Weekly Reflections

A weekly commentary by the clergy of All Saints' with the help of inspiration from our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

The Rev. Dan Burner, Interim Rector

The Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, Former Interim Rector

The Rev. Emilie Finn, Associate Rector for Mission & Family Ministries

The Rev. Tim Yanni, Former Associate Rector for Pastoral Care & Connection

The Rev. Patrice Al-Shatti Taylor, Deacon

Lucian Taylor, Postulant to the Priesthood

February 2, 2023 A Reflection from Fr. David Sheetz

The Presentation: Candlemas -- Christ the Light of the World

Light – as astronomical body, as symbol, as metaphor – is the primary theme of the season of Epiphany: we have the star of Bethlehem which guided the Magi, Jesus as the Light of the World, and Jesus as the Light in our lives. On February 2 we celebrate the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple.

According to the Mosaic law, a mother who had given birth to a boy was considered unclean for seven days; moreover, she was to remain three and thirty days “in the blood of her purification”; for a girl the time which excluded the mother from sanctuary was doubled. When the time (forty or eighty days) was over the mother was to “bring to the temple a lamb in its first year for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtle dove for a sin offering” (Leviticus 12.2-8); if she was not able to offer a lamb, she was to take two turtle doves or two pigeons; the priest would then pray for her and so she was cleansed.

Forty days after the birth of Christ, Mary complied with this precept of the law, she redeemed her first-born from the temple, and was purified by the prayer of Simeon the just, in the presence of Anna the prophetess. (Luke 2.22-40) No doubt this event, the first solemn introduction of Christ into the house of God, was in the earliest times celebrated in the Church of Jerusalem. But the feast then had no proper name; it was simply called the fortieth day after “Epiphany.” What this means is that in Jerusalem at this time, Epiphany was celebrated as the feast of Christ’s birth.

From Jerusalem the feast of the fortieth day spread over the entire Church, and later on was kept on the 2nd of February, since within the last twenty-five years of the fourth century the Roman feast of Christ’s nativity was placed on December 25th. The association of candles with this feast did not enter into common use before the eleventh century.

At one time, especially in the Western church, this feast was oriented toward Mary, and this was reflected in its name, “The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” But because this appeared to threaten the doctrine of the sinlessness of Mary, in modern times the Roman church reverted to the more ancient understanding of the Eastern church, which celebrated this day as the “Presentation of the Lord.” This more nearly conformed to its various designations in the East; “Coming of the Son of God into the Temple” (Armenian); “Presentation of the Lord in the Temple” (Egyptian); “The Meeting of the Lord” (Byzantine). The shift in title reflects a shift in emphasis: it is intended to be a feast of the Lord and not a feast honoring Mary. There is also an ancient practice of associating this feast with the blessing of the candles which would be used throughout the rest of the church year.

Since this feast takes place forty days after Jesus’ birth, it has an incarnational cast. Traditionally celebrated on February 2nd, the fortieth day after Christmas, it serves to make the end of the Christmas Season. This feast is also seen as the turning point towards the season of Lent. While Anna is portrayed as having a mystic’s awareness of the presence of God, Simeon is different; he had been promised that he would see the Messiah. Simeon came to the temple, in answer to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to find the child who was to be the ‘glory of Israel’. He did not expect to see anything special in the material way, but he did expect to recognize the child because he was a man of faith and knew that he would not die until he had seen the promised one.

The child was to be a ‘light to enlighten the gentiles’ — a light which dispelled the darkness of the ignorance and sin. Simeon did not look forward to a military triumph or an earthly kingdom, but to the reconciliation of humanity with God and the coming of the kingdom of heaven. He knew that there were those who would not welcome the light because they preferred the darkness, as it was a better cover for dubious deeds; that is why he said the child was destined for the rise and fall of many.

When Christ spoke of himself as the light of the world he said:

‘I am the light of the world.

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness

but will have the light of life.’

(John 8.12)

It is a light given to those who have faith, who recognize Christ and choose his way; when Christ comes in glory the time for choice will be over. For those of us who live in the eschatological pause (between the coming of the kingdom and its final manifestation) there is a kindly light, but no overwhelming brilliance. At times the flame flickers and the light grows faint, but it never goes out unless we deliberately quench it by rejecting Christ.

The feast we celebrate is the last feast of Christmas; the candles which we use are a symbol to remind ourselves that Christ came to give us light and life. The relation between light and life is felt most keenly in the darkness of night, and during the dull days of winter. So, as you read this, the sun may be shining brightly, we may have to use our imaginations to get the full benefit of these light and darkness symbols and metaphors. Even in those parts of the world that are rich enough to turn night into day with the flick of a switch, darkness remains a threat and light a blessing. When we pray for the dead, we pray that ‘light perpetual may shine upon them’, that they will have life eternal in the radiance of heaven.

Simeon’s prayer became the night prayer of the Church through the ages. The Nunc Dimittis (the choir signs a setting every month at Evensong) is among the most beautiful and enduring of all prayers; to have had our way illuminated and to depart in peace at the end of it, is the final fulfillment of a life lived in the service of God.

There is an ancient antiphon associated with Candlemas which sums up the piety of the feast:

The old man carried the child,

but the child was the old man’s King.

A virgin gave birth to that child, yet remained a virgin:

the one she bore she also adored.

January 26, 2023 A Reflection from Chesirae Valentine

My journey from atheism to Christianity was slow and weary. The consistent wind of Beauty and Love blew against the upright figure of my fearful heart, eroding its car-alarm attitude into something softer and more hopeful – less of a harsh shriek and more of a sibilant hum. But – the same way it takes time for stone and sand to yield to the wind – my conversion took years. Enormous amounts of reading, hours of conversations, many long hikes and a few fights were required for me to get to the point where I was willing to be baptized. It took another six years and a masters in theology for me to be confirmed. A convicting and resounding, “Yes!” has not always been my rallying cry.

In the book of Acts, however, we see conviction pouring out from Saul in powerful shouts and poisoned words. Saul – who not only watched the stoning of St. Stephen, but happily held everybody’s coats so they could throw harder – was decidedly convicted against the new followers of Christ. One could even say zealously convicted. But despite his violence and antipathy toward Christianity, his conversion to it was nearly immediate.

On the road to Damascus (where Saul is traveling with friends to wreak havoc upon the Christian community living there), a light from heaven stunned Saul. Falling to the ground, Saul hears a voice crying, “Why do you persecute me? I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Get up and go to Damascus, and you will be told what you are to do”. Saul, blinded by the light and unable to navigate the way himself, relied on his traveling companions to lead him by the hand to Damascus. He waited there without eating or drinking for three days, until a disciple named Ananais came to heal him on Christ’s orders. Ananais, by the way, is fairly dubious about healing the person who has been persecuting Christians, but does as he is told in his trust and love for God’s plan.

Though the light came to Saul all at once, Saul’s conversion teaches us that conversion is not a solitary act, a single moment of individual revelation. It is a life-long decision to remain trusting and open to the love and care of Christ, a continual series of choices by which we remind ourselves that we are always in the midst of transformative co-creation with God and our community. It is not an accident that Saul must be led by the hand, nor that Christ sends Ananais to Saul, reluctant as he is. But Saul’s friends sought to help him in his conversion, holding his hand all the way to Damascus. Ananais, trusting in Christ, has his own conversion moment: in laying hands on and healing Saul, Ananais names him, “Brother Saul”. He welcomes him into an intimate relationship with himself and the Holy Spirit, turning them both more fully toward our triune God by his love and trust.

For my own conversion, a series of quieter relationships changed the trajectory of my life: a librarian-gifted a copy of East of Eden in middle school; a patient and somewhat bemused Greek professor helped me translate the Gospel of John; a summer job supervisor welcomed me to what would become my foster family. Every moment pushed me a little further down the road to where I am now.

This is what conversion does. These people didn’t seek to do amazing, generous, holy things, just as Saul’s traveling companions did not set out to change Saul’s life forever. They just committed -- completely, joyfully and authentically -- to trust their own journeys and God in everything they did. They committed to saying a small, “Yes” over and over: a yes to taking risks, a yes to hospitality, a yes to educating and feeding and loving whatever and whoever God put in their path. They could have said, “No.” Ananais almost does say, “No,” in his fear for his Christian friends and family. It is a choice, after all, to love and serve; to continuously convert to God’s plan.

But because the people in my life didn’t say, “No”, they were able to shelter a poor, hurt child from the worst effects of poverty, pain and neglect, so that one day she could say “Yes” to doing the same work. Because Ananias and Saul’s friends choose to say, “Yes” to guiding, healing, and welcoming him, he becomes one of the brightest beacons of love in Christian faith: St. Paul.

On this feast of The Conversion of St. Paul, never doubt that you are too far down the road to turn your heart, nor that those you meet there have traveled beyond your love.

January 19, 2023 A Reflection from Deacon Patrice Taylor

Our atmosphere is forming rivers that wash whole communities away while drought threatens Arizona farmers. Governments appear to be in disarray and a new contagious disease is weaving itself into the fabric of American daily life. Over all these events, as if they weren’t enough, we hear the dissonant music of the broken information superhighway.

“Do you think someone invented Covid in a lab?” a friend asked me the other day. “What?” “I don’t know. I just saw it online.”

Life seems to be getting unnecessarily and unhelpfully complex or maybe I’m just tired. I bet, like me, you are billed for things you stopped subscribing to long ago, were the victim of some kind of scam you’re trying to unravel, and can’t get through the bank’s voicemail system in under ten minutes. I have, in some attempt to modulate the noise, sworn off the news simply because I can’t handle all that dire and contradictory intel. I’m a firm believer in recognizing that my sphere of concern is way bigger than my sphere of influence and that I’ll be a much healthier person if I focus on the second.

Into this stress walks Joan Chittister’s beautiful book, “The Monastic Heart”. I heartily recommend it to you. Written during the most frightening moments of the pandemic, it urges each of us to remember that at heart, we are spiritual beings seeking a spiritual life. She reminds us that every spiritual tradition has a monastic stream of influence that feeds it and that these ideas are rich and wonderful possibilities for us to live a sane life in a confusing and scary time. In the book, she explores fifty different monastic practices and adapts them for 21st century life so that “we can begin to live an ordinary life extraordinarily well.”

Monastics do not sleep in the same space, for instance. Members of a community each have their own room. Translated for our lives, where and when do you have quiet and privacy? Everyone needs to “have a door between herself and the rest of the world” at least once a day.

In my personal daily rhythm, I have tried to make a few changes with the coming of the new year and am beginning to reap the rewards of this effort in a greater calmness and clarity of mind. I write from my soul for two pages first thing in the morning and practice centering prayer at the end of a day. Altogether, it takes less than an hour. What can help you, I wonder, to withdraw a little from the chaos? As the poet Rumi once said, “A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could be given you.” We cannot leave society and move to a mountaintop abbey, but we can live differently in the world, in a way that survives the shifts and turns of modern life, because we are grounded in something ageless.

January 11, 2023 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

Now that the Christmas holidays are over and we begin to move back into what might be thought of as a normal time, I have found that time seems to be moving in two directions simultaneously. The days seem to pass quickly, but so much going on in each of them. It’s not that feeling that not enough is being accomplished, rather there seems to be a great sense of accomplishment.

As these days go by, it gives me the opportunity to take moments to cherish the important times. Only a week ago, I was with my children. I have two lovely daughters who are married with two children each; a boy and a girl. And even with the news of the world and the problems of life around us and the difficulty of all relationships; taking the time to make certain that the people in your life know that you love them is important and, receiving love from the little persons in your life; all this brings meaning to life. It is part of the gift of life that we each receive through our birth into this world.

Another gift we receive is through our relationship with God. People wonder about why there seems to be a need for humans to have a belief in a higher power; it’s in our genes. Maybe this goes back to the beginning of creation, when we came out of dust swirling in the cosmos and began to form through time into the creatures we are today. The miracle that what we experience in our mere existence came into being to give us the gift of God’s abundant love. There is no way to separate ourselves from the creation as we continue to be one with creation. What is most important is to know that what we and all of humanity have experienced in life is born out of the first light that dawned on all creation. Further as Christians, we must be grateful for the birth of a child who knew the fulness and glory of God’s love and shared it with the world.

If you want to explore this further, come to Adult Formation this Sunday when we can discuss Fr. Richard Rohr’s book “THE UNIVERSAL CHRIST; How a Forgotten Reality can change everything we see, hope for, and believe.”

December 22, 2022 A Reflection from Deacon Patrice Taylor

At the beginning of the pandemic, when we were all so scared, a young woman with fierce and beautiful white tattoos came into my orbit. My kids and I meet for pancakes on Sundays since their dad died, and as important people come into our individual lives, they join us. In 2020 those meals were in a park near my house because no one dared gather inside. So I got to know Simon, as she called herself, or 32 year old Katherine, if you read the news report. She was slim as a reed, quiet, an artist who tacked giant pieces of canvas to her apartment walls and attacked them with color. Her life story unfolded in bits and pieces over the months as she sat next to my oldest son. Victimization of all kinds. Trauma upon trauma. A river of it wide, deep, and turbulent. She longed for healing and took to growing plants from tiny sprouts. She brought me three of them one Sunday. A sweet gift of life.

Eventually, their relationship burned out. It’s hard to be with someone, I think, when you can barely be with yourself. I’m not sure what happened, but I know hard feelings were involved. The kind of drama filled flame out most of us dread and many experience. Apparently, about a month ago she texted him in apology. And he hesitated. It’s hard to know where boundaries should be because some people don’t seem able to change. And it’s hard for us to look at any role we played in the estrangement. Sometimes it’s the people we most care about who we ultimately judge harshest, who we are most tempted to write off.

Then last Wednesday happened. At 10:30pm she was thrown from her truck in a hit and run accident and never made it up from the cold pavement. My son found out on Friday and in his anguish and guilt, he cried out something I will never forget, “If I knew on Wednesday she’d be gone by Friday...” He has spent the days since, filling in the end of that sentence.

As we step into Christmas, the incarnation of Jesus, the day God told us exactly how much he loves us, what about your difficult relationship? And what would you do if you knew you had two days to do it? “There’s only love in the heart of God,” says singer songwriter Zach Williams. “He’s not sitting there shaking His head, writing you off, leaving you lost.” So, who are we, I wonder, to ever do differently? Who are we to do the oh so human things we do when people repeatedly bite the hand extended to them? This sacred week, is there grace you should extend? The babe in the manger covers us all in forgiveness four months from now. It’s not beyond us to bury our burdens at His feet because there is only love in God’s heart. As we approach Sunday morning’s breathtaking reminder of this most important hope, what is in yours?

December 15, 2022   A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

It’s no wonder that the Advent and Christmas seasons are full of emotions. Advent as a time of preparation, when we recall the prophesies of long dead prophets that come to their fullness in the birth of Jesus into a world of chaos and woe. Christmas with its opportunity to be monetized by the commercial forces of our societies to the extent that an entire year’s profit must be accumulated during this one short time.

In the waiting we may find too much time to dwell in the past. To ruminate on the regrets and losses that accompany any life of some years, regrets and losses that are real and sometimes very painful. We must hold these amid our search to amend our lives in the days to come in the hope of more meaningful and joyful memories. Advent calls to us transform ourselves and others. This is why Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is still so powerful for us even when we have read or seen it many times, played by many different actors.

Ebenezer Scrouge is transformed by the memories of the past, the reality of the present, and the hope of the future. Much of his past is painful; loneliness, loss, and betrayal. But his past also contains joy, hope and happiness. His present reveals how his hardness of heart blocks him from enjoying the life this is all about him in his family, his peers, and his employee. It is the fear of the future that makes his transformation complete. Faced with what might be, he decides to change his life and transform not only himself but those around him.

It is Christmas when his transformation takes place. The day that he observes the new dawn and begins immediately to make a difference in the lives of others. We too look for Christmas to be the magic day that brings happiness. But if it’s just one day, if the transformation does not live into the time ahead, we are doomed to repeat the patterns of the past. Dickens ends his short book this way:

“He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”

We might think that the “Total Abstinence Principle” is about the consumption of alcohol. But in fact, Dickens is making a pun. It referred to the fact that he was not troubled anymore by the spirits, the images that led him to his transformation. In so doing he began to live his life in the present for the benefit for all those around him. We could only hope for that level of transformation. In fact, Dickens shows us a process for reflection about our lives and way forward. My hope is that as each of us travels the Advent Road we may use this time to learn from out past and transform our futures for the love and God and the world.

