From the Senior Warden

Bringing the Magic Home

The magic of the annual parish retreat happened again this year: The packing up, the work-leaving deadline, the slow drive up 101, and the settling into our two-night space all evaporated into the spacious, task-free pace of the Bishop’s Ranch. Certainly the setting is a factor in this, but the Ranch without All Souls people just isn’t the same. The pre-work by some, and the in-program work during the 2 days by others, makes it possible for the rest of us to just enjoy.

Mostly it’s the luxury of time to connect – at meals, or on walks and hikes, or over snacks, or just at the in-between times. Connecting with people we only see at a distance otherwise, or hearing the fuller story we only knew in quick updates is so satisfying. Somehow this just doesn’t happen in quite the same way on Sunday mornings.

Indeed, this is a context where we can live into one of our new initiatives of developing deep hospitality that invites discernment with others and provides opportunities to know who and whose we are. For example, the seating choices we make at meals illustrate our theme for the weekend of being willing to bring our real selves into connection with others. Both those who start a table with readiness to connect with all who come, and those who join by ones and threes seeking that connection foster this deep hospitality. And multiplied many times over, this gives us a sense of our collective identity, the “who we are,” more than just the sum of our individual identities.

Weekend retreats, by their nature, can only happen intermittently. But if we make space in our lives for conversations of this kind, treating opportunities like Continuing the Feasts or Loaves and Fishes as mini-retreats, we can re-create that sense of space for meeting one another with hospitality. True, we don’t have the Ranch staff to supply the food, but with a little thought, we each can settle on a tasty dish that we make repeatedly for these potluck events, thus simplifying the prep and lowering one barrier to getting ourselves there in a state of heart and mind to enjoy and offer the hospitality of our real selves with and toward one another.

The new season of Loaves and Fishes will be structured a bit differently from last year, so watch for news of that. And, as with the other initiatives, a small group will work intensively in the next couple of months to work out programmatic details to bring this to fruition over time, so news on that, too, will come later. But in the meantime, we can savor our sample of what this can mean, and resolve to take the opportunities we will have in the coming year to show up as our real selves and hospitably meet others who are doing the same.

– Marilyn Flood

The Phoenixes Rise

As a parish in a college town, All Souls sees a cyclical population of young adults come in and out of its doors. Likewise, the young adult ministry here has both flourished and been dry, as people in their 20s and 30s rotate into and out of Berkeley. Happily, this ministry is again picking up steam, with a name to reflect our somewhat-transient nature: the Phoenixes, the 20s and 30s ministry at All Souls. We are a group to support and encourage All Souls young adults in their 20s and 30s, whether you are single or married, with or without kids, “real world” or a student. The group is currently structured with a core team of three leaders who organize institutional support and create at least one gathering a month for the group. Other members may suggest and organize gatherings at any time. We communicate primarily via email through a Google Group.

So far we have gathered for game nights, staircase hikes in Berkeley, karaoke, and a very popular dinnertime round of “Stump the Rector” (we were unsuccessful… just wait till next time, Phil!). Our plans for the fall include another game night (tomorrow night!), an early evening barbeque on the All Souls courtyard, volunteering our service in the community, and caroling at Kyakameena Nursing Home come December. Please see below for more information about dates and times of these events.
Would you like to learn more and get involved? The current leadership of the Phoenixes is Linden Rayton, Ethan Lowery and Emily Hertz. Contact Linden and Ethan with any questions- and

Coming up:
Game Night: Friday, Sept. 26, 7-9pm, Parish House Fireplace Room
Bonfire: Saturday, October 4, 6:30pm at Nicki and Dan’s house (contact us for the address)
Barbeque: Saturday, Oct. 11, 5-7pm, All Souls Courtyard/Playground
November Volunteering: TBD
Caroling: Sunday, Dec. 14, 2-3:30pm at Kyakameena Nursing Home (more details later)

The Phoenixes in good spirits as they attempt to stump the Rector.

From the Associate Rector

Blessing of the Animals: Evangelism Made Easy

On Sunday October 5th, we will be delightfully and chaotically inundated with guests. Exuberant and anxious, loud and affectionate, there will be no question that this Sunday is not like the other 51 of the year. As we make our way into fall, St. Francis Day is upon us once again, and so too is your chance to have your pets blessed!

It’s lots of fun to share church with your pets, no doubt, but this festive Sunday presents another opportunity: it’s a day that may feel more accessible than usual for humans to venture through our copper doors. Who do you know who is curious about church, but still a little wary of actually giving it a try? Perhaps a neighbor has been asking you big questions, or a coworker seemed particularly intrigued when you told them about your time at the Bishop’s Ranch. Whoever it is, and especially if they have pets, invite them to come with you to church on October 5th! Coming with leash (or cat carrier, or terrarium, or…) in hand just may help to alleviate their trepidation in coming to church for the first time.

After all, isn’t this precisely why this community has worked so hard to add a third service and reconfigure our Sunday practices? We’ve experienced some losses attached to these changes, brainstormed ways to address them, and kept at it. Now that we’ve opened up more space for people to join us, our job is to help them find their way in! Take advantage of the fun of St. Francis to introduce people from other parts of your life to All Souls. Pets are welcome in worship, there will be a Blessing of the Animals in the courtyard following the 11:15 service, and the fellowship will keep rolling into lunch with Continuing the Feast.


Idle Hands

It’s not that our hands are idle… just that we’d like to do more creative things with them!

Knitting became my passion about 2 ½ years ago and I love being able to share it with others. So last December, when Jeannie asked me whether I’d be interested in helping to get an affinity group started for knitters and crafters, I jumped on the chance. Thus far, we have (collectively) knitted, crocheted, sewn, worked with paper, made clay pocket crosses, talked, laughed and enjoyed many nights in excellent company. Do you have to “know how,” to participate? Not at all… just come join us and someone will be happy to show you how to do something.

Would you like to make a ministry out of your favorite craft or leisure art? You could knit or crochet prayer shawls, prayer squares, preemie sweaters or chemo caps; cross-stitch beautiful pictures or uplifting sayings; create collages, scrapbooks or hand-made cards; sew a quilt or quilt square for a cause… the possibilities are endless, and this is the place for it!

Idle Hands currently meets on first & third Tuesday evenings, at Schmidt’s (“The Pub”) on Solano, from 6:30 p.m. until whenever we decide to leave. Outside food is welcome, as are canine friends. Come join us! If interested, please email or message Ari Wolfe at You can also find us on Facebook at and on Ravelry at

– Ari Wolfe

A Glimpse of the Parish Retreat