arched into the stands near us, ricocheted off the arm of a seat, and whizzed toward me. It felt like things slowed down and I reached out with my right hand and snatched it in flight. What a thrilling moment! Our whole section of All Souls members and friends let out a spontaneous cheer.
That little moment on September 10 was part of a greater event in the nearly-annual (COVID-19 being a spoiler last year) All Souls tailgate party and Oakland Athletics game coordinated by Don Gates and Pat Jones. It’s an event that my wife and I have enjoyed attending year after year since being part of this wonderful church.
But I want to go back a little and confess that I have always wondered about the experience of fly balls soaring into the stands at major league games. Some spectators bring a baseball mitt in the rare chance that one of those balls would come their way. What would happen if it came to me? I’ve never brought such protection. Very few people do. Could I get injured if I didn’t catch it right? As it turned out it felt as if my bare-handed catch smoothly matched the velocity of the ball in a way that absorbed all its energy. Lucky me!
At the following Sunday’s Courtyard worship service I gave my thanks for the ballgame gathering of All Soulsians and the little gift of the baseball catch. After the service one of our parishioners took me aside to tell me her story of that event. She was sitting near me, down one row, at the baseball game. Her hands were both fully occupied with a hotdog and mustard when the foul ball was whizzing directly at her head. If I hadn’t caught the ball within inches away from her, she feared she would have been hurt!
I decided to see if there was anything reported about fly ball injuries at major league games. There was. A study reported that between 2012 and 2019 over 800 people have been injured by foul balls in major league stadiums. One 79-year-old woman died as a result of a head injury from a foul ball.
I don’t want to freak everyone out about going to a baseball game. We have a great thing happening in our annual group attendance at an A’s game. The chance to see each other in a playful setting, enjoying the tailgate comradery and sitting together for the game is delightful! And I am hesitant to make any theological speculations about what went on that evening at the ball game. I loved being with my group. I had a rare event happen to me that I appreciate as an unexpected and undeserved gift. And I am very grateful that things turned out the way they did for my All Souls friend at the ballpark.
Save the Dates
(*see “Other News and Notes” for more info on events)
September 17-19: Parish retreat at The Bishop’s Ranch
September 26, between the 9 & 11:15 services: Stewardship Launch
October 3, Blessing of the Animals
October 24, All-Church Stewardship Celebration
Join us at 9am in the courtyard, in-person. At this service masks are not required.
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.
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.
Adult Formation Class this Sunday
Due to so many on our parish retreat this weekend, we have just one class offering this Sunday:
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Contact Kate Murphy, email@example.com to join that Zoom call.
Adult Formation Coming up:
- September 19th: Bible study at 10:10 and Adult Formation classes at 10:10 cancelled for the retreat
- September 26th: Bible study at 10:10 and Adult Formation classes at 10:10 cancelled for the Stewardship Launch (happening the courtyard)
- October 3-17: Bible study at 10:10 in the Chapel (and on Zoom), a class called “Repairing the Breach” in the Parish Hall (and on Zoom), and a class called “A Practice of Prayer” in the Common Room (and on Zoom). More information to come!
Children, Family & Youth News
Sunday School begins September 26! 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Youth Group continues Wednesday, September 22nd at 7:00pm! 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 (email@example.com) for more information and to get added to the list!
Other News & Notes
Soulcast: Our Weekly Video Announcements
Check out Season 4: Episode 9 of the Soulcast!
The Stewardship Kickoff returns – live and in person! After a year on video, the 2022 Stewardship Campaign Kickoff will be in real life on Sunday, September 26th! We will be re-convening, with doughnuts and more, to talk and think about the past 18 months and the connections that bind us
We are going to do an exercise, on paper or on your phone, that will help us paint a picture of how the community sees itself after 18 months of COVID. Your responses will be as private as you want them to be. Bring your phone (it might even be fun)!
We’ll be in the courtyard at 10:10 and have everyone on their way by 10:50. And there will be doughnuts. And more. Please plan to join us on Sunday, September 26th.
Save the date for the morning and evening of Sunday, October 24th we will be gathering pledges for the upcoming year, and celebrating together – details to come.
Rain and Air Quality Index Protocol for In-person Events
In the case of rain, the 9:00am worship will move indoors to the sanctuary.
Following the lead of local school districts, All Souls has outlined the following protocol for high Air Quality Index:
When the Air Quality Index exceeds 150, all in-person events will be canceled at the church. Due to the need to have windows open to increase ventilation for Covid-safety, it is unsafe for us to be inside the church without ventilation, and it is unsafe for the windows to be open, which leaves us with only online options.
In the case of AQI higher than 150:
- 9:00am Sunday Worship will move to Zoom at this link.
- 11:15am Sunday Worship will be Livestreamed on the All Souls Facebook Page, and the website.
- 9:00am Wednesday Worship will move to Zoom at this link.
- Adult Formation will move to Zoom at the link specified for that class.
- Sunday School will be canceled.
- Youth Group will be canceled.
New Pathfinder Design
We’ve launched a new design for this newsletter! It’s got the same sort of material, but things are moved around a bit and the design is certainly upgraded. For you faithful Pathfinder readers, we’d love to hear what you think!
If you’re interested in joining a small group, we’re hoping to launch a few this fall! One will be a general small group, for journeying together/alongside others. The other group will be more specific: for parents who are currently raising teenagers. Look to next week’s Pathfinder for more info, but for now, if you’re interested, reach out to Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Phil’s Email spam
If you receive an email, from “Phil”, asking for money or gift cards: THIS IS NOT HIM! He will never write to you and ask for a gift card. One way to make sure it is not him, is to check the email address in the “to” field. If it is not from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, it is NOT the real Phil.
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
In the before times, bringing a can of vegetables or a jar of peanut butter to church was the practice of many, and every few weeks all this would add up to three or four bags of groceries that I would deliver to the Berkeley Food Pantry. Obviously when in-person church services stopped, so did the influx of food. All Souls Parish made quick and creative adjustments; without missing a beat, folks had signed up to put a bag on their porch every other week for a driver to pick up and bring to the pantry. There were perhaps two dozen households contributing, and four or five drivers so that on any given Friday, between five and 10 bags of groceries were delivered to the pantry. More than a year later, we need wider participation. Drivers have had to make adjustments , and perhaps having the same folks providing the groceries every other week is not sustainable. Please consider offering a bag of groceries for pick up every other week, and/or sign up for any every other week driving shift to pick up from 5 or so households. Contact Cathy Goshorn, email@example.com.
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.
AA Groups Have Resumed
If you or someone you know is interested in AA Groups that meet here at the church, check out our calendar for the times.