December 8, 2022  A Reflection from Chesirae Valentine, Our Director of Parish Life

Christmases for my family were never celebrated in church. Instead, my mother would take my brother and me to different places: one year the Oregon Zoo, another to the airport, sometimes the beach, often the Portland Art Museum. That was my favorite. Though my mother would always ask — regardless of where we were — “What do you see?” my favorite place to look was the art museums. I would wander the long halls and exhibits, watching people observe the paintings and watch the paintings reflect the people. I grew up understanding line, color, form and composition as my literal mother tongue.


I became fluent in the unique language of beauty as my mother would stop to explore the specific symbolism of a work or as I would ask about a strange color I noticed. Those hours were more sacred to me than any religious service I had attended; under the museum’s cathedral ceilings I found my own holy place. Whereas most of my friends were learning the difference between mortal and venial sins, I was learning the distinction between impressionism and pointillism. When they took their first communion, I took my first digital x-ray of an underpainting; we all learned that the most beautiful works still account for mistakes in the process of becoming.


My point is this: I grew up knowing that the most important thing in the world was learning how to see beauty. Though my mother was the painter, my grandmother taught me the hues of flowers, how to name and cultivate even the most delicate blooms. My aunts -- one a dairy farmer, the other a model -- collected fabrics simultaneously, creating the warmest quilts made from the most brilliant designs, worlds away from one another.


There is no beauty in the world that my family does not revere, no beauty that does not make my family pause and be thankful for the world we live in. My cousin, the most practical and hard-headed man you are ever likely to meet, still stops every morning on his way to the milking parlor to watch the illuminated mist fall from mountains to fields, a wave of gray to misty gold falling on wide, quiet green. Perhaps this is the reason we each hate the darkness in the world, the ugliness each of us has been exposed to -- how can we be beautiful, with such ugliness present?


But I often think of those underpaintings I once x-rayed, the way shadows are laid down before the light and color. The way the darkness gives the light depth and structure, something to work against. Though my family may disagree, this is not different from religion. Beauty in Christianity is found    in the communal discernment of hope,  of relationship, and of resurrection, true, but that beauty is heightened because these are created in the midst of ugliness and suffering. The Incarnation that we will celebrate this Christmas is so radical precisely because it teaches us that there is nothing so secular that it is not sacred, nothing so    dark that light cannot permeate it. All creation is dignified, sanctified, and beautified by the fact that God chose to become a part of all creation. So when we look, there is nothing created that is not worth our sight, our consideration, our hope. Beauty reminds us to look at the world with the expectation that God is present within it: with people who look like you, with people who look like the neighbors, with the drought-ridden land and even the dirty dishes.


We often consider Advent a time of waiting and preparation solely for Christmas – a busy but ultimately unexciting time. But we often forget the moments of sharply beautiful scenes – the bright, unwavering light of the Advent candles; the cream and blue vestments, the music that gives voice to our weariness and longing for peace and justice. But more than any of these, I think of the conspiracy of grace that Adventide reveals for us: the gossamer hope of God choosing to live, connect, and love all creation as a human being, and all for our sake.


This Advent, I pray we may cultivate a keener sight, one that can distinguish the beautiful riot of God’s presence even in the broken and lonely parts of our lives, so that we hold to the hope that – no matter how desperate or disastrous things are – God was, is, and will be with us.  

December 1 , 2022  A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

When I last had a garden to work in, almost twenty years ago in Tucson, I loved the bougainvillea that grew on the walls. Each year the cycle of the life of those vines brought hope to me. The beauty of the red blossoms against the green leaves and the stucco brown walls made the spring and even late into the fall a colorful experience to sit and listen to the Spanish three-tier fountain trickle. I remember reading the passage of Isaiah 11 during Advent one of those years and thinking about how I would carefully wait until the last freeze and then trim the branches back, only to watch them bud and bring new life and beauty to the walls of my garden.


The branch that grows on the stump of Jesse is David, the third king of the United Kingdom of Israel. Samuel anointed Saul to be the first King and later the shepherd boy David, son of Jesse, slew Goliath in battle and came to the attention of Saul who favored him. After the death of Saul and his son, David conquered the city of Jerusalem and brought the tabernacle there. He unified the tribes of Israel and his son, Solomon, built the first temple to house the tabernacle.


Jesse was not of royal birth. He was not a leader. His only status was to be the father of the King that brought the Tribes of Israel to Jerusalem. He was in effect a stump. Yet out of that stump came a great King. This is not to say he was perfect; he was not. But David gathered the people around the word of God.


Isaiah tells us that because this branch from Jesse fears the Lord, or more correctly, loves God; that he will bring righteousness (deep relationship) and equity to the earth. Many things will happen like wolves and lambs, leopards and kids, and calves and lions dwelling in harmony; that are hard to explain but in which we can see God’s love for all creation. This great hope for the future of humanity reminds me of the joy of tending the bougainvillea in my garden. I pray that we may all tend the renewal of life that comes from following the example of Jesus.


November 23, 2022  A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn



Dear People of God,


It is the time of year when we all start looking forward to preparations for the holidays. In my family, this means laying aside the various ingredients we need to make our special holiday  foods, reaching out to family members and friends we haven’t heard from in a while, checking our supply of extension cords and Christmas lights, and whisking secret packages off the front porch to hide in closets, awaiting the arrival of wrapping paper and Christmas trees.


Here at All Saints’, this means looking for the ways we can help others this holiday season. This can look like CLASP students packing care packages for All Saints’ students away at college and boarding school, or parishioners writing Christmas cards to women in Perryville Prison. It can look like each of us buying a few extra supplies for the Daughters of the King Blessing Bags, or giving a Blessing Bag to a neighbor we see on the street.


Serving others this Advent can mean choosing an Angel Tree tag to purchase gifts for a child of an incarcerated parent, or a resident of Maryland Gardens, or signing up to participate in our annual Christmas Angel Shopping Expedition, if you are a student in grades 4-12. It can mean signing up to participate in our annual Christmas Pageant, if you are a child in pre-k through 5th grade, or it can mean purchasing new, unwrapped toys to donate on Christmas Eve to the families of Iglesia de San Pablo Episcopal. Keep an eye on the e-blast and your bulletin to see all the ways you can help others this Advent!


And as you help your neighbors, and strangers, at church, and in your community, remember to watch out for yourself, and your own family members and loved ones, at this time of year. The darkness and chill of this season, the busyness and stress of holiday preparations, even the memories associated with the holidays themselves, can be difficult, and each of us will at some point need a little extra kindness, a little more grace, a quick, cheerful word. Be gentle with yourself, and with one another. Be slow to take offence, and quick to forgive.


I wish you every blessing as you prepare for the holidays this year, here at church, in your own families, and in everything you do to help those in need. I am grateful for each of you. God bless you.


November 17, 2022 A Reflection from Deacon Patrice Taylor

Fear. We check election results every hour because we worry about the state of the nation. Social media churns out photos of infants on respirators, so young moms worry about RSV, checking temperatures like they change diapers. Lost is the idea that it’s been around since the 1950’s because it feels like Pandemic Part II. Toddlers “learn” soccer at my neighborhood park, with parents and coaches herding them between baby sized red cones. Getting a jump on competitive childhood sports. Nextdoor has us on pins and needles about last week’s burglary and isn’t there a new strain of the Corona virus? Inflation. Mass shootings.


I look for a virtual fireplace on You Tube to calm me down and within five videos I’m watching a house burn down because the algorithm understands that I’ll stick around longer if things get outrageous. Sometime life feels like another You Tube. To quote tech activist Tristan Harris, “No matter where you start, you end up more crazy.”


According to a recent Harris poll, 87% of Americans feel like it’s been one crisis after another for the past two years and a third of us would like to move to a different country if we could. 27% are so stressed most days they can’t function. And a firehose of information coming from the internet, this sort-of-truth, is drowning us every day in all kinds of fear. If your mind races. If you have a hard time praying. If you have days where you don’t believe in anything. If you can’t read a book, stand in a line without checking your phone, or stop the recreational shopping, don’t feel bad. Lots of people are struggling.


Maybe, as we approach Advent, the ancient way of faith has something quiet and precious to offer us. “First realize that you are sick”, says the author of the Tao Te Ching, “then you can move toward health.” Are your daily rhythms and habits feeding and calming you? Are your relationships blessing you? Do you feel connected to a wider network of loving others who remind you to trust in the Mystery of the Universe?


If your answer is no, then I wonder what you are doing with your soul, to paraphrase philosopher king Marcus Aurelius. Your life, your one unique and precious life, is not going to be centered if you don’t proactively push against the cultural forces that would have you distressed. If you long to be happier, you might think yet again about building a spiritual rule for living. Fill your life, as St Paul encouraged, “with those things that are good, and that deserve praise: those things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.” Fear, as you can see, isn’t, and never will be, on that list. 

November 10, 2022 A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


It is with great sadness, but also hope and joy, that I write today to tell you that my wife, Deb, has accepted the position of Region Missionary to serve the Northwest and Southwest Regions of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. Our family will be relocating to Connecticut at the beginning of the New Year.


We were not actively looking to relocate when the position came to her attention, but when we read the description, it seemed to have been written with her in mind. The Region Missionary serves to catalyze, convene, connect, and expand the capabilities of parishes across her geographic region, prioritizing collaborative community-building within and between congregations, and strengthening the life of the church as a whole. Most of Deb’s duties will be “on the road,” visiting and consulting with lay and clergy leaders in the 55 different congregations she will serve. I am so excited that she has this opportunity to use and expand her gifts for gathering, connecting, and inspiring diverse groups of people in such a new and creative way.


I will be in communication with the Transition Minister for the Diocese of Connecticut, and will apply for suitable positions within Deb’s region, but as yet, I do not have a definite position. I have loved my time at All Saints’, and I love each of you.

I look forward to being with you through the Advent and Christmas seasons, and please know that I will hold all of you in my heart forever, and that the lessons of faithfulness, courage, and love that you have taught me will stay with me from now on, and benefit your brothers and sisters in Christ in more places and ways than you will ever know.

November 3, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

We are transitioning into a new season. It is still what we call “Ordinary Time,” but we are moving quickly toward Advent. Among other things, this time in our parish life gives us the opportunity to celebrate our Patronal Feast. Other parishes have only one patron. They might be named for one of the Apostles for whom a book of the New Testament is attributed. Or they might be named for a later saint, possibly one to the martyrs or one of the patristic fathers. Their feast days allow them to remember the specific attributes of a particular person in history who lived their life in a way that they became a model for the lives of others.


All Saints’ feast is more complicated and at the same time more directly relevant. The Feast of All Saints’ observes those that I listed and more; it includes those who have been canonized by the church. The church on this day also remembers the saints unknown; those persons who lived lives worthy of that same recognition but who have not been identified.


Episcopalians have an additional resource to remember saints, the book “Holy Women, Holy Men.” We remember in this book a list of people who might not ordinarily be thought of as saints; Frederick Douglass, Absalom Jones, Oscar Romero, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christina Rossetti, Samuel Seabury, and Kamehameha and Emma, King and Queen of Hawaii, to name a few. On a local level, we remember Endicott Peabody, the first Episcopal Priest in Arizona.


This is by way of remembering more persons as saints of God. Once we have expanded our understanding to include these, we can begin to imagine that the definition of a saint goes far beyond those who have been formally named. It includes not only those around us, but can include us.


The last verse of our beloved hymn, “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” tells us:


They lived not only in ages past;

there are hundreds and thousands still;

the world is bright with the joyous saints

who love to do Jesus’ will.

You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,

in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;

for the saints of God are just folk like me,

and I mean to be one too.


What does it take to be a saint of God? Two things; Love God and Love your Neighbor.


As we come to the end our Pledge campaign, we hope that your understanding of yourself as a saint of God will also prompt you to financially support the ministry of this parish that remembers all of the saints. Because,


We are All Saints’. We are, ALL Saints.


October 27, 2022 A Reflection from the Rev. Dan Burner

At Diocesan Convention this year,  we sang a new song. The words and music were originally written in Spanish by an Argentinian composer by the name of Pablo Sosa, who was born in 1933 and died in 2020. It’s been running in my head almost constantly since

I first heard and sang it with all the parishes of our diocese at the Convention Eucharist. I love the words so much and share them with you now:


May this church be like a tree,

behind your house, there in your garden;

Meeting place for joy, and feast,

and simple prayer beneath its branches;

With its roots in earth so fertile,

and its arms raised high to heaven.

May this church bear fruits of justice,

acts of loving, and compassion.



Tree ever growing by living water,

running eternal, flowing from God.


May this church be like a tree,

there in the street or in the plaza;

For the birds a nesting branch,

for passers by a welcome shelter.

May it stand as if it’s watching,

near my house just round the corner,

Waiting for this weary pilgrim

with its arms wide to embrace me.




May this church be like a tree,

O God that thrives where you have planted;

May it stand to show the way,

your way of loving and self-giving,

Offering shade and fruit for sharing,

giving up its wood for burning.

May this living church that names you

be a tree of life eternal.




If you want to hear it sung you will find it here:



We pray All Saints’ can be this tree on Central Avenue in North Phoenix. But it takes care in many forms for a tree to grow and survive for many years. It takes water and feeding and pruning. We are in a period of recovery here at All Saints’. Time and disease have taken their toll on our branches, but our trunk is still strong and we see signs of new growth. Please at this time of year take time to pray about how you can be part of the care and growth of our church with your time, talent, and treasure. Just maybe your heart will be found to dwell here with Saints past and present.

October 20, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. David Sheetz

Our recent celebration of Francis of Assisi brought to mind a pilgrimage I made nearly 40 years ago.


I was living in San Francisco at the time.  An Episcopal priest I met at Grace Cathedral while he was visiting from New England would become a longtime friend.  He was the Rector of a parish dedicated to St. Francis.  His parish had been working on a trip to Assisi to honor their patron saint.  They wanted to visit as close to his holy day as possible (October 4th).  They had arranged to have one of the chapels in the crypt of the great basilica where St. Francis is buried reserved for the parish.


The trip had been conceived as a pilgrimage, but since many of the interested parishioners had not been to Italy before, other visitations were added before and after the visit to Assisi.  The group landed in Milan then made their way to Venice (3 days) via Monza and Verona.  Then to Florence (3 days) via Padua. Then to Assisi (3 days) via Siena, Arezzo, and Perugia. The final stop was in Rome (3 days).


There were three events that helped salvage the pilgrimage aspect of the trip.


In Florence, we stayed in a Renaissance villa in the countryside surrounded by vineyards.  The villa had a chapel which we were allowed to use on the Sunday we stayed there.  There were three Episcopal priests in the group – I was not ordained at the time.  The ancient chalice and paten had to be polished since it was obvious they hadn’t been used in decades.  The Eucharistic vestments were probably late 19th century fiddle back style.  One of the priests presided over what seemed a true Renaissance mass.  It was very moving for all, but especially for the presider.


In Assisi, we visited all the local Francis attractions and places of devotion. But the highlight was an all-day retreat in one of the chapels in the crypt from which Francis’ tomb was visible. This was September 26 – the closest day that was available near October 4.  The Rector led a powerful time of study, prayer, and devotion all enhanced by our presence in the basilica.


In Rome, only the three priests and I had an extraordinary experience at St. Peter’s Basilica.  We were sitting at a café along a street leading directly into St. Peter’s Square.  We noticed there was a steady stream of people entering the basilica. We had been there earlier, but it was temporarily closed to the public. When we finished our coffees, we made our way to St. Peter’s.  When we entered, all the seats were filled and standing room was filling up fast.  We surmised that there was an important ceremony about to begin – there were all sorts of dignitaries seated in the first many rows, including what appeared to be ambassadors, cardinals, bishops, and members of holy orders. We found a place to stand in the transept to the far left of high altar.  The procession was forming right in front of us.  When all was in order, the sacristan escorted the Pope (John Paul II) to his place in the procession.  The Pope passed about twenty feet in front of us, blessing the people standing there as the procession moved toward the high altar.  For four rather cynical Episcopalians (relative to the papacy), it was impossible not to be moved and to cross ourselves as we received the blessing from the Pope.


p.s.  I was cleaning out files a while ago and came across the itinerary for this trip.  Therefore, a reminder of the trip and the detail of where we were when.


October 13, 2022 A Reflection from Deacon Patrice Taylor

From 1921 to 1926, Earnest Hemingway lived in Paris. I have been reading his short memoir of that time, “The Moveable Feast” and am struck by the essential truth of some of his observations. “I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’”


I am an oil painter, not a writer, but I can absolutely understand the battle with self-doubt implied in this quote, which whispers under its breath, “You know you may never write again, don’t you?” It’s the fear behind the adage, “You’re only as good as your last…” fill-in-the-blank performance.


This culture of ours is tough in its demands, getting tougher, faster, and colder all the time. Young adults face epic levels of anxiety and us older folks get the message that we just aren’t particularly relevant. Does it ever hit you that all this yearning and striving may be more than we are designed to handle? Jesus was arguably the most influential person in history and he never went to college, never had more than one outfit to his name, and died young and in shame.


Something is just not right in 21st Century America and everyone knows it. The apparent demands on our time keep us from ever hearing that one true sentence and the way we think about our lives these days, is, for many or us, entirely focused on how busy we are and how much there is yet to do. “It wrenches us out of the present,” says author Oliver Burkemann, “leading to a life spent leaning into the future, worrying about whether things will work out.”


God knows who you are, however, and invites you to hear that pure communication from your soul that is always available if you can sit in Now. It is as reliable as sunrise. Hidden in plain sight. As Hemingway noted, “There was always one true sentence that you knew, or had seen, or had heard someone say.” There is always a moment, no matter what is going on, to listen in discernment to the voice of Truth. It is always there, in something that you know, have seen, or have heard someone say. Do not worry. God loves you. This is the true sentence that puts everything else in perspective. 

October 6, 2022  A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,

This past Sunday, we kicked off our fall stewardship season with a celebration of what is perhaps All Saints’ largest and most far-reaching ministry: All Saints’ Episcopal Day School. With that for our beginning, it is perhaps time to reflect a little bit on what stewardship, in its deepest sense, means.

When I think about stewardship, I always remember a cold, clear Christmas Eve at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Eugene, OR. I was 19 years old, and it was my last year at home, since in the spring I would graduate from the community college I had been attending, and leave to study music at the University of Illinois. My heart was very full as I stood in the back of the church after the midnight service, listening to the postlude and watching the light reflecting off the gold candlesticks and white altar linens, set against the green of the pine boughs that filled the sanctuary. Worship that evening had been very beautiful, and the presence of God felt very near, and as I stood there, I was suddenly overwhelmed by how very, very rich I was.

“No matter what happens in the future, good or bad,” I remember thinking, as the last ringing tones of the organ faded into a silence as richly textured as the music, “No matter what happens, I have had this. This is part of me forever, and I am part of it, and no one and nothing can ever take it away from me.”

I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, but I understood that evening what it means to be part of the communion of all saints; part of the universal Church that is the body of Christ. That evening I was standing in the middle of its beating heart. I have often heard it said that the Church is not just the building, or the institution, or the denominational affiliation, or the organizational structure, but rather that the Church is the people in it, and I think this is profoundly true. But the Church is more than that. The Church is the people in it now, and all the people who have ever been in it, united to God and connected to one another across time, space, and even death itself, by the Spirit of Christ when we worship together.

If all of us together are the body of Christ, then our prayer is our beating heart, and we are all very, very rich, because we are all part of the living body of Christ.

But while this can never be taken from us, neither does it belong to us. We did not create it, discover it, build it, or earn it for ourselves. It was held in stewardship for us by those who came before us, and for them by those who came before them, all the way back to the first apostles, who received it from Christ himself. And now it is our great privilege, and our sacred responsibility to be stewards of this gift in our turn, for the sake of those who will come after us. We are stewards of the beating heart of the body of Christ, and it is our turn to give our treasure, treasure that is fleeting and perishable, so that those who come after us will be as rich as we are in that heavenly treasure that lasts eternally.

September 22, 2022  A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


Something that I love about my job at All Saints’ is that I get to serve as chaplain to the All Saints’ chapter of the order of the Daughters of the King. The Daughters of the King is an order for women and girls who undertake a rule of life, which incorporates daily prayer with service to others.


Our All Saints’ chapter is especially active. They serve all of us, and those we love, when they take our little blue prayer request cards each week and pray for the people on them every single day. They also make the blessing bags you can find in the Narthex to give to those in need. They also brought us all together for a wonderful parish potluck at the end of summer!


For their next two monthly meetings, they have asked me to do a two-part workshop on prayer, since it is such an integral part of all their lives. I began this past Sunday with this exercise:


Think of the person you love most in the world. This could be a spouse, a child, a dear friend, or anyone else. Now name the things you do to maintain your relationship with that person. Some of the things we thought of are: Learning to listen to them, checking in with them, spending time with them, inviting them over, asking them what is on their heart, trusting them, and being willing to have hard conversations. You can probably think of even more. You might even want to write a list.


Once you have your list, think about your relationship with God. How many of these things do you do with God? How many of them could you find a way to do? Are there some that you would like to do, but you can’t figure out what that would look like?


All the different forms of prayer are simply the ways that human beings have discovered to maintain a healthy and loving relationship with our God. If you are looking for a new way to spend time with God, the Ignatian Prayer of Examen might be a good place to start. The regular practice of this prayer allows us to check in with God, and invites us to pay careful attention to the ways in which the Spirit is moving in each moment of our daily lives. In it, we take a magnifying glass to the seemingly ordinary, seeking to encounter the Divine. 


How to Pray the Examen

1. Find a comfortable place to sit, your spine upright but relaxed, both feet flat on the floor. Take a few deep breaths, and place yourself in God’s presence. Give thanks for God’s great love for you. 

2. Ask God for the grace to understand how God is acting in your life. Sit for several moments in God’s presence. You might want to take another deep breath before you continue.

3. Review your day, moment by moment. Recall each specific event, and your feelings at the time. With simple, non-judgmental curiosity, notice which moments and events keep drawing your attention back to them. Place them intentionally in the light and presence of God as you examine them.

4. Reflect on each part of what you did, said, or thought in those instances. Were you drawing closer to God, or further away?

5. Come back to the present moment. Feel your feet in contact with the floor. Take a deep breath. Then, look toward tomorrow, and think of ways in which you might collaborate more fully with God. Be specific. Take all the time you need.

6. Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer. 

September 8, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

So, we begin a new program year at All Saints’! It’s a chance to hit the “refresh” button and make great things happen for our parish. Some things are different as we begin. We have a slightly modified Sunday morning schedule with our services at 8:00 and 10:00am and a time for Christian formation in the 9 o’clock hour. The staff and volunteers have lined out an ambitious schedule of sessions for the adults and youth.

The choir is back from their hiatus, and we are all anticipating the beauty that they bring to our 10 o’clock service, not to mention the monthly Evensong. They went on retreat and spent a whole Saturday rehearsing under the direction of Dr. Craig Westendorf, our interim music director.

The Altar Guild is meeting this Saturday at 9am to make certain that they are fully prepared for the coming year. In addition, the acolyte’s will be in the church practicing their part of the liturgy on the same day at 10am. We would not be able to create the beautiful experience that our Eucharist is for each of us without their very devoted work of both these groups.

We are also grateful for the Daughters of the King. The recent potluck they organized was a great success. As usual, there was so many delicious options available and the company was very lively with conversations at each of the tables. I hear a rumor that they will make this available again in the near future. This thoughtful group is also preparing “blessing bags” to give to homeless people as a random act of kindness.

Last but not least, this Sunday is the Ministry Fair. It’s your opportunity to learn about the ministries of All Saints’. There are a variety of opportunities for service both within and outside the parish. Without the volunteers who make these ministries prosper, we would not be the great parish that All Saints’ is in the city of Phoenix.

Yes, we have much to be grateful for… We are blessed by the grace of each other in our lives. We are blessed by the life giving message of the Gospel of Christ and the story of Jesus. We are blessed that 70 years ago this parish was established by people who looked with hope into the future and made this place for us to be and preserve.

And now for something completely different! I will be going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land this month, beginning on the 15th and returning on the 28th. This will be my second trip to Jerusalem and vicinity. I plan to send greetings to you from there. It is an opportunity for me to go even deeper into the experience of seeing the actual places where Jesus and his disciples did their ministry. I ask for your prayers and I will be praying for you while I’m away.



September 1, 2022 A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God, 

You are 10 years old. You and your best friend are buying candy at a grocery store. Well, you are. Your friend never seems to have any money, and there doesn’t always seem to be very much to eat in your friend’s home. As you and your friend walk through the store, you notice your friend take a bag of bagels and slip them into their backpack without paying for them. No one else sees this. What do you do?

School has just begun at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, and the fourth grade is studying the cardinal virtues again this year: Courage, Wisdom, Temperance, Justice, Faith, Hope, and Love. This past week, in our first religion class, we defined virtue as “the habit of doing what is right.” Courage, then, gives you the strength to do what is right, while wisdom helps you to know what the right thing to do is.


When we got to this point, we stopped and talked about different examples of situations that might require courage, wisdom, or both. Then one student said, “Now give us a really, really hard situation for wisdom, Pastor Finn!” It was clear that no ordinary example would do. The impromptu case study above was the best one I could think of on the spur of the moment.


The students agreed that it was hard. They thought very deeply about it. One suggested that the friend needed the bagels more than the store needed the money. Another was worried about the stealing, and that the friend might get in trouble later. A third suggested turning the friend in, but offering to pay for the bagels. A fourth pointed out that it wouldn’t be necessary to turn anybody in if you took the bagels, went back into the store, and apologized and paid for them yourself.


And then, building on everything everyone else had said, another student gave what the class agreed was the wisest solution yet: “If you’re buying candy, and your friend is hungry, I would take my candy back and use the money to pay for the bagels. And maybe there would be enough left to buy them something else to eat as well.”


Friends, it is impossible to be anything but hopeful after participating in a conversation like that among a group of fourth graders on their first day of religion class. We can all be very proud of the amazing work everyone at the Day School is doing in our name, as they help to form these creative, intelligent, and compassionate young people, who will someday change the world.

August 25, 2022  A Reflection from Nanette Towsley, Director of Communications

Capturing Our Legacy, One Picture at a Time


Hard to believe that in a relatively short span of time, technology has blessed us with “communication devices” so that we can talk to people around the globe and take high quality photos and videos you would expect of a professional photographer. It’s like Star Trek and Outer Limits have become our expected norm.


A great way for future generations to know what we have done here at All Saints’ is by taking pictures, videos, recording livestream services. It’s also a great way to remind people of what is coming up on the calendar, by using photos from the recent past. Makes for a more interesting eblast. Didn’t Jesus say somewhere, “Truly I tell you, pictures are worth a thousand words.”


While wonderful written accounts of our history make for a great look back at the community of All Saints’ over time, photos give an instantaneous, unblemished, realistic view. You can feel the energy of the space. You can hear the beauty of our worship and choir. You can see the gatherings of people. The smiles are genuine. You can experience our faith at work. You can be touched by the Holy Spirit in our midst. Whatever we can do to highlight the traditions, joy, memories, and faith—the better.


For years, I’ve been the main “capturer” of our community culture. I’ve been blessed with the help from a variety of friends in the pews on occasion, some still here, some moved away. With our new method of producing a livestream service at 10am, I need your hands and feet (just like Jesus does) to accomplish our mission of capturing our legacy. I am locked in the A/V center in the priest sacristy during the 10am service (I need interested people to chat with who may want to also help with this...more on that later).


To chronicle our daily/weekly life at All Saints’, I need your help to snap photos with your phone, or camera, or even videos to keep our history alive for us now to enjoy and for those to come to see what we are doing to build the kingdom of God on earth.


Everyone is invited to participate. No commitment needed. No schedule is required. Do it once, or do it a hundred times. If something touches you, take a quick pic with your phone and send to me via email or text. Need to know how to do that? I can show you, it is simple. Just no flash in services. That’s the only rule.


Involved in a ministry at All Saints’? Take pictures of your events and activities and share the love of your ministries through photos. Even random selfies of you and church friends can tell the story. Just say “cheese.”


I’ll use a quote from Robert Frank, a contemporary Swiss photographer and documentary film maker, “There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” And I’ll add to that, or plants, and flowers, or church buildings, or animals or birds, or . . .


Want to be involved? AGAIN, no commitment required. Just email your photos to ntowsley@allsaintsoncentral.org or text them to 602.430.0286.


Want to learn about our new livestream team? You’ve got my number and my address. It’s super fun. Yes, it takes some practice, knowledge of our church service, and a minimal commitment. But we’re recording our “now” for those who can’t physically be here today and for those through the fullness of time.

August 18, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. David Sheetz

Publisher's Note: When Fr. David asked me what he should reflect upon, I suggested he tell us about himself since he is fairly new to All Saints' and folks would like to get to know him. So here is his introduction.

I was born in Detroit, Michigan and lived there through my undergraduate schooling at Wayne State University. I began my involvement with church music at the age of 14 as an organist and at the age of 16 as a music director (organist/choir director). I began in a small mission Episcopal church and ended as music director of the Roman Catholic Basilica Church of Old St. Mary’s in Greek Town.

I attended graduate school at Stanford University earning an MA in historical musicology and completing course work for a PhD.  In the San Francisco Bay Area, I served a number of Episcopal churches in various capacities in their music programs.

After leaving Stanford University, I started an 18-year career in consumer banking, based in San Francisco, ending as a Senior Vice President and lead of the Retail Administration Group. It was during this time that I joined the congregation of Grace Cathedral wanting to get experience in the church as a lay/non-staff person. I served as a lay reader, Eucharistic minister, sub-deacon, officiant and preacher at evening prayer and Sunday Evensong, leader of the lay catechist team for the (year-long) adult formation program. I served as a member of the Congregation Counsel and as its president (equivalent to the Senior Warden). I also served as a member of the Cathedral’s Board of Directors.

It was during this time that I perceived my call to ordained ministry. The Cathedral was my sponsoring parish for the process. I attended the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP), Berkeley, California. My “middler” year was spent as the exchange student at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford University.

I spent several years as a hospital chaplain. First at San Francisco General at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, then at Stanford University and Packard Children’s hospitals.

While interviewing for jobs as a deacon/priest, I took a temporary job with an intellectual property law firm which lead to another secular career ending as Director of Technology.

After retiring from secular work, I began volunteering for Filoli, an historical house and garden, a member of the National Trust for Historical Preservation. I had previously been a member for many years. There I successively headed the Art, Hospitality, and Special Events Committees also serving on the Friends Board of Directors. I also volunteered for a local professional ballet company, Menlowe Ballet, and served on its Board.

Until “retiring” from all local associations in July 2019, I had served several Episcopal parishes as either Assisting Priest or Associate Music Director, or both.

Once located in the Phoenix area, I began a search for a local parish. I discovered All Saints’ and became a member shortly thereafter.

My interests outside the church continue to be ballet, opera and photography (landscape, wildlife, and dance).

August 4, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner


Some of you may have wondered about the source of the benediction that I often use. It is not one that is customarily used from our 1978 Book of Common Prayer, but it is from another BCP from many years ago.


The Book of Common prayer is a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion. Edward VI of England published the first BCP in 1549 as a result of the

English Reformation which resulted in the break from the Roman Church. Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, (who was later burned at the stake by Queen Mary as a heretic) revised the book in 1552. It was not used during Mary ‘s reign because she restored Roman Catholic worship. After her death Elizabeth I reinstituted its use and in 1604, James I made revisions. After more upheaval, a version was published in 1662. This edition remains the official prayer book of the Church of England. Attempts to update the book have never been approved, because it requires the full approval of Parliament. In 1923, an attempt was made to revise the book and a proposed book was placed in consideration, but it was not approved.


The benediction that I use comes in large part with some revisions from this proposed volume. It appears in the liturgy for confirmation or as it is labeled in the book,







It is the benediction and reads:  


GO forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which is good; render to no man evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honour all men; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. And the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be upon you, and remain with you for ever.


The updated version I use, that I first heard invoked by +Marc Andrus, Bishop of California, reads:


Go forth into the world in peace;

be of good courage;

hold fast that which is good;

render to no one evil for evil;

strengthen the fainthearted;

support the weak;

help the afflicted.

Be patient with everyone,

    but make no peace with oppression.

Love and serve the Lord,

    rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And the Blessing of God Almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be upon you, and remain with you always. Amen.


This version removes gender and adds the idea that oppression is not to be tolerated. I find this language hopeful and hope you do too!

July 28, 2022 A Reflection from Deacon Patrice Taylor

If Game of Thrones took place in the desert Southwest, the tagline would be “Summer is coming.” You know, that sense of impending doom? It is our hard season. Our survival test, fraying us both physically and psychologically. As a deacon, I also see summer as our season of greatest disparity between those who have and those who don’t. Lucian and I were blessed to be able to take two trips somewhere cooler this summer and many of us plan time away, whether a drive to a relative’s house in San Diego or a grand cruise down the Danube.


But what about the people who can’t? Working people sometimes can’t take time off for more than a couple of days at a time. People who are ill or elderly, homebound or disabled. They may lack the money and physical capacity to travel. What about the young couple you know where both people are working fulltime and can’t mesh their vacations? What about my very pregnant daughter-in-law who will be here the whole summer between work and getting ready for a baby? What about your landscaper, housekeeper, Uber driver, Starbucks barista, preschool teacher, grocery store clerk? A whole bunch of people see vacations as an economic luxury they can’t afford as rents and gas prices climb Mount Everest.


And what about the homeless. Last year the first heat related death in Maricopa County was on April 11th and the last was November 23rd. 336 people died in between. That is more than a 70% increase since 2019, before the pandemic. Even indoor heat related deaths increased in 2021, for the first time since 2018, as more people got behind on their electricity bills. 135 of those deaths were because people had no indoor air conditioning at all. Imagine that.


I say all this to remind us to be kind. Jesus told us that to whom much is given, much will be expected. If you have a lifestyle that allowed you some heat relief this summer, enjoy! And send Nanette photos to share with us. But be mindful of every person you pass, reaching out in compassion when you suspect that they haven’t had the rest and refreshment that your circumstances have allowed you. And help when you can. The following organizations especially need your help this summer:


The Salvation Army Herberger Family Services Center,



St Mary’s Food Bank,



Central Arizona Shelter Services,



The Arizona Faith Network 2022 Cooling Center Initiative, https://www.arizonafaithnetwork.org/cooling-centers




July 21, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

In year C of the Lectionary, we are given the opportunity to hear what we call the Lord’s Prayer in its biblical context as part of our Sunday readings. We recite this prayer often, actually in every liturgy that we offer to God. It is an important part of our Christian heritage. I still remember my father’s pride when, as a young boy, I showed him I could recite it from memory.


Different denominations use different versions mainly the Lukan or the Matthean. Other versions have been written including the lines written in the New Zealand Prayer Book. Meanwhile congregations have their favorite. This favoritism is sometimes even found between different service times at a single parish.


I personally prefer the King James Version that uses “which” as the pronoun for God. Neither of the versions in Luke or Matthew have a pronoun and yet we have come to use “who” because it was a modernization of the KJV “which.” My personal theology tells me that God is not a person, but rather a being. I believe “which” portrays this fact. More recently I have begun to think of God as Holy Mystery, but I struggle to pronounce that fact in prayer. (Age and repetition have had their impact on me.)


Meanwhile, I don’t believe Jesus was intending that we repeat the exact same words every time we pray, but rather was giving us a formula for prayer in general. In effect he was saying, begin by glorifying God, follow that with a petition that our daily needs be met. And ask for forgiveness for the ways we have separated ourselves from God’s love and the affection of others in our world. The Doxology (For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory for ever.) was added after the authors of Luke and Matthew to the end of the prayer. We say the doxology in the Eucharist and morning and evening prayer, but not in Compline.


In effect then, the reason we say the Lord’s Prayer, in whatever version, is to acknowledge the gift Jesus gave us in his instructions for our practice of prayer. It might be instructive for all of us to indulge in different versions of the prayer in order to illuminate the prayer life of each of us.


July 14, 2022  A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


We have reached a part of summer that I really enjoy. Now is my opportunity, with the end of the academic year, and my return from vacation, to take a breath, reflect on the past year, and prepare myself for the year to come. This past year has been an amazing year of ministry for me, and I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of the work I do that you may not always see:


In collaboration with amazing colleagues at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, this year I have been able to create a Lower School and 5th grade religion curriculum based on the two great commandments of Christianity: Love of God, and love of neighbor. As they develop as learners from Pre-Kindergarten through 5th Grade, All Saints’ religion students learn to apply the academic rigor they learn in other subjects to their thinking about life’s biggest questions, and the results of that thinking on the part of our students has been an amazing privilege to witness.


This year, I got to watch a second grade class discuss the nature of God and Jesus for the entirety of a 40-minute class period, just because they wanted to! I got to listen as fifth graders presented deeply insightful readings of Old Testament stories to their classmates. I got to lead first graders through a workbook on what it means to be part of a community, and share creation stories from different religious and cultural traditions with third graders.


I got to explore the Gospel of Mark with seventh grade confirmation students from both the church and the school, and watch fourth graders decide which virtues they most want to cultivate in their own characters. And as always, I got to tell pre-kindergarten and kindergarteners the story about God that never ends.


As I have journeyed through this year with them, our children and youth have consistently reminded me that while the world may be full of change and uncertainty, and even violence, the principles we as Christians have based our lives on remain the same. We are called to love God, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to live our lives in the faith that, in God, the deepest, strongest, and purest love imaginable is at the foundation of the universe itself.


Now more than ever, as we take time to reflect, before we move into a new academic and program year in a stressful and uncertain time, I believe it is important for us to find new and creative ways to continue to teach our young people—and ourselves—the unchanging and unchangeable principles of faith, hope, love, and service that remain at the heart of the Gospel.


It truly takes a village to teach children what it means to love God and our neighbors, and I am blessed to be part of such a village here at All Saints’. Thank you for all you do to support this ministry. You are having an impact on the world, both now, and in the future, that is impossible to measure, and that is vital to the health of our community, nation, and world.

July 7, 2022  A Reflection from Lucian Taylor

In 1933, American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr composed a prayer so popular, it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous. The prayer says: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”


I don’t know about you, but for me, accepting things I cannot change is way more difficult than trying to change the things I can. Overcoming fear or procrastination is a breeze compared to accepting something I think is supremely wrong or unjust, even if there’s nothing I can do about it. And that shows me I still have a long way to go to be like Jesus.


Jesus voluntarily allowed himself to be found guilty of crimes He didn’t commit, to be sentenced to die for our sins, and to endure the most excruciating death possible as His enemies taunted and abused him. When I think how much silent suffering Jesus accepted and endured for me, compared to how loud I get when someone cuts me off in traffic, or accuses me unjustly, or takes what is mine, I kind of want to disappear.


The contrast is downright embarrassing. Yet I still have the urge to cry out, “It’s not fair!” Sometimes the only way God can get me to accept being judged unfairly is for the Holy Spirit to gently remind me that if I were being judged fairly, I would be found guilty a few hundred times per day. Oops. Yikes. Thank you for your grace to me, Lord.


The Gospels exhort us to fiercely advocate for justice, especially for the oppressed, the poor, the widow, the alien in our midst, and anyone else who has been treated unjustly. But strangely, the Gospels don’t tell us to advocate for ourselves. Instead, they tell us to extend God’s grace to others: turn the other cheek, love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us. Again, Yikes! Who can do that perfectly? No one, of course.


This leaves us in a very uncomfortable position: we are called to do what we cannot do. How does that work? It doesn’t, if we’re trying to do it on our own. It only works if we humble ourselves, admit we need God’s help, ask God for help, and then trust that God, who loves us, will help us do what we can’t do on our own. The funny thing is, when we acknowledge our need of God’s help, God gives us the ability to endure hardships as we take on difficult challenges. Turning to God reminds us that we have an all-powerful partner who will never leave us or forsake us.


This life is not meant to be lived alone. It is meant to be a shared journey. We can choose where to walk, but wherever that is, God promises to walk with us, giving us wisdom, courage, patience, love, and endurance for each step along the way.


To truly accept what we cannot change, we have to trust in God’s wisdom, rather than in our own. This can be hard to do, but each time we let go and allow God to guide us, we become more aware of this wonderful truth: God doesn’t expect us to run the whole universe, or even two-thirds of it. God simply calls us to rest in Him, to walk with Him, and to receive His love as we journey together. 

June 30, 2022  A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner


We are living though a period of rapid and dramatic change. Some of this change we may welcome, some of it not. And with all these vagaries come the impact on individuals. Depending on who and where you are, a particular impact may bring great joy or possibly devastating pain and ruin. The temptation is that when things go our way, we don’t always think about the people who are on the other side of the change. Some might say this is the way it should be, right? I won, they lost! And in our current world, it sometimes feels like winning is everything. Because, if we are not winners, we are losers.


I remember a comment my mother would often make as we would drive around Phoenix doing routine errands or just going somewhere. She would see someone who by all appearances was having a rough time based on casual observation and would say, “There but for the grace of God go I.” I remember as a child that I did enjoy winning games and earning good grades, but never thought much about the people who because of my winning, lost. My mother’s comment however helped me to think about how fortunate I was and over time to be aware that other people were less fortunate.


Good fortune can be a fickle thing. Based on where and when and how it occurs. We might be the fortunate one, or not. Thinking in these terms helped me to be aware of others who might for whatever reason be less fortunate at any particular time. As time passed, I began to notice that I felt grateful for my good fortune and at the same time more aware of those who were less fortunate.


It is a fact that our current culture seems to be focused on winning. The result being that we may have become all too easy to proclaim others losers. None of the emotions which accompany this particular dynamic are admirable. Pride, envy, even hate can suddenly prevail. And yet we are called to a different response. Compassion is one of the hallmarks of Christianity. We need to place the needs of others as equal to our own. We need to show God’s unconditional love and be less likely to resort to judgment and ridicule.


A prayer that we have been using in our devotions at the weekly staff meeting:

 God of faithful surprises, throughout the ages

you have made known your love and power in

unexpected ways and places: May we daily

perceive the joy and wonder of your abiding

presence and offer our lives in gratitude for

our redemption. Amen.


June 23, 2022  A Reflection from Nanette Towsley


Reprint from the Requiem for A Million Souls on June 19, 2022



We are the survivors. The observers. We have watched the world change in a blink of an eye. We took for granted so many things would always be the same. And then, a global interruption of life itself. We watched the news in horror as the scenes of places we knew turned into giant triage centers for the sick. So many sick people. So many people on ventilators. Not enough ventilators. We watched giant semi-trucks parked on public streets in major cities used to haul away the dead.


This is not the life we knew or ever wanted to know. It was as if we were dropped into a science fiction movie where we were unwitting actors without a script. We were all touched by it. Even if we didn’t have a personal connection to the dying, we were still personally connected. Surreal. Shocking. Sad. Scared. Sorrowful. Lots of emotions to describe our feelings at the time. It was on our tablets and televisions; it was on the lips of most conversations; and it was visible in our new reality of signs in every nook and cranny of public space.


What we cannot deny: A million people in our own country have died. It is official like a date on a calendar. It is more than just a number, it is a critical mass. A critical mass of the humanity in which we are all intrinsically connected. Heart-breaking stories of families, children, lonely people, famous people, poor and rich people alike, old and young, healthy and frail, the disease and pain does not discriminate, or contain itself to one group of people, who perhaps “deserve it.” No one deserves it. No one expected it to go as far as it did. It changed us in so many ways. Unexpected ways.


We remember the stories from history. The 1918 Flu. The Black Death plagues of the middle ages. The AIDS epidemic. But we have compartmentalized those past tragedies. They are tied to all the ills and wars and sadness of times past. It could not happen to us now, with all our technology, and with all our scientific and medical capabilities, with our current knowledge. We ask ourselves how could this happen? And yet it did. And it can. And it can again. 


We have to look beyond the pain and weariness of these pandemic events—from toilet paper shortages to hospitals overflowing with people gasping for breath. If we take the extra time now where we can prayerfully and lovingly choose to be more present in all the lives we encounter every day—we can salvage our humanity. While we cannot change what happened, we can remember the million souls that have been lost and use their experience as a bridge to appreciate life more, one breath at a time. We are the survivors. We owe it to them. We owe it to ourselves. 


May 26, 2022 A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn


Dear People of God,


I write today with so much gratitude in my heart for the 13 members of All Saints’   who were confirmed at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral two weeks ago on Saturday. Congratulations to all of you!! As always, I am especially proud of the students in the Youth Confirmation Class of 2022. Eleven of these students chose to confirm their commitment to God in the rite of confirmation this year, one will do so next year, and one was baptized at Easter, but chose to wait to be confirmed.


As we always do in youth confirmation, we began in January with an examination of the baptismal covenant, and asked the question, “What does it mean to turn to Jesus Christ, to put our whole trust in his grace and love, and to follow and obey him as our Lord?” Or, more simply, “Who is Jesus, and what does it mean to follow him?”


For the rest of our time together, we read and discussed the Gospel of Mark with these questions in mind, and the students were thoughtful and insightful in their discussion of their discoveries. In their own words, here is a snapshot of who Jesus is, and what following him means to the Youth Confirmation Class of 2022:


Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, an exorcist, a leader, and a teacher. He is a friend of John, who is more powerful than John, and who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. He is from Nazareth, and has brothers and sisters. He is tempted by Satan. He is a healer, and a political figure. He wants people to think and remember, he is willing to break rules for a good cause, he is someone angels wait on, someone everyone obeys, and someone who loves everyone. He doesn’t bow to other authority. He doesn’t care what people think of him, and he cares about the people who are suffering the most. He is beloved, trusted, selfless, humble, persecuted, patient, busy, overwhelmed, and doesn’t want to attract too much attention.


Jesus teaches us to be selfless, to give others second chances, to be open-minded, and to be conscious of our own actions and intentions. He teaches us a more forgiving understanding of God. He teaches us how to teach others, and that everyone who does the will of God is his family. He teaches that less is more and more is less; that the greatest person doesn’t think they’re the greatest; that the less you have, the easier it is to follow him; that possessions make it harder to follow him; and that the denarius has no worth to God.


Jesus teaches that what comes from your heart, and not your food, can defile you; that if you’re just helping people in order to get something for yourself, it’s not selfless; that the least will be greatest and the greatest will be least as it relates to the kingdom of heaven; that if you welcome the un-valuable, the most valuable will welcome you; that he is not the Messiah they think he is; and that he will be killed and resurrected. He teaches that if you’re greedy, you will lose your life, and if you’re willing to sacrifice your life for a good cause, you will keep it.


Jesus teaches us to care about ourselves, but not in a selfish way; to be selfless and do good for others out of the pureness of our hearts; not to listen to the emperor, but to listen to Jesus; and not to try to stop people who are doing the same thing as us, just in a different way.”


Thank you to everyone in this congregation for your ongoing commitment to our youth as they continue their adventure into life as followers of Jesus Christ.

May 19, 2022 A Reflection from Deacon Patrice Taylor

The thermometer topped 100 degrees this week in Phoenix and it’s clear that we’re entering the hard season. Errands in the morning. Water. Shade. Wait it out till you see Halloween pumpkins. We enjoyed six months of wonderful weather and life isn’t always sunny and mild. Sometimes it’s relentlessly difficult and we just have to hunker down. All lives have this rhythm. It’s just so hard to survive the baking sun when it happens to be beating down on you, personally.

I have a dear loved one in this kind of place right now. Her spouse died and left her in financial chaos, her housing is insecure for the future, she has a new job she dislikes, two amputated toes that make it hard to walk, and a mountain of bureaucracy to dig through to tie up his life. All while his last medical bills seep in daily like a rising flood and she holds grief at bay.

I am asked a lot why bad things like this happen to good people like her. In essence, it’s the question of weather. You can find places with mostly harsh weather or mostly great weather but even the Arctic has the glorious Northern Lights and Hawaii is heavenly unless your island happens to be erupting. The question isn’t why we suffer because loss and difficulty are simply part of being human. The actual question is what you do with it. Daphne Rose Kingma wrote a beautiful little book about this a dozen years ago called “Ten Things To Do When Your Life Falls Apart.” If your personal weather these days is brutal, you might consider her advice.

Cry. It’s ok to grieve whatever you’ve lost. Face your defaults, the unhelpful strategies you tend to lean on to cope. Do something different. Let go of whatever you need to release. Remember the strengths and gifts God built into you long ago. Persist at the demanding work of moving forward. Find ways to absorb the changes you must accept. Live simply. In the community of others. And lean on God’s love and guidance like your life depends on it. The only mistake is to lose hope. Even that last struggle, the one that will end your life, is only a door opening to the mysterious glory of forever with God. So, it’s all ok. Every bit of it. Just put on your sunglasses and love everyone you can, every way you can, every day. It’s hot outside? Bring it on. Every day is one day closer to October. 

May 12, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

"See, the home of God is among mortals.

He will dwell with them as their God;

they will be his peoples,

and God himself will be with them;

he will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Death will be no more;

mourning and crying and pain will be no more,

for the first things have passed away."

And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”

                                                                  —Revelation 21:1-6

Our New Testament reading from Revelation this week is a beautiful reading with much mystical language. The Revelation to John is filled with this type of language and we understand that it is intended to be coded messages addressing the situation of Israel during the time following the destruction of the second temple. At the same time, this passage can say much to us in our times.

The reference to “a new heaven and a new earth” is designed to make us think about our relationship with God. The classical mind thinks of heaven and earth separated by a great distance and reflective of the dwelling places of God and humans. But we are told that the first heaven and earth, those of the more classical understanding have passed away; they are no more. How can this new heaven and earth be different from the first? Could it be because the distance is removed and we are dwelling together with God? Together with God in a oneness that guides our lives in harmony toward the harmony we can find in relationship with God. Possibly it is the fruition of the suggestion of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin that, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

And beyond this we are told that the sea is also, “no more.” Why would the sea, that place where so many find solace on it’s beaches, go away and why would this be good? The sea was classically understood to be the source of chaos and evil. Great destructive creatures emerge from the sea and people are lost into its depths to never be seen again. So, John is telling us that the source of chaos and evil will be no more. In addition, the New Jerusalem will be sent down from heaven from God. A symbol that we will live in and through complex relationships with other people. In the midst of this we will come to know that God the dwelling place of God is with us and we will be the people of God. Through this relationship we will receive the water of life and know God’s peace because we will live in the fullness of time in deep and abundant relationship with God and all creatures.

May 5, 2022 A Reflection from Lucian Taylor, Priest Postulant

In 2004, psychologist Barry Schwartz wrote a fascinating book entitled, The Paradox of Choice. The main premise is this: the more choices we are offered, the less satisfied we become. The reason is simple: when there are more things to choose from, there is a smaller chance that the particular item we choose will turn out to be the best one. Having many choices means having many more chances to make a big mistake.


What the paradox of choice leaves us with is a kind of paralysis: we become so afraid of making the wrong choice that we don’t make any choice at all. Instead, we sit on the fence endlessly, feeling both restless and anxious. Restless because we desperately want to make a choice, anxious because we fear we will make the wrong choice.


You can see how the paradox of choice could make for an unhappy life. How do I know I am buying the best house? The best car? The best TV? The best detergent?  The best toothbrush? The list of consumer purchases is endless.


But so is the list of relational purchases. How do I know I am buying the best husband or wife? The best church? The best friends? The best co-workers? The best mental health counselor to help me deal with all my paranoia about making choices?


In 1980, I had a chance to visit the Soviet Union when it was still a Communist country. Moscow was fascinating. There were no billboards, advertisements, promotional campaigns, discounts, sales, or choices. You want bread? Wait in a long line. You give me ticket, I give you bread. Same bread as everyone else. No packaging. Just bread. Enjoy your stale bread.


It was definitely not a perfect system. But no one in the Soviet Union stayed up at night wondering if their loaf was the best artisan bread sourced properly with non-GMO seed. You wake up hungry? Have some stale bread.


I know this all sounds quite silly. What’s wrong with having choices or getting what you want or getting a good deal? Nothing. But there is something wrong with spending your very few precious days on this earth fretting about choices.


You and I were made in the image of God because we are meant to be the face of God to the world. That is, God put us here to love each other and to extend God’s love and kindness and grace into every corner of the earth where we go, and into the heart of each person whose life intersects with ours.


But to do that, we have to be paying attention to people, not things. We have to have the mental and emotional bandwidth to engage with people who need our help, our advice, our friendship, and our love. We have to be mentally, emotionally, and physically available. And since each of us only has so much to give, we need to spend less of our energy fretting about choices, and more of our energy pouring God’s love into the lives of the people God loves, which is everyone. Because which is more satisfying and brings us more peace and joy: sharing our latest find, or finding someone to share God’s love with?


Please, go ahead. Bring home the best locally sourced non- GMO fresh-baked bread you can find. But then invite someone over to share it with. You’ll be amazed how the flavor is enhanced by pairing the bread with some choice laughter, a kind word, a warm heart, and the presence of God.


April 28, 2022  A Reflection From Deacon Patrice Taylor

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

I recently experienced my first full, post-covid Holy Week as a clergy person and wow, give your collared person a hug. It’s a lot, lol. Lots of choreography, lots of long hours, lots of challenge, lots of beautiful liturgy. Surprisingly, amid all that busyness, I had the experience of one of those true God moments. I want to tell you about it.

Some of you know that I went through really challenging years before I came to All Saints’ and that I am a family survivor of suicide. This community helped to put my pieces back together and one of the things I did to build confidence was to take a trip alone to Italy to study art during the summer of 2016. It was hard, and amazing, and one of the pivotal times of my life. While there I bought a simple pair of pearl earrings for myself, and they remind me always of my striving toward healing.

I wore them Maundy Thursday and when I got home after a long evening of service realized that I lost one. Instead of mourning I told myself, well, you have your memories and tomorrow is Good Friday and sermon you need to preach, so “it’s just stuff.” Move on. But then God gave me a beautiful minor miracle. Completely unnecessary, but so sweet it almost made me cry.

Lucian and I looked for the earring after we were done Good Friday evening and as we scoured the priests’ sacristy, our friend Nanette asked what we were doing and smiled. “I have it!” It turns out that a lovely lady saw my pearl in the back of the sanctuary, turned it in to Jimmy Johnson, who turned it in to Nanette, who was holding it for safe keeping.

There were so many steps at which it could have been lost to me forever but everyone in the chain was so kind and faithful to the task in front of them. Not knowing if the pearl was real or fake, important or throw away. They just did the next thing that felt right. And delivered into my hands one of my most precious possessions.

It often doesn’t take a lot to do the right thing, dear friends. To see the small thing on the floor that needs to be picked up rather than walk past it. And you may never know how very much it blesses someone’s day. And it also doesn’t take a lot to see God dropping small blessings around you all the time. In the form of a kindness given. An accident narrowly avoided.

Possessions found. A medical test giving good news. So much that is right is around us all the time. Let us live mindfully and see with the eyes of wonder, always remembering, as the poet Rumi wrote, that “We wake in God’s open hand.” Alleluia, the Lord is risen!

April 21, 2022 A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


I have a question for you: What does it mean to love? We talk about love a lot, in church and outside it, and as we walk through this most Holy Week and into Easter season, it seems very important to know what we mean when we use this word. So, this week, I want to take you back to kindergarten, and share with you the most important story I tell to the students I teach at the Day School. I call it the Love Story:


Once, there was a man who said such wonderful things and did such amazing things that people followed him wherever he went. As they followed him, they heard him talking about a kingdom. It wasn’t the kingdom they lived in, though. And it wasn’t like any kingdom they had ever been to—or even heard about. So they kept asking him what the kingdom of God was like, and how to get to it.


Usually when they asked him these questions, Jesus told them parables. But three times, he just told them. The first time was when a rich young man asked him, “Teacher, what good thing do I have to do to have eternal life?”


Jesus answered, “If you want to have life, you should follow the laws you already know: love God, and love other people.”


The rich man said, “I have always done that.”


But Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect at it, sell what you have, give the money to the poor, and come follow me.”


Later, a lawyer decided to test Jesus. He stood up and said, “Teacher, what do I have to do to have eternal life?”


Jesus said, “You’re one of the People of God. What do the commandments tell you?”


The lawyer said, “They tell me to love God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength; and to love my neighbor as I love myself.”


Jesus said, “Yes. That’s the right answer. Do that, and you will live.”


The third time was during the last supper Jesus ever ate with his disciples. Before supper, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Then he told them to do for each other what he had just done for them. “I am giving you a new commandment,” he told them. “I am commanding you to love each other just like I love each one of you. If you love me, you will love each other. And everyone will know you are my disciples if you love each other.”


These three commandments are the great commandments at the heart of Christianity: 1) Love God with all your heart, and all your mind, and all your soul, and all your strength. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. 3) Love one another as Jesus loves you. If anyone ever tells you that God says to do something that goes against one of these three commandments, you can know that that person is wrong.


The Bible tells us that a person who loves has fulfilled the whole law of God. That all the commandments, “You shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not lie, you shall not be jealous,” and any other commandment are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And here’s the important part: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.


It’s that simple. And it’s that difficult. Because if we really loved everyone, we would never harm anyone. And that would be keeping the entire law of God. And if everyone in the world did that, then we would all be living in the kingdom of God.


April 14, 2022 A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


I have a question for you: What does it mean to love? We talk about love a lot, in church and outside it, and as we walk through this most Holy Week and into Easter season, it seems very important to know what we mean when we use this word. So, this week, I want to take you back to kindergarten, and share with you the most important story I tell to the students I teach at the Day School. I call it the Love Story:


Once, there was a man who said such wonderful things and did such amazing things that people followed him wherever he went. As they followed him, they heard him talking about a kingdom. It wasn’t the kingdom they lived in, though. And it wasn’t like any kingdom they had ever been to—or even heard about. So they kept asking him what the kingdom of God was like, and how to get to it.


Usually when they asked him these questions, Jesus told them parables. But three times, he just told them. The first time was when a rich young man asked him, “Teacher, what good thing do I have to do to have eternal life?”


Jesus answered, “If you want to have life, you should follow the laws you already know: love God, and love other people.”


The rich man said, “I have always done that.”


But Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect at it, sell what you have, give the money to the poor, and come follow me.”


Later, a lawyer decided to test Jesus. He stood up and said, “Teacher, what do I have to do to have eternal life?”


Jesus said, “You’re one of the People of God. What do the commandments tell you?”


The lawyer said, “They tell me to love God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength; and to love my neighbor as I love myself.”


Jesus said, “Yes. That’s the right answer. Do that, and you will live.”


The third time was during the last supper Jesus ever ate with his disciples. Before supper, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Then he told them to do for each other what he had just done for them. “I am giving you a new commandment,” he told them. “I am commanding you to love each other just like I love each one of you. If you love me, you will love each other. And everyone will know you are my disciples if you love each other.”


These three commandments are the great commandments at the heart of Christianity: 1) Love God with all your heart, and all your mind, and all your soul, and all your strength. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. 3) Love one another as Jesus loves you. If anyone ever tells you that God says to do something that goes against one of these three commandments, you can know that that person is wrong.


The Bible tells us that a person who loves has fulfilled the whole law of God. That all the commandments, “You shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not lie, you shall not be jealous,” and any other commandment are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And here’s the important part: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.


It’s that simple. And it’s that difficult. Because if we really loved everyone, we would never harm anyone. And that would be keeping the entire law of God. And if everyone in the world did that, then we would all be living in the kingdom of God.


April 7, 2022 Vestry Update from Senior Warden, Tim Hyland

What's Happening at All Saints'?

Good Morning All Saints’!  We hope you are noticing all that is happening. We are moving forward together and in faith.  All Saints’ is re-emerging from the pandemic. We are now “mask optional” at all services and events. We look forward to seeing your smiling faces when you choose to remove your mask. We are also continuing to “reopen” the parish and see the return of many things which were postponed during COVID. We are overjoyed to again be having adult formation through our Lenten education series.


The Vestry is hard at work planning for the future. We had a wonderful Vestry Retreat and spent a day looking at our parish and our vision for the future. We are now continuing that work as we seek to know Christ and serve Christ in the world.  The Vestry has also met with Bishop Reddall and discussed the new Rector Search.  In that regard, the parish has commissioned and prayed for our new Rector Search Committee.  The Committee is up and running and has already met with Canon Anita Braden, the Diocesan Canon to the Ordinary, regarding the search process. They are meeting and are hard at work. Please keep the Committee in your prayers.


We are planning a full schedule of Holy Week and Easter services. The parish is actively seeking people who would like to assist with those services. It will be an inspiring walk with our Lord and each other. The All Saints’ youth are joining with students from the Day School in a service project to clean the church and the grounds for Holy Week. We thank them for this joint effort to make our campus look its very best at this special time as we welcome many new and returning people to services.


Sad that March Madness is over? Well, for All Saints’, it is not. In Lent Madness 2022, we have just reached the “Elate Eight.” Now is the time to join in the brackets for this final group of saints as they pursue the Golden Halo – Teresa of Avila, Juliana of Liege, James Holly, Jose Gregorio Hernandez, Origen, Madeline Barat, Thomas of Villanova, and Thomas Aquinas. Take on a fun Lenten discipline for these final weeks of Lent and learn about these saints and vote in Lent Madness 2022 for your favorites.


As to future events, there is the Diocesan Confirmation on May 14 where our All Saints’ confirmands will be confirmed. Also it will not be that long until the end of Sunday School for the program year and graduation for our Day School students.  We look forward to everyone re-engaging and participating in our parish activities as we rapidly move through Spring.

March 31, 2022 A Reflection from Lucian Taylor

“Have I got a deal for you!” How may times have you heard that line? What comes to mind when you hear it? Excitement? Suspicion? Disbelief? Curiosity?


We don’t often think about it, but inside every marketing pitch, two powerful forces are at work: fear and greed. They are the primary emotional drivers that determine buying decisions. Fear and greed are so powerful that marketers create separate pitches for each one. To appeal to our fear (of not getting the best deal), marketers ask: “Why pay more?”


And to appeal to our greed (for getting something better), marketers say: “You deserve the very best.” My favorite pitch is the one that brilliantly combines fear and greed into one simple question: “Why pay more for the very best?” This column is supposed to be a spiritual reflection. So why am I talking about fear, greed, and marketing? Because in Lent, we take time to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made to welcome us into the Kingdom of God, and Jesus’ sacrifice began with a marketing pitch. Out in the wilderness, Jesus was tempted three times by the ultimate marketer: Satan.


Satan offered Jesus three fantastic deals: free bread when you’re starving, absolute power over the whole world, and a flashy way to show everyone you’re the Son of God. But Jesus turned down all three of these amazing deals. Why?


One reason is that Jesus already had what Satan was selling. Jesus was already the Bread of Life, the King of the World, and the Son of God. But Satan knows it’s still possible for   us to be tempted by what we already have. Got a car? Get a better one! Got a big screen TV? Get two! Got a husband or wife?

Get . . . Uh-oh. Can you see the problem?


Something inside us always wants more. That’s where the battle is. And if we’re honest, we have to admit that we don’t even know how to stop wanting more. Wanting more is in our nature.


But guess what? It’s a solvable problem. We can simply ask God to help us change what we want. We can ask God to transform our insatiable desire to get into    an insatiable desire to give. Believe it or not, this change is actually in our self-interest. Think about what it’s like to meet someone who always needs to get more love, versus someone who always wants to give more love. Which person is more attractive? Or think about how it feels to know that you helped someone in need, versus refusing someone in need. Which action makes you feel better about yourself? Jesus is right: it is truly more blessed to give than to receive.


This brings us right back to Jesus. No one made Jesus die for our sins. Jesus chose to die for our sins. Satan failed at tempting Jesus because Jesus didn’t want what Satan was selling. Jesus didn’t want to take care of Himself. He wanted to take care of us. And He didn’t need bread, power, or prestige to do that. He needed to empty Himself and become like one of us, knowing our suffering, so He could love us right where we are, and for who we are. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you. The best thing we can give up this Lent is our fear and greed. We can use this season to draw close to God, and to trade in our fear and greed for a beautiful new life of loving God and loving one another.


March 24, 2022 A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


This Lent, we have been studying the Way of Love each Sunday, and exploring the practice of essential spiritual disciplines, such as the study Scripture, prayer, sabbath, and outreach. The goal of these explorations is for each of us to discover which parts of these practices we would like to incorporate into our own personal rule of life. A “rule” in this context is not something imposed on us from the outside that we must conform to, but rather a set of guiding principles we create for ourselves to govern our own life.


Most of us are practicing a rule of life already, we just don't always consciously know what it is. To begin the process of discovering what your personal rule of life is, ask yourself one simple question: “What am I already doing that keep my life from falling apart?” Be sure to note the most simple and obvious things. Examples include getting enough sleep, daily exercise, eating nourishing food, checking in with and listening to your life partner and/or children, reading the Bible, saying the daily office, faithfulness in work or study, paying bills on time, keeping in touch with friends and family, favorite hobbies and creative work, and your list will go on.


After a few minutes of thought, try this simple exercise: Find a piece of paper and divide it into four sections. Label the four sections “Physical Practices,” “Mental Practices,” “Spiritual Practices,” and “Relational Practices” respectively. Then, look at each category in turn. Ask yourself: When I am at my best, what do I do to keep myself physically healthy? What do I do to keep myself mentally healthy? What do I do to keep myself spiritually healthy? And what do I do to keep my relationships with the other people in my life healthy?


Once you have answered these questions, I invite you to consider your rule of life from a slightly different perspective: My fourth grade religion students at the Day School have been learning about virtues all year. They began by studying the seven cardinal virtues: Courage, wisdom, temperance, justice, faith, hope, and love. Now, each individual student has added many more virtues to their personal repertoire by asking themselves two simple questions: What kind of person do I want to be when I am older? And what kind of person do I want to be right now?


Examples of students’ answers to those two questions include the virtues of humor, empathy, caring, faithfulness, positivity, truthfulness, gratitude, loyalty, creativity, integrity, adventurousness, kindness, thoughtfulness, willingness to improve, cheerfulness, and perseverance.


I encourage you to ask yourself the same two questions, and to make a list of the virtues you would like to nurture in your own character. When you are done, take a look at each virtue on your list. What is one way you can practice this virtue in your everyday life? In what small way can you practice this virtue that will help make it habitual, or even reflexive? Then, add that practice to the appropriate section of your rule of life.


Alternatively, one of my fourth graders suggested making a deck of little cards with one virtue on each card, then drawing a card at random each morning and making that the virtue you practice especially for that day. What a good Lenten discipline that would be. Or what a fine addition to an ongoing rule of life!

March 17, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

Wednesday evening, we began the adult confirmation class with Evening Prayer. It had been a very long time since I had said the daily office with a small group of people. It reminded me of my time at seminary and the routine of gathering each weekday morning and evening with other seminarians in the chapel to lead and share together the historic holy offices.

There is something very intimate in worshiping in a small group. And it feels very different from the Eucharist. It seems much more interactive. In seminary, I wondered why many of the other students did not gather with us. It was obvious that we all had more work to do in preparing for classes and writing papers, but the deepening of relationship in chapel offices communicated to those of us who participated the mystery of the church in a way that the noon Eucharists did not. The readings, the canticles, especially the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, bound us together in a very different way.

As we were saying the office this Wednesday, I thought about how wonderful it would be to live in community again like we did at seminary and spend each day in prayer and study. It was a lovely momentary fantasy. And then I remembered the decision I had to make when I was singing in the choir one Sunday at St. Philip’s in the Hills, Tucson.

My personal spirituality came from singing. It began in the Phoenix Boys Choir and continued in my time in the children’s and youth choirs at church. As an adult I studied voice with the choirmaster of my church in Denver and began a very long path of singing sacred music at a number of churches wherever I lived. On that Sunday morning at St. Philip’s, I was suddenly fully aware that my comfortable life there was about to change because my call to the priesthood was so important.

And I knew that the gifts I would offer to the church would require me to give up the comfort of my personal privilege of indulging my joy of singing in the choir. And yet that is the conflict between wanting to be cloistered and living in the world. We are called to share the Gospel of God’s love with all people and that sometimes means giving up joy and comfort. For now, I will treasure every opportunity I have to experience those feelings of comfort and community that come as I pray the daily office with others. On Sundays, I will sing the hymns and chant the prayers and cherish the beauty of the music from our choir and organ and always remember my spiritual journey that began so long ago right here in Phoenix.

March 10, 2022 A Reflection from Deacon Patrice Taylor

Living Intentionally, Learning Together

If you missed adult education last week you missed a joyful reunion of God’s people. Forty-five members of the All Saints’ family gathered for the first time since the pandemic to laugh, share, and learn together about The Way of Love, Practices for Jesus-Centered Life, a program of the Episcopal Church. It’s not too late to come along because this Lent and Eastertide we are on a spiritual journey that continues next week, after the 10am service!

Early in his ministry, Jesus was surrounded by seekers, and he often asked them “What do you want?” I encourage you to ask the same question. What does my soul want to say to God and what does God want to say to me? The Way of Love curriculum will help you to shape an individual rhythm for intentional living that will help you to hear God in your life and make choices based on this conversation.

This rhythm of living is called a rule of life, and it isn’t prescriptive, time consuming or difficult. Rather, it allows you to clarify your deepest values, your most important relationships, your most authentic hopes and dreams, your most meaningful work, and your highest priorities. It allows you to live with intention and purpose in the present moment. And it’s important. Taking time for self-evaluation is the call of every Christian. “Examine yourself to see whether you are living in the faith,” says St. Paul (2 Cor 13:5).

As much as the world has changed, the fundamental yearnings that draw us to faith have not. WE SEEK LOVE to know God’s love, to love and be loved by others, and to love ourselves. WE SEEK FREEDOM from the many forces that pull us from living as God created us to. WE SEEK ABUNDANT LIFE overflowing with joy, peace, generosity, and delight. A life of meaning, given back to God and lived for others. WE SEEK JESUS. The way of Jesus is the Way of Love, and that way has the power to change lives and change the world.

Click here and you will find Bishop Curry’s introductory video so you can learn more about The Way of Love and I truly encourage you to join us next week for “Turn” with Father Burner. By entering into reflection, discernment, and commitment around the practices of Turn – Learn – Pray – Worship – Bless – Go – Rest, you will experience even more the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus because when we seek, we are bound to find. Come see for yourself!

March 2, 2022 A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


This first Sunday in Lent, we once again have the opportunity to begin our Lenten journey by walking the labyrinth. A labyrinth is a walking meditation that represents an individual’s journey through the world in search of God. One of the oldest symbols known to humankind, the labyrinth is an ancient geometric shape that does not occur in nature, but that has existed in human societies since at least 440 BCE. In medieval Europe, walking a cathedral labyrinth like the one we will use became a substitute for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, a long and arduous journey that not everyone could make.


Our labyrinth will be set up in the gym at the Day School this Sunday, and will be available to walk following the 7:30am service, until the start of the 10am service (from approximately 8:30-9:55am). I encourage you to make a little time in your morning to take this meditative walk.


As you begin your own pilgrimage to the center of the labyrinth, set an intention. Perhaps you will dedicate each step you take as a prayer for someone, or for yourself. Perhaps you will choose a mantra, or breath prayer, to say silently to yourself with each step. Perhaps you will use your time in the labyrinth to meditate on a topic important to you at this moment, to reflect on what you might like your Lenten discipline to be, or to hold in prayer a complex issue in your life or in the world—not seeking answers or solutions, just following your internal pattern of thought as peacefully as you follow the labyrinth to its center.


Or, simply use the winding curves to slow down the pace of your life and re-center yourself for this coming season of reflection. Do not be surprised if you encounter tears, unusual feelings of irritation, anger, sadness, loneliness, or even extreme joy. Do not be surprised if you encounter God in a way that you have not before. Do not be surprised if you feel nothing at all. These are all normal reactions to the beginning of an internal journey.


If you wish to try a mantra or breath prayer, I have found that the best way is to try out different ones until you find the one that really resonates with you. Many spiritual masters suggest that you pick one mantra and stick with it for a long time, if not forever. Even if you don’t plan on being this extreme, remember that anything you repeat often becomes a part of you, so choose a phrase that really works for you, with words whose long-term effect on your life you trust.


Examples of mantras/breath prayers include:

        All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. (Julian of Norwich)

        Thy will be done. (Jesus of Nazareth)

        As you will, what you will, when you will. (Augustine of Hippo)

        Rejoice in the Lord always. (Philippians 4:4)

        Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy. (The Kyrie)

        Here I am. (Genesis 22:1, 31:11; 1 Samuel 3:4; Isaiah 6:8, Acts 9:10)

        Let it be to me (or us) according to your word. (Luke 1:38)

        Into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)


I wish you a holy and blessed beginning to your Lenten season this year. 

February 23, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

There is an elephant in the room. It’s been in the room we call life for a while now and we don’t seem to want to name it. It is this ennui; this sadness, boredom, even frustration with how life has become under the COVID Pandemic. And while we are want to ignore it or dismiss it in platitudes or cliché responses; it is taking its toll on us as individuals and a people. Part of the frustration is that to the common citizen, no one could have imagined what we have and are going through; months of seclusion, fear of the unseen and unknown, grief over the loss of family and friends, and the loss of our normal lives that we were living before the COVID virus began to circulate around the entire world. All of us have experienced this regardless of our personal feelings about COVID. For congregations like All Saints’, we were quickly denied the opportunity to gather in our sacred spaces; spaces that we normally go to when we suffer from the losses we experience in life. This happened at a time when we didn’t know how the disease was transmitted or how to protect ourselves from it.


Now we have experienced three surges of the cases and deaths which is how the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic played out. The cases and deaths were less then, mainly because the population of the world was much less and there was no air travel, which moves the risk to different locations much more readily. But the fear is real. The Red Cross reported that during the 1918 Epidemic, some healthy people living in Kentucky died from starvation because they isolated themselves so completely because they were afraid they might be exposed to other contagious persons. This is an example of behavior that is difficult to understand. And that is part of what we experience today. We hear and see and read about the COVID-19 virus and we take our personal decisions about how to be safe. Then we hear of others who take other decisions and because of the intensity of our personal fear we find ourselves unable to understand those other decisions and again because of the intensity of our personal fear of possible death we react.


Meanwhile, we need to find healing and consolation in our most critical relationships as children of God and siblings in the Body of Christ. Solace is not found in the empty space of our church nave. Solace is found in that space because of the memories of gathering there to comfort each other in our individual losses and to share the love of God with all people. Regardless of the decisions we have made personally, we need to gather together for the healing and consolation which can only come from being in our sacred space together. Whereas, we each individually experience our own sense of the consolation and healing, we need to remember that it is not simply a personal experience, it is our collective sense of God’s presence in our lives.

February 16, 2022  A Reflection from Fr. Tim Yanni

Dear People of All Saints’,

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you. As you may know, this coming weekend will be my final weekend as one of your priests. Beginning next week, I will be the Rector at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Glendale. As you know from my sermons about him, St. John the Baptist is one of my favorite saints. He is an example of how it is important to use our entire self as we follow Jesus, even if others think we are weird or different. John wore camel hair and ate locusts! That’s pretty weird! And yet, this weird guy led a lot of people to Jesus. I am hopeful the entire Church continues to look to John whenever we doubt our abilities to follow Jesus. All of us is called!

I am so happy for the time we have been able to share together at All Saints’ and I am so thrilled about all of the amazing things that you are going to continue to do. Soon you will call your new Rector and a new chapter will begin for you. My hope for you is that you continue to ensure All Saints’ is a place of spiritual growth and nourishment. Oh, yeah, and fun! Don’t forget to have fun! Sometimes we all have to just let our hair down and have a good time. That is an important way to honor God as well. All Saints’ is a wonderful place and you have made a difference in my life. I am confident that there are many continued blessings that will come your way.

I will keep you in prayer and I ask that you do the same for me. Stay faithful, and keep your ears and hearts open to the call of Jesus. He is calling you. Make sure to answer! Go out there and continue to be his hands and feet in this place. I promise to continue cheering you on!

In Christ Jesus,

Father Tim

February 9, 2022  A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


Every year at about this time, as the season of Epiphany draws to a close, and the season of Lent approaches; as New Year’s resolutions either work, or don’t, and have to be re-evaluated and reshaped (sometimes into a new Lenten discipline), I always find myself prompted to dig deep, and to discover just what has been at the foundation of my mental health, my faith, and my work during the past year. I find myself asking what has held me together, and what I for sure want to continue doing as we approach the roller-coaster that is Lent, Holy Week, and Easter (and not so incidentally, spring trimester and the end of the academic year).


As I have for the past two years, when I ask this question, I find that what has helped me most consistently to find peace and a sense of stability has been grounding myself in, and going deeper into, one of the oldest practices of our faith tradition. For two consecutive years now, with the help of Lowell & Jimmy, and my wife, Deb, I have been praying morning prayer each weekday with a small, dedicated group of people on Facebook Live. And for two consecutive years, as well, I have been asking all of my friends and family on Facebook, as well as the congregation here at All Saints, how   I can pray for them throughout each coming week.


For early Christians, daily morning and evening prayers that focused on the recitation of the psalms were a principal form of worship, especially in monastic communities, and I have found that this ancient practice of beginning, and ending, and beginning again in prayer has continued to bless me with a structured way to begin and end each day in the presence of God, and other people, during a period of time that has often seemed to do its best to isolate all of us from both. Morning prayer has grounded my ordinary, everyday life in God, and in communion with those I pray for and with, each day, and I have been especially grateful for the little community-within-a-community that has grown up around our practice of virtual morning and evening prayer at All Saints’.


And of course, there is something holy about bringing the entire spectrum of human emotion, from the best and most beautiful to the worst and ugliest, before God each day, as we do when we pray the entire psalter over a period of time in the Daily Office. Praying the psalms reminds me what it means to be human, and what it means to be human in the presence of God, which is humbling, convicting, and challenging all at once.


Thank you all for continuing to pray with Lowell and Jimmy and Deb and me, and with Gary and Dave in the evenings. Your prayers bless and support me, as I hope mine bless and support you, as we all continue our very human struggle to place our lives and our future in God’s hands.

February 3, 2022 A Reflection for our New Senior Warden, Tim Hyland

Hello All Saints!  


We have a lot to do this year and we are putting out this call – We want you! It is time for All Saints’ to connect and engage.  We are all the Body of Christ in the world. We are – each of us – All Saints’. We all have unique skills that contribute and build and strengthen our community. So, whether you are a new member, a longtime member, a young person, a mature person, an in-person attendee, a video attendee, or however you characterize yourself --- please engage and connect with your brothers and sisters at All Saints’. If you have a question, ask. If you have an idea, we are listening. If you want more information, ask. If you need something, let us know so we can discuss how we may be able to help you or locate a resource who can help.


Do not be discouraged or anxious by change.  Change means we can grow and become better. This is the time to shape what we want All Saints’ to be. Please keep your eyes on future E-blasts to stay informed.  Please listen to the announcements on Sundays about upcoming items.  We hope you share your thoughts and dreams of what All Saints’ is and can be with us. We look forward to your participation in all aspects of our community life. We ask for your participation in the pledge drive to support the work of All Saints’ and grow our ministries. Throughout its history, our parish has met every challenge and moved forward in faith. Together, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is nothing we cannot do. 


Thank you to everyone who attended the Annual Meeting. It was a great celebration of the hard work by so many people, and in so many ways, last year. A very special THANK YOU to Dave English for his outstanding and wonderful leadership over the last three years as Senior Warden. Thank you also to the departing Vestry members and to the prior Search Committee under the leadership of Derek Horn and Marcia Scott.


Now, all aboard – All Saints’ is moving forward, together, to the glory of God!


January 27, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner


Words are important.


You may have noticed that the first week of the prayers of the people for the Sundays after the Epiphany had some different words than those you have heard more recently. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer took many years to be written and an equally long time to be approved by our General Convention. As such, the language reflects a different time in our culture.


The tone and sometimes the meaning of words change through usage over time and we also find a clearer understanding of the theology that needs to be reflected in our liturgy. This is some of what we find in Form VI of the Prayers of the People.


The first word that we have modified for our usage is the word “needy.” The particular bidding it is intended to be a prayer for those who find themselves disadvantaged and needing our assistance. When it was written we understood that in every one’s life there are times when this occurs. Over the years since it was initially penned by a member of the BCP revision committee however, the word “needy” has come to be a pejorative. In other words, a way of labeling a person or persons not deserving of our assistance because they are always in need. Our response to the bidding, “For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble” now says, For those who minister to the sick, the friendless, and those in need.”


The second modification to Form VI is the deletion of a word in the response to the bidding, “For the peace and unity of the Church of God…” We currently respond, “For all who proclaim the Gospel, and all who seek the Truth.” This would infer that we own “the” truth. And by further inference our is the “only” truth. Meanwhile, our more recent progressive theology is that we are on a journey with many other people and faiths and that truth can be shared among those various faith journeys. What might be more important is for us to seek truth in each situation we encounter. We have deleted “the” from that response and as a result, it feels more welcoming and less pedantic. “… all who seek truth.”


Lastly, we have modified another word in response to the bidding which asks for prayers for our bishops and all other ministers. Form VI would have us respond, “For all who serve God in his Church.” One of the marks of maturity in Christian understanding is that God has no gender. While those of us who have been raised with a God identified as male, the use of this gender is sometimes troubling to women and others with gender issues and in short is a way of our limiting God by definition and supporting patriarchal structures in our society.


There are undoubtedly other places in our liturgy where words betray the true sense of the Gospel of Love we know through the incarnation of the Christ in Jesus of Nazareth. And yes, you may say that Jesus referred to God as Father, but that was in a different cultural context and for a different purpose. That discussion is for another day.


January 20, 2022     A Reflection from Pastor Tim Yanni

I know it isn’t technically spring yet because the first day of spring doesn’t happen until mid-March. But here in Phoenix, this time of year certainly feels to me like spring. I notice the daylight seems to last a little bit longer each day. New flowers constantly begin to bloom. Hummingbirds eagerly sip from my hummingbird feeder and they aren’t shy about letting me know when I’ve let the feeder run dry. A few days ago, I saw a hummingbird fly down to look my dog Ari in the eye as if to say, “Hey! Dog! Tell your dad he needs to give us more food!” Sure enough, the feeder was bone dry that day!

This time that feels so much like spring is a time that brings me a lot of joy. This is really why we live here, isn’t it? I’m looking out my office window as I write this and I see blue skies, green leaves, and palm trees swaying in the breeze. It’s about 70 degrees and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. This is the time of year that a round of golf is so pleasant here in the desert. A hike through the preserve is perfect. Sometimes as I hike, I hear the voice of an early priest mentor (Fr. Lincoln Ure) who reminded me to slow down and pay attention. “Did you see that dandelion?” he asked me once as we walked through a park together. No. I hadn’t. “It’s beautiful. And if we didn’t slow down just now, we wouldn’t have seen it.”

Our busy lives can easily become filled with important tasks that interfere with our ability to pay attention to the dandelions and hummingbirds. Sometimes we just have to get stuff done, darn it! And we do! We have school, work, shopping, housework, homework, yardwork, meetings, laundry, errands, and more. All of these things need to get done and if we don’t do them, who will? There’s a beautiful prayer included in the compline service in the New Zealand edition of the Book of Common Prayer. It is a prayer that gives us permission to slow down. When we slow down, that’s when we can pay attention to those beautiful things we otherwise might have missed. “Lord, it is night. The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God. It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.”


Sometimes those errands and tasks need to be done. Sometimes we simply have no choice but to focus on them. But on a beautiful spring day like today (it’s really, a mid-winter day, but it sure feels like spring!), and at so many other times, let’s give ourselves permission to slow down. Let’s look out the window at the blue sky, the green leaves, the swaying palm trees. Let’s enjoy the hummingbirds as they sip away at sugar water. Did you notice that hummingbird with the shiny green head? How about the one with the red head? Did you see the dandelion? Take a moment, even if that’s all you can spare, and enjoy the beauty. The busyness and tasks can wait. Whatever is done is done. Whatever is not done is not done. Let it be.


January 13, 2022 A Reflection from Pastor Emilie finn

Dear People of God,


In second grade religion, we have been studying holidays. We have learned that the word “holiday” comes from the English words, “holy day,” and that the word “holy” means something ordinary that is taken and set apart to serve God. Anything can be set apart to serve God: A person, like a priest or a pastor. A place, like our church building. A gift of time, talent, or treasure. Food, like bread and wine. Music, like hymns and anthems. Even words become prayers when they are used to serve God.


Many holidays are days that are set apart to serve God. Last week, on January 6, we celebrated one of those days: the feast of the Epiphany. An epiphany is a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way, which is what happened to the magi in the moment when they finally saw the newborn king. It was this epiphany that caused them to open their treasure and give him gifts that were literally fit for a king.


Gold is a rare and precious metal that has been used throughout human history to make coins, jewelry, and other kinds of art. Frankincense is a brownish-yellow resin harvested from Boswellia trees that grow in Arabia. It is used to make incense and perfume, and because it is rare and difficult to harvest, it is expensive. The name “Myrrh” comes from an Arabic word that means, “bitter.” It is a bitter-tasting, reddish-brown gum harvested from small, flowering Myrrh trees. It is also rare, and even more valuable than frankincense.


I often reflect that it was a good thing that Jesus’ poor, peasant family received these gifts, because a few short days later, they would be fleeing for their lives from a ruthless and tyrannical king. It is quite possible that they needed every coin they could get from the sale of the frankincense and myrrh to fund their flight into Egypt and their lives as refugees, until they could return home.


Reflecting on this always leads me to reflect in turn on the gifts we ourselves give during the season of Christmas, and on the greater gifts we can give throughout the year, if we are open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


When I asked my second graders what the best gift they had ever received was, their answers were enlightening: “My brother.” “My family.” “My classmates.” “My teacher.” “My puppy.” When I asked them what the best gift they had ever given was, their answers were an epiphany: “Love.” “The courage to stand up for someone.” “Support.” “The confidence to speak.” “A hug.”


This epiphany, I hope we can all remember that the greatest gifts we give or receive are seldom material things. As essential as those rich gifts were to the Holy Family, I think the greatest gift the magi gave was far less tangible: They listened to a warning in a dream and returned home by a different road, choosing not to tell King Herod where Jesus was, and giving the Holy Family time to flee to Egypt. Their willingness to go a different way saved the life of the one who would grow up to save all the people of the world.


January 6, 2022 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

There is this characteristic about change. It is truly the only constant. There are changes we like. In effect these are changes that we see bring us a better situation; a new car, a job promotion. We see these as good. But even these are sometimes accompanied by difficulty. Think about the times you have been invited into a cubicle on an auto sales floor to begin the negotiation for that new car, or how long and hard you worked for the promotion. Change is not always instantaneous. The time it takes for change to occur is called the transition. Transition is the name given to a part of the birth process. That process is characterized by confusion, disorientation, discomfort, and frustration with how long the change is taking.


We have a history about this. The Hebrew Scriptures tell us about Moses liberating the people of Israel from Egypt. The story includes forty years in a desolate place and many misadventures including an effort to find a new god in the form of a golden calf. The people demanded of Moses, “Have you brought us out of Egypt to kill us in the desert?” And while we may react with incredulity to these misadventures, those who study human behavior have identified the same general characteristics across time.


We are in a very unusual time. We are still in the midst of a massive pandemic which continues to take many lives and there is great frustration with all of the implications and outcomes of this disease. One outcome of this is a great divide over even the understanding that the virus is real. And why not? Elisabeth Kubler Ross tells us that the first step in grief is denial. And while you might think that grief is an over-reaction, grief is exactly what we experience in almost every change we experience. The second step is anger.


So, what can we do about this transition when we find ourselves in it? First, be kind to ourself. Understand that our reaction is completely normal. Secondly, remember that the feast we have just celebrated, the incarnation of our Lord, is about hope and that finally, what we have as the gift from God is the blessing    of each other is our lives. The reason we worship is to remind us of God’s love and our covenant to be the reflection of that love in the world. Even if you need to isolate for your personal health, reach out to others; let others know of your pain in your own isolation. Comfort others in their pain. Listen to their stories. It is no accident that a major characteristic of humanity is the telling of stories. Let’s make the story of All Saints’ that we held each other in God’s love as we moved to a new season in our life in Christ. 


December 30, 2021 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

We are in the midst of the Twelve Days of Christmas. As I write this, we are on the day of Five Golden Rings. Of course, we all know the cumulative song which is sung so often this time of year that many of us can recite the various subjects of the verses. There is an unfounded myth that the verses were designed to be a secret catechism for persecuted Christians as a means to remember important basics of their religion. Meanwhile, the song helps us count the days we celebrate Christmas from the 25th of December to the 5th  of January, which is commonly known as Twelfth Night. According to the bible, the Maji visited the Christ Child on the following day, January 6th, also known as Epiphany.


These twelve days help us to remember why Christmas and the Incarnation are central to our faith. The full understanding of the Incarnation should be a way for us to transform our lives to be more in keeping with the path to the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. It begins with the concept of a loving God. A God that gives life and all that is needed to sustain it. In the Incarnation God reminded us of our relationship with the Holy and the possibility that through exercising our agency in the world we can be co-creators of the world that God wills for every creature. To do this, we must do our work to transform the suffering and pain that are endemic to living with each other. Because, as we are reminded by Richard Rohr, “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it…”


This transformation is what Dickens reveals to us in “A Christmas Carol.” Scrooge must visit the pain of his youth, his current existence, and the possible pain of the future to begin the transformation into a healthy member of his society. In one recent movie, Dickens is proclaimed in the title as, “The Man Who Saved Christmas.” Indeed, the celebration of Christmas was invigorated by his book. But more important is the question of how it impacts our daily lives. Dickens ends his story:


“Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him. He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”



Can we keep Christmas alive every day of the year?

It’s up to you!

December 16, 2021 A Reflection from Fr. Tim Yanni

We are rapidly approaching the end of the calendar year and I think it is important to take some time to reflect upon some of those things that happened this year. It wasn’t all that long ago, after all, that our doors at All Saints’ were finally able to become open again and we were able to come back together for worship. In fact, it was only during Lent that we were able to gather without being forced out of the building again. Since that time, so much has happened at All Saints’. Fr. Bill Lupfer’s time with us ended and Fr. Dan Burner joined our team. We moved all the way from requiring reservations for church attendance in the spring to lifting many COVID-19-related restrictions by the fall. Some of our liturgical practices have changed so much over the months that our services now more closely resemble what they were until 2019 than to what they were in 2020. This is all wonderful news!  

As we approach the end of the year, I want to take a moment to say thank you to our ministers (YOU!) for making this year what it has been. There is so much that goes into the worshipping life of a parish and you, after all, are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in this place. For instance, I want to thank you for your generosity in providing Christmas gifts for the residents of Maryland Gardens. You may not know this, but I recently began celebrating a monthly worship service with the residents of Maryland Gardens and I am beginning to get to know them personally. In fact, I will be joining with them on Christmas Eve morning and we will celebrate Christmas Eucharist together. The residents are so appreciative of the care our community provides them and they truly appreciate the gifts you give them. Otherwise, many of them would have nothing to open. You are the ones who made it happen! I appreciate your purchasing of gifts for the children of incarcerated women through the Angel Tree program as well. Jesus teaches us to care for the imprisoned, so by purchasing gifts for their families, you are truly following the words of Christ. And of course, the children of San Pablo appreciate the gifts you purchase for them as well. You truly have done so much to help so many people have a fun and meaningful Christmas.


I want to offer my appreciation to you for your participation on our ministry teams. This includes our teams of altar guild, acolytes, music minsters, lectors, ushers, vergers, Eucharistic ministers, front line, Daughters of the King, Community of Hope, vestry, rector search committee, funeral ministries, Day School, maintenance, audio/video team, and all other ministries. There are so many important ministry teams at All Saints’ and your flexibility this year has helped us to host meaningful worship in the close, in the church, and online all year. If you are not on a ministry team, I want to take this opportunity to invite you to join a team or two in the coming year. By participating in ministry, I promise you will build lasting friendships and will feel even more invested in this wonderful place.


Thank you for making All Saints’ the wonderful place that it is. You do so many amazing things here and I am privileged to be a part of it all. I wish you many continued blessings as we close out the year. Let’s work together to make 2022 even better than 2021 as we love and serve the Lord and one another together. Have a very merry Christmas and happy New Year!

December 9, 2021  A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


Advent is truly a season of service for the children and youth of All Saints’, both at the church and at the school! On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, our Acolyte Corps gathered during the education hour to pack 22 boxes with snacks and treats, along with a handwritten card, for All Saints’ students away at college and boarding school. The boxes should arrive just in time to help our college students through their final exams!


On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, 12 All Saints’ youth gave up three hours of their school break to shop for Christmas gifts for children of incarcerated parents, as part of our Prison Ministry’s Angel Tree. Thanks to their sacrifice of time and energy, there will be 13 smiling faces on Christmas morning, as children unwrap gifts chosen for them by our youth.


The children of All Saints’, of course, are busy preparing for the Christmas Pageant, which always takes place at the 3:30pm service on Christmas Eve. It is a service to all of us to see their smiling faces tell us the very old and yet always new story of the birth of our Savior.


Meanwhile, over at the school, our fifth graders are serving the whole school as they step forward to lead the traditional Day School Nativity Chapel on December 17. As the fifth graders patiently learn lines, memorize stage directions, and find costumes, their second, third, and fourth grade classmates are exercising their imagination and empathy to create messages of hope to send to women incarcerated in Perryville Prison. Second graders are creating pictures to use for next year’s cards, while third and fourth graders brainstormed a message together as a class, and have each written a card to one of the women in prison. Thanks to our Summer of Service VBS students, we had some beautiful cards to use this year, also!


If you, too, would like to find a way to give to others this Advent and Christmas season, there are many opportunities right here at All Saints’. Our Christmas Pageant still needs shepherds, angels, kings, and a Joseph, as well as any youth who would be willing to help with the pageant, or serve as narrators.


And while Fr. Tim has been faithfully bringing prayer and Eucharist to our neighbors at Maryland Gardens Care Center, your help is still needed to purchase a Christmas gift for each resident. Our Prison Ministry is still looking for Christmas Angel bakers to bake cookies to take to the families when we deliver the gifts for the Angel Tree children. And of course, don’t forget to pick up a new, unwrapped toy to place in the bins on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, to create Epiphany joy for the children of Iglesia de San Pablo!


I leave you with one of the messages created by All Saints’ fourth graders for the women in prison. May it apply to all of us this Advent and Christmas season:


Happy Holidays! You’re always loved.

God sees you from above.

Your best self is beautiful every day.

You can make a difference in your own way. 

December 2, 2021 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

I have only recently been introduced to the Church Mouse. After I was made aware of his existence, and shown his home in the baptistry nook of the narthex; a book of his thoughts which is kept in the Urbano Library appeared on my desk. I have been enjoying reading of his past adventures and decided that one in particular spoke to me and I therefore share it with you.


The Church Mouse, who lives in the baptistry, has his nose out of joint because nobody has asked even a squeak of opinion of him for years. He claims, not without justice, that no one is in a better position to observe the congregation and evaluate what goes on.


“Don’t expect the clergy to make a great parish out of a good one,” he told me, ignoring my collar. “The clergy don’t make a parish, or break it either.”


“It’s the people who decide,” he assured me. “They decide to be or not to be the people of God. If they decide to be the people of God, nothing can stop them. They become missionaries. They bring other people. And pretty soon you have a great parish.”


“Yes,” he said, now in a better humor and smiling a little, “I noticed your Collar.”


May it be so!


There may be more wisdom that the Church Mouse might share both past and future.


“The Church Mouse Remembers” is a collection of the favorites by Fr. Fred Barnhill. Formerly of All Saints’ Parish.

November 24, 2021 A Reflection from Fr. Tim Yanni

Thanksgiving Day is a favorite holiday of many Americans. It is a day that is celebrated across the country by people of all faiths. While the history of the day might not truly include the romanticized story of “the first Thanksgiving” many of us were taught as children, it is a special day that puts a lot of us into the holiday spirit. Traditionally, it has been seen as the official start of the Christmas shopping season and it often falls a week or less before the first Sunday of Advent. Thanksgiving is celebrated as a national holiday in various countries at different times. In the United States, we observe Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November.

For many years, people who lived in the North American continent have had a feast at the end of the growing season to give thanks to God for bountiful crops during the spring, summer, and early fall. Before the days of rapid long-haul shipping, the end of the growing season meant the end of fresh produce for the year. The year’s harvest was gathered, and a portion of it was enjoyed in a large feast. Thanksgiving is an important piece of American culture, and Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated as a national holiday off and on since the nation was founded. In the early days of our country, the date of Thanksgiving Day (or even whether there would be a Thanksgiving Day in a given year) was determined by presidential proclamation. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of a Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as an annual event. While the observance shifted back and forth between the third and fourth Thursday in November over the years, the fourth Thursday was finally secured by an act of Congress, signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942.

Today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with many varied traditions. Often, the centerpiece of the celebration is a meal of abundance. Some Thanksgiving tables feature regional cuisine like cornbread, seafood, or macaroni and cheese, while others include potatoes, yams, and dinner rolls. For the meat-eaters among us, a turkey is almost always at the center of the feast. Many people run a 5-k on Thanksgiving morning, while others watch a parade. Some families play a touch football game in the back yard, while others watch a slate of NFL and college football games on TV or in person. There really is no wrong way to celebrate, provided we do so with thankful hearts.

We take time this Thanksgiving week to give thanks to God for all the blessings that we have. We remain mindful of what we have and in turn, we give of ourselves out of gratitude. For Christians, giving thanks is part of our lives. The Greek word “eurcharistia” literally means “thankgiving.” When we celebrate the Eucharist, we acknowledge that it is right to give God thanks and praise. As we take time this week to give thanks by helping at a food bank, enjoying a turkey, watching football, shopping, or just relaxing, let us remember to be mindful of our blessings. As President Lincoln wrote in October of 1863, “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

November 18, 2021 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner

I don’t know if you have noticed, but there are some non-religious organizations moving into our work. I noticed recently an Arizona Human Society billboard that proclaimed that they are, “Transforming lives, One pet at a time!” And even the Eller School of Management is touting that their MBA program is transforming lives too! It may well be that they are indeed transforming lives and you may ask, “how is that moving into our work?”

You might think that the work of the church is to hold services to worship God. To teach us how to pray, and to comfort us when we encounter trouble or loss in our lives. It used to be that almost all weddings were conducted in a church, by clergy. I don’t know if you have noticed, but there is a very large business in destination weddings; some of which are conducted in wedding chapels but it seems like many more are on the beach, in an orchard or barn, or a mountain top (à la Julie Andrews in the opening scene of Sound of Music.) A clergy friend once told me that people were returning to church and when pressed said that the evidence was because there were more funerals.

While different expressions of the ceremonies of our lives can be beautiful, the fact is that people may be seeking other locations sometimes to avoid being in a church. Or they are having their cousin Herb get an online ordination certificate in order to preside their beachside wedding. Maybe they are seeking these other options because the church is somehow not speaking to them in a way that inspires them to transform their lives.

You see, the work of the church is quite simply to gather people together, to transform lives, and to send them out to do God’s work in the world. When we follow God’s call given to us through the life of Jesus, we want to gather with others to share the story of God’s love. Through this process of sharing of story, and listening to each other, we learn to transform the lives of those who are seeking something more than the demands of a material world or material goods. We also transform the lives of those around us living in the margins. After all, even Judaic law commands that we leave the edges of our field un-harvested for the poor to reap.

Once our lives and those whom we gather together are transformed, we send them out to continue that work of gathering and transforming lives. This does not mean that we need to say churchy things or adopt outwardly religious forms of dress or interaction. It means that we can transform lives every day by treating people as beloved children of God who need to know that God loves them. We can do this in our everyday interactions, or the decisions we make about our employees, or how our Christian ethics show in a myriad number of ways.

So the work of the church is: GATHER > TRANSFORM > SEND

November 11, 2021  A Reflection from Fr. Tim Yanni


I am honored to serve in the capacity of a priest in the Church of God. It is a wonderful vocation that brings with it many joys and much responsibility. While I take my calling as a priest very seriously, I often do not take myself quite so seriously. I frequently wear casual attire (including wearing an array of aloha shirts!), I often use humor in my preaching, and I go with the flow when the liturgy does not go as planned. I work diligently to make sure I am accessible.

Why do I do this? Because I want to make sure it is very clear that I am no better than anyone else simply by virtue of my priestly vocation. I despise clericalism. I don’t wish to be respected because of my ordination. I wish to be respected because I am a human. And I wish to show you respect for exactly the same reason. Each of us has inherent dignity and each of us is a child of God. 

Closely related to this is the reality that my status as an ordained person does not give me any extra importance in the Church. The Church is not my Church. It belongs to Jesus. Similarly, All Saints’ does not belong to me. It belongs to you. You, the people of All Saints’, quite literally built this place with your blood, sweat, and tears, and I am privileged to share my gifts and talents with you as we honor God together in this place that belongs to you. I understand I am fortunate to have theological training, and I am honored to share what I know with you. But this place belongs to you and my goal is to help you to take ownership of this place that belongs to you as you continue to serve as Christ’s hands and feet in Phoenix. 

I hope you are aware that I see you in action when you serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. I want you to know that I pay attention when I see you step forward to serve as a minister. I notice when you engage in conversation with a visitor. I see it when you help someone to follow along in the bulletin. When you take pride in your parish, I see it. And when I see it, I am grateful. 

I want you to take a moment to reflect on what it is that makes you feel grateful about your community of All Saints’. Is it your thriving music program? Is it your very important funeral ministry? Is it something that happened by chance, like the reality that the city of Phoenix grew over the years in such a way that All Saints’ is now right smack in the middle of town? There are many reasons to be grateful for this worshipping community. Maybe you are simply grateful that you have a place to come for fellowship, now that some of the worst parts of the COVID 19 pandemic are behind us. Whatever it is that makes you feel grateful about All Saints’, I want you to reflect on it and acknowledge the joy and gratitude in your heart!

All Saints’ is now in its annual pledge drive. It isn’t ever comfortable to ask for money. It’s just one of those things that doesn’t feel great to talk about. But it is important. The COVID 19 pandemic has taken a toll on so many people, yet All Saints’ continues to serve the people of God. Your Angel Tree helps children who otherwise wouldn’t have a Christmas. Your relationship with Maryland Gardens sends a little bit of joy to people who otherwise might not have much. Your online footprint brings All Saints’ into the homes of people around the world. It is so important that these ministries continue and your pledge makes them possible. All Saints’ has been a place where the love of God has been shared with your community for many years. When you pledge to All Saints’, you are placing a bet on your continued success. You are wagering on your future. If you have already placed this wager (a low-risk wager I might add!), thank you! If you have not, then I encourage you to reflect upon the blessings in your life that come from this worshipping community. Pledge to All Saints’ in gratitude and place a bet on you. I promise, you will be filled with gratitude. 

November 4, 2021  A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn 


Dear People of God,


On Friday of last week, three classes of excited Day School 4th graders, and six teachers, including me, piled into two buses to make a trip to Mesa to serve at Feed My Starving Children, the  4th grade’s particular project for the school-wide Day of Service.


However, due to unforeseen circumstances, when they arrived at the facility, they were not able to serve, and their excitement turned to disappointment. Sadly, the students boarded the bus to return to school two hours early, while their teachers tried desperately to think of something for the children to do in place of their special service activity.


And that is when I remembered the supplies from our Summer of Service VBS that were still sitting on shelves in my office. As soon as we arrived back on campus, while their classroom teachers kept the students busy with mindfulness exercises in the Close Garden, the All Saints’ maintenance staff and three specials teachers magically (and very quickly) transformed the St. Barbara rooms into three service “stations.”


At one station, students braided strips of fabric donated by members of All Saints’ together to make chew toys for dogs in the local shelter our communications director, Nanette Towsley, had put us in touch with this past summer. At another station, students created pictures to turn into cards for the All Saints’ Prison Ministry to use to write messages to women in Perryville Prison. And at the third station, they painted enrichment toys for animals at the Phoenix Zoo, as our own Sharron Luther taught our VBS kids to do.


At the end of the day, thanks to the dedicated team effort of both the church and the school, not only did we have toys for dogs and zoo animals, and cards for women in prison, we also had 50 tired and satisfied students, who had their own special experience of the Day of Service to share along with the rest of the grades during the closing chapel in the Close.


Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to the culture of service we have cultivated at the church, which enabled us to, with such short notice, give the students at the Day School a service experience they will never forget. Never doubt that even the smallest effort you make on behalf of others has an effect beyond anything you can imagine at the time.


October 29, 2021 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner


Our history as a people includes many times we have come together when we experienced adversity both personal and national. Regardless of how you may feel about the COVID pandemic, I think we can all agree that this has been a time of deep crisis. In past experiences, like the Kennedy Assassination, the challenger disaster, and the 911 attack on New York and Washington DC, we have gathered in our churches for solace and consolation.


In our current crisis we could not gather because being together was part of the danger. Experiencing a strange new disease, we did not know how it was transmitted. We had to stay away from each other to show our concern for each other’s wellbeing. This has made it possibly one of the most difficult crises we have had to weather as a people. The comfort we found in being present was not available. Meanwhile, we have persevered and reached out in as many ways as we could to let people know that they are still loved by God and honored by us as fellow travelers and companions in life’s journey.


It is perfectly normal to want to grieve what we have experienced over the last nineteen months. Grief is a long process and each must navigate it at their own speed. Many people have felt great loss from the isolation. Quite possibly, we have lost loved ones or family members. But, to be stuck at one place in the process is not what a loving God wants for each of us. We are more likely to follow the will of God if we move to a point where we can accept what has happened and move forward with gratitude for what God has given us.


I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities I personally have had to reach out and be in touch with people all around the world through the mystery of technology. It has allowed me to continue to affirm and be affirmed by many people in my life. This has not been the experience of everyone. Many lack the resources and or knowledge to make this happen. And so, it’s important that we take steps to return to a life of community in as prudent a manner as possible, knowing that this crisis is not yet over. At All Saints, we are taking steps to return to community and to the familiar forms of worship. We do this knowing that we seek to follow Jesus when he proclaims that the two most important laws are that we love God and love our neighbor as ourself.


October 21, 2021 A Reflection from Fr. Tim Yanni

Long ago, in my life before the priesthood, I worked in radio as an on-air disc jockey. We had two stations. One featured adult contemporary music and the other played oldies from the 1950’s through the 70’s (and even the early 80’s from time to time). This helped me to develop an appreciation for music that would otherwise been long before my time. One of the artists I learned to appreciate was a man named James Taylor.


I had known of James Taylor because my parents enjoyed his music. I also remember his appearances on Sesame Street when he sang about “Jelly Man Kelly.” Along with the children gathered around him, I remember enthusiastically singing, “Oh, can he come home Jenny? Can he come home, Jenny? Can he come?” It was kind of a gibberish song, but a fun one for a five-year old. I also remember him singing to Oscar the Grouch on the rooftop of 123 Sesame Street, changing the lyrics of one of his most popular songs to, “Whenever I see your grouchy face, it makes me wanna smile because I like you.” To this day, James Taylor remains a talented and charismatic performer. As a priest and pastor, I particularly admire the lyrics from a song he frequently performs called, “You’ve Got a Friend.”


In “You’ve Got a Friend”, Taylor, who sometimes sings a duet with Carole King, lists many of the reasons someone might need a friend. When in need, Taylor and King assure the listener, “Just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running.” This is true in “winter, spring, summer or fall. All you’ve got to do is call and I’ll be there. You’ve got a friend.” Isn’t that beautiful? As Taylor sings, “ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend?” Especially “when people can be so cold?”


All Saints’ is the kind of place where I have seen so many people develop meaningful and lasting friendships. I pay attention to these kinds of things. I know many of you go out to enjoy a cup of coffee together after an early morning service. Many of you go out to brunch or lunch after the 10 a.m. service, and there has been a tradition of a dinner gathering after the Saturday evening service. I know of parishioners making telephone calls to one another to check in from time to time, and I know you care deeply about one another. I especially witnessed your friendships in action during the times we were not able to gather in close proximity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You stayed in touch, prepared meals for those who needed them, and made sure your friends knew you cared.


Like Taylor sings in one of his most famous songs, “Fire and Rain,” many of us “have seen lonely times when we could not find a friend.” I am hopeful that is not the case for anyone who makes their way inside the doors of our church. I am hopeful that anyone who comes to All Saints’ for the first time or the thousandth time will find someone who will be that person’s friend. Jesus knew the importance of friendships. He called his friends to be his disciples. And he sent them out in pairs.  Two-by-two, they would go out to share the Good News. They didn’t do it alone, but instead in pairs: pairs of friends. I encourage you to continue to nurture your friendships here at All Saints’. They might just put a smile on your face. And, whenever I see your smiling face, I have to smile myself.


October 14, 2021 A Reflection from Pastor Emilie Finn

Dear People of God,


Are you ready for another lesson from the religion students at All Saints’ Episcopal Day school? At the beginning of the year, fourth grade religion students learn about virtue, and the role of virtue in building good character. Virtue, they learn, is the habit of doing right, and the four cardinal virtues are courage, wisdom, temperance, and justice. The four cardinal virtues date back at least to the time of the Greek philosopher, Plato. Christianity adds the three Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love to the four cardinal virtues to create the traditional seven virtues: Courage, wisdom, temperance, justice, faith, hope, and love.


In their first few religion classes, fourth graders define these seven virtues, and discuss what they mean in their own lives. Then they present their work to their parents and fellow students in Lower School Chapel. These are the seven cardinal virtues, as defined by All Saints’ fourth graders:


Courage comes from the Greek word, andreos. Courage is the ability to do something that you’re afraid to do, like speaking to people you don’t know. You have to have courage when you lose a game. It’s easy to be nice to people when you win. You have to have courage to face the pain of losing without being mean to the people who won.


Wisdom comes from the Greek word, phronesis. Wisdom means acting with care and thought for the future, like doing your homework so you are prepared for school the next morning. Wisdom also means understanding and having good judgment. Like judging people by how they act and not by how they look.


Temperance comes from the Greek word, sophrosyne. Temperance means acting with moderation, like when you want to play a game at recess, but your friend wants to play a different game. Temperance would mean playing your game for half the time, and your friend's game for the other half.


Justice comes from the Greek word, dikaiosune. Justice is the use of power to support fair treatment, like making sure everybody gets a turn when you are playing a game. Justice also means being fair or reasonable. Like sharing the last piece of pizza with your siblings, instead of taking it all for yourself.


Faith comes from the Greek word, pistis. Faith means belief, trust, or confidence in someone or something. If someone is sick, you have faith that they are going to be ok. Faith is hope, but with trust.


Hope comes from the Greek word, elpis. Hope means trust and confidence. It is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. If you don’t give up, and you are confident that you will succeed in the end, you are hopeful.

Love comes from the Greek word, agape. Love in this sense means unconditional love. Like the love God has for us. Love is empathy: the ability to understand and share the feeling of someone else, and to want and work for good for them.


When we practice these virtues, we form habits that create good character. Character is the pattern of thoughts, actions, and feelings that make up who a person is. Someone with good character makes good decisions about how they treat themselves, other people, and the world they live in. The word “cardinal” comes from the Latin word, cardo, which means hinge, because the four cardinal virtues help us open the door to good character—just like a door hinge! Someone who practices all seven cardinal virtues every day for their whole life becomes a person with really, really good character.


October 7, 2021 A Reflection from Fr. Dan Burner, our New Interim Rector

I have noticed more recently that I feel all of my life experience has prepared me to be where I am. Some would say “I’m more comfortable in my skin.” Maybe that is a normal part of aging.


What I do know is that I began experiencing the call early in my life, as a senior in high school to be exact. Reflecting on the possibility that I would have been successful in response to that early call, I wonder what kind of priest I would have been. Hindsight has shown me that my faith journey developed in a way that has made a difference in my personal spirituality and ability to respond to others seeking God’s grace in their lives. Meanwhile, I felt the call very strongly then and I would feel it again two more times. Eventually others would notice the call in me and comment about it to me. The last time it “took” and I committed myself to pursuing ