From the Rector
It was good to be away. And it is good to be back. For those who are newer at All Souls (and there are several), let me introduce myself. I’m Phil Brochard, and I serve as the Rector of All Souls, Berkeley. Thanks to the generosity of the parish I was able to be on sabbatical this summer, a time of rest, reflection, and recreation.
Because of the dedication, persistence, and efforts of the Rev. Maggie Foote, Emily Hansen Curran, Jamie Apgar, Annie Rovzar, the Rev. Michael Lemaire, Toni Martinez Borgfeldt, Kaki Logan, and many, many others, I was afforded the space to dig deep this summer. And from this time away I’ve been able to return feeling energized. Yes, because I had the opportunity to rest and to put down the responsibilities that I carry as the Rector of All Souls. There is no doubt that the source of this rekindled energy comes from connection with God through the deep time of Sabbath with my family as we made our way along the coast of California. This energy also emerged because I had the time and space necessary to dig deeply into the book that the Rev. Cn. Alissa Newton and I are writing about healthy Christian congregations.
As I read and wrote and reflected about these practices, I became increasingly convicted by the wisdom that they offer. Some of them are specifically drawn from the Christian tradition from past centuries, and some of the practices have been discerned and distilled in the past few decades. But time and again, as I talked with leaders across the country who were engaged in this kind of challenging, hope-filled work, I found myself inspired all over again.
Christian congregations in Baltimore and Peoria and Portland are encountering God and are being changed in the process. They are digging into their histories and reconciling with their neighbors. They are creating space for the beauty of God and caring for one another at times of great pain and trial. As I heard these stories I often found myself thinking both, “Hey, that’s like All Souls!,” and, “Whoa, that’s something that we should consider doing!”
And this is why I am grateful to return to All Souls as a priest and practitioner. This community of Christians is a place and a people where I get fed as much as I might feed others. And this is as true now, in this time of overlapping crises, as it ever has been. For that, I give thanks to God.
After having taken a few steps back to reflect, it is clear to me that for us at All Souls and just about every other congregation, much of our common life will be changing in the years to come. We are collectively in a liminal space, one will demand that we see ourselves and our responsibilities to one another anew. For us that will be seen very particularly in a few short months, as the community of Jordan Court and our new spaces next door are inhabited. And, I trust, like decades of All Soulsians and centuries of Christians before us, that the Spirit will be alongside us, even ahead of us, providing the wisdom and the energy to continue on the Way.
From the Associate for Ministry Development
This fall we’ve got a couple rounds of small groups starting. For those who are new, we call small groups (of this sort) Emmaus Groups here at All Souls. 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. And to keep pointing each other towards God.
How do they work, you ask? For the most part these groups gather for a set period of time, meeting weekly or bi-weekly for that covenanted period of time. Then, at the end of the time frame (typically 16 weeks with 8 meetings or 8 weeks with 8 meetings), the group can evaluate whether or not they want to continue meeting (with a few weeks break), if they would like to open up to new members, or if they would like to disband.
This fall we’re trying something a little new and hosting Emmaus groups centered around very particular topics. We’ll host one for parents of tweens (about ages 10-13) and another for parents of teens (~13-18). We’ll also host just a general Emmaus Group, open to anyone.
To get an idea of what the groups can be, I asked one Emmaus group (one that has been meeting for a couple of years now!) to share their experience with me, which they did by all contributing a sentence or two about what the group has grown to mean to them. Below are their answers:
- Our Emmaus group gives me a chance to know people that I worship with on a much deeper level.
- It has created a community where I can share freely and know and be known on a continuing basis so our relationship grows deeper.
- It is helpful to me to discuss the sermon so we give it more thought, dig into it deeply with other people.
- We have an opportunity to say what we think and feel. We get started talking and we’re off and running. The synergy created by the group is important.
- It’s good to have access to the sermon online so we can hear it again before we discuss it together. One week we discuss the sermon and the other we look at the scripture for the coming Sunday using Lectio Divina.
- Our Emmaus group is a ministry to each other.
- We are happy to have an intergenerational group.
- Our group is all women, and it’s nice to be with people we understand and who we relate to in a respectful and sometimes playful way.
- Our group makes worship more meaningful because we are together with people we know well and care deeply for.
The hope with these groups is that we can journey alongside each other, and keep pointing each other towards God, as we live through the highs of lows of life. If any of this sounds interesting to you, please reach out to me, Emily (email@example.com).
From All Soulsians at The Bishop’s Ranch
Recreation Exploration Activity Discovery: this is READ Camp at The Bishop’s Ranch, and it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Thirty-seven children from the Healdsburg school district—children of vineyard workers, hotel housekeepers, and essential workers—board their school bus at the Healdsburg Community Center and spend five days at The Bishop’s Ranch in late July. The summer counselors shone with this group. We played large-group games involving wizards and gelflings and giants, and we read. Everyone learned to swim, and we read. We made “stained-glass” jars, and we read. We wrote poetry, and we read. Kandi and the Ranch staff prepared child-friendly fare: scrambled eggs and oatmeal, hamburgers and mac-&-cheese, summer fruit and chocolate cookies. After meals the children waited their turns for the tire swing. Others played serious dodgeball in the gaga pit. Others practiced somersaults on the lawn.
Children learned to weave lanyards and friendship bracelets. One girl, an expert weaver, asked her peers, “Do you need help with your lanyard?” A boy asked me how old the counselors were. “Twice as old as you,” I replied. “So how old do you need to be to become a counselor?” That made him pause and consider the possibility. Greta Mesics, our school librarian and Ranch neighbor, brought about a hundred books and magazines with her for Chill workshop (quiet reading in the cool Pavilion). Counselor James Goff and I directed four mini plays: a Zulu folk tale, a Karok legend, a Chinese tale, and a story about sea creatures. James pulled out the astonishing costume collection from the Ranch attic, and our actors selected fun things to wear. The children prepared the four plays in five days, reading from their scripts. In another workshop, they read from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. A former bilingual-camper-now-counselor led the poetry workshop. On Friday, after the performances, we sang call-and-response campfire songs and roasted marshmallows for s’mores. Each family pod had written a new verse to This Little Light of Mine during poetry workshop. We sang our new lyrics. Then we swam in the pool or played soccer. Every child took home a poetry journal and a new pencil, a stained-glass jar, materials to make more at home, friendship bracelets and drawings, and a $20 gift certificate for the bookstore in town. This last item was a gift from a generous former Board member, who had had trouble reading in school. Each counselor wrote a personal “rose-thorn-bud” note to the children: what the child did well this week, what the child should work on, and the counselor’s hope for the child in the future.
Deep gratitude to Rev. Pat Moore, Greta Mesics, the school principal, and the Ranch staff for bringing this camp into being. Deep gratitude to all who give to the Annual Fund in the past, present, and future.
-Caroline De Catur Putnam
Save the Dates
(*see “Other News and Notes” for more info on events)
September 10, 6:30pm: All Souls outing to the Oakland A’s Game
September 17-19: Parish retreat at The Bishop’s Ranch (sign-up here!)
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
We have three class offerings this Sunday: (masks required at all groups if meeting indoors)
- Planting Churches: Why here? Why now? with Rev. Maggie Foote and Emily Hansen Curran – Class starts on August 29th and will run through September 12th during the Adult Formation hour (10:10a-11:10a) in the Parish Hall or on Zoom (click here).
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 7:30a. Contact Kate Murphy, firstname.lastname@example.org to join that Zoom call.
- Reading Between the Lines Bible Study @ 10:10a in the Chapel, or contact Daniel Prechtel, email@example.com, to join that Zoom call.
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 begins September 8th! 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
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).
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.