From the Rector
A Balm for All Ages
One of the great gifts that I observed and received at our parish retreat this past weekend was being able to see and participate in such a rich community of intergenerational goodness.
That’s not a technical term––intergenerational goodness––but it’s the best set of words that I have to describe the interactions between people of all ages, talking, laughing, playing, being. And I don’t know that it was considerably different than in years past––but I do know that after the last couple years of isolation it was a balm for the soul. Watching a 1st grader pal around with a senior in high school, or a couple of elementary schoolers give a baby his bottle, adults dandle babies on their knees to whom they aren’t related, or an adult sitting with a child on their hip that they aren’t directly responsible for––is all so heartening. And, frankly, highly unusual.
It’s been my experience that in dominant U.S. culture we prize the nuclear family above all else––in our housing, our media, and our overall expectations. And, I think this over-emphasis on the nuclear family is detrimental to human flourishing. It is no wonder to me that we have a crisis of loneliness in this country, when we so readily separate ourselves from a communal approach to living. In my experience, church communities are one of the few places in our society where a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old and a 43-year-old and an 83-year-old can be at the same table, tell a story together, just be with one another. Watching people find joy with someone in an entirely different stage of life from their own is fulfilling in a deep and profound way.
One of the metaphors that we use to describe the quality of life at All Souls is that we are a parish family. And while I know that metaphor has a danger to it––there are indeed families who do great damage to each other––what we mean when we use that metaphor is a sense of belonging and support, guidance and care. This was one of the radical and controversial notions of the Jesus movement, that you could belong to another person not of your blood or of your class or of your ethnicity. It’s why that story from Matthew 12 is so shocking. When Jesus says that his mother and brothers are outside wanting to speak with him he says, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he says, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Realm of God is known by relationships that expand beyond direct kin. It’s not that our direct kin don’t matter, it’s that they aren’t the only ones who matter. And, that being family is a much larger concept that we often realize. As seen in our politics, this sense of familial belonging is just as radical in our day as it was in the first century.
So, once again I am deeply grateful to be able to witness it and to participate in a community in which elders tease teenagers and elementary schoolers play Dibble with middle aged adults. And I sincerely hope that the many others who are yearning for this kind of meaningful connection across age and place in life will find it among us as well.
More from the Parish Retreat
At the parish retreat last weekend, participants were divided into groups to read and reimagine a passage from scripture typically read at the Easter Vigil. The middle school group was assigned a passage from the book of Ezekiel (47:1-12) and they wrote this poem (accompanied by watercolor art!) and presented it to the large group. The next morning, we woke up to the sound of rain!
Before the water returned, everything was dry. The earth was dead and barren. Forests were brown, not a hint of green. The people were weak and weary.
And then the prophet started speaking. They spoke of a great river of water, bringing life back to the world. They spoke of redemption coming to the earth once more.
The river flows down, washing over dead things, bringing them back to life. The first shoots peak out of the cracked earth.
One tree has grown, the grass is green. There is still death and sorrow. Hope remains unfulfilled.
Life begins to spread out over the earth, carrying food to eat and leaves to heal. We wake up to the sound of water.
Where there was once death and drought, new growth and life emerge. The earth is alive with new possibilities. Our hope has returned!
-Rose, Elliot, Inara, Sabine, Camila
Please enjoy some more photos from the weekend!
From the Associate for Ministry Development
In my early adulthood I got involved in small groups at the churches where I was attending. In the non-denominational world of my early adulthood, that was the primary way to get involved in a church––when I would introduce myself, the question that was always asked of me was, “who’s small group are you in?” And so of course, I joined. I remember the intimidation of walking in as the new person, and the awkwardness of those first few meetings, but then my mind flashes to all the dinners, big life events, tears, and continued relationships that those small groups fostered. I haven’t been in one in many years now, but I hold those memories as some of my dearest.
With this in mind, we put together a small group program several years ago, one that Covid put on hold, but which we’re bringing back this fall. We call the small groups “Emmaus Groups.” The name comes from the resurrection story in Luke 24:13-53 where Jesus meets two apostles talking and journeying to Emmaus. Discussing their dejection and then amazement at having just discovered that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb, Jesus appeared to these two men. They, however, did not recognize him. Not until they were at dinner, seated around a table, when the bread was blessed did their eyes open and could they name that their hearts had been on fire while on the road with this stranger, and that this stranger before them was Jesus. The presence of Jesus was with them on their journey––in their questions, as they wrestled with their sadness and amazement––even when they could not see him.
With this as the base, our vision for Emmaus Groups is simple: to gather and journey together in small groups in order to deepen our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.
Functionally, Emmaus Groups meet every-other-week (or every week, if the group decides), as groups of no more than 12, in 16-week covenant periods throughout the year. By “covenant” I mean simply that for 16 weeks folks will be committed (covenanted) to meeting. At the end of the 16-week period the groups will open so that some folks can leave and other folks can join (if that is desired and/or if there is room), but the idea is that most of these groups will continue to meet in the next 16-week period, and will then continue to do so for as long as the group wants. There will be some structure to the meetings themselves (i.e. content), though it won’t be anything as tight and structured as, say, Soup + Story groups. Generally, these groups will focus much more on journeying together, than studying together. In the past we have had groups of women, men, married folks, parents of teens, and groups based on no demographics at all––it all depends on who is interested at the time when we start the group.
This fall we’re opening up these groups to see who might be interested. If you are new to All Souls and looking to meet people; or if you’re a person looking for deeper community; or if you’re someone looking for a place to work out some discernment with others this might be a good place for you this fall. We’re also launching a small group program based on writing your own memoir or spiritual autobiography. That group will meet monthly and take a little more structured form around writing, it will also be led by Jane Vandenburgh. If you are interested in that group, please attend the informational session on October 16th (after the 11:15 service) or October 18th, in the evening.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer says in his book Life Together, “the person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” Journeying together is tough, but if community is what we’re after, jumping in with each other, and doing the work is how we get there. If you’re in a place of looking for community, consider an Emmaus Group––it will challenge your ideas of community, and my hope is that this hard work will also create the kind of community that we’re hoping to see and live among.
From the Living Waters
There’s Still Time to Talk About the Projects!
Last Sunday at the parish retreat 50 All Soulsians came together to share their thoughts about the Living Waters projects. It was inspiring to see people talk about their vision for the projects and really listen to each other even when, perhaps especially when, they didn’t agree.
The Vestry’s Project Input Process has its last two sessions coming up this Sunday and Monday and we invite everyone who was not talked about the projects yet to join in the conversation.
The next session will be Sunday, September 25th, after the 11:15 service in the Parish Hall. We should be able to start about 12:45 and the session should last about an hour.
The last session will be on Zoom, Monday evening, September 26th, from 7:00 – 8:30. The link for the session is available here: Project Input Zoom link
You do not need to sign up for either session. To prepare for the conversation, you can read about the input process and the projects here: Project Input Process Brochure (Printed copies of the brochure will be available at the Sunday session.)
At the end of each session, participants will be to offer measurable feedback about which projects are most important to them. Members of the Property Committee and the Vestry will be attending each of the sessions and taking in the conversations.
Hope you can join the conversation on Sunday or Monday!
Living Waters Steering Committee
Save the Dates
- September 25th, Stewardship Launch
- September 25th & 26th, Living Waters Prioritization Sessions
- October 2, Feast of St. Francis & Pet Blessing
- October 12, Book Launch party for Phil’s new book
- 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 two 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, or join them in-person in the Common Room.
Children, Youth, and Family News
Children Pre-K-Grade 5 are invited to join Nathan Brostrom and the Sunday School teachers for a special activity for kids about Stewardship as we kick off the Stewardship Season! Meet on the Courtyard at 10:10am!
Youth Group continues this week! Office hours in the Youth Room at 10:10am and Youth Group from 7:00-8:30pm in the Parish Hall.
Email Maggie for more information about Children, Youth and Family Ministries at All Souls.
Other News & Notes
Stewardship Launch this Sunday!
Come out this Sunday between services to help us launch our Stewardship Campaign! What is stewardship, and how is it different from Living Waters? Living Waters is about long term preservation of the house we worship in — the building where we conduct our ministries. Stewardship is about supporting all the ministries and worship we provide here at All Souls. At the end of our Stewardship campaign, we offer financial pledges that will support the operating expenses for All Souls for the year to come. Please join us in the Parish Hall just following the 9am service, as we kick off this year’s campaign (don’t forget to grab a home-baked good before coming into the Parish Hall).
Coming Up in Adult Formation
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.
How to access staff & clergy in the new Jordan Court Offices
Wondering how to reach us in the new offices? Here’s how:
- Enter on Cedar & Oxford and press “001” on the call box. This will take you to the church voicemail system. Select the number of the person you are trying to reach and it will call their office phone directly.
- For Annie: press 1
- For Phil: press 2
- For Maggie: press 3
- For Emily: press 4
- For Dent: press 5
- Once on the phone with the person you are trying to reach, but before they buzz the door open, they will give you a code that you need to either write down or remember as you will need it to enter the stairwell or the elevator.
- Once you have been buzzed into the lobby, head towards the stairs or elevator and use the code you were given to get to the 3rd floor.
- After exiting the elevator or stairwell, turn right and the All Souls offices are at the end of the hall! Voila!
- If you are entering from the church building, you can also access the offices through the gate at the courtyard. You can either text or phone a staff or clergy to get the gate code and then may enter the staff offices either by going up the outdoor stairwell or by entering the Jordan Court building and going up the elevator (the same gate code will get you in the Jordan Court building and the elevator).
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.
Braid Foster Youth Mentors Needed! The Braid Mission, which uses a team approach to mentoring, is looking for more folks to join mentor youth teams. You can read more about Braid Mission here. And can sign-up to schedule a 20 minute info session by clicking here. If you’re looking to talk to an All Soulsian about what it’s like to be a mentor with Braid Mission, you can reach out to Anne Cockle, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Living Water Prioritization Sessions This fall there will be opportunities to share your perspective about the work of the Living Waters Project. Mark your calendar for three separate opportunities. The next opportunity will be this Sunday on September 25th just after the 11:15 service; and the final will be on Zoom, Monday, September 26th at 7p. This is the opportunity for each All Soulsian to offer their input on the Living Waters projects. Everyone is encouraged to participate. This input will guide the Property Committee as it creates a construction plan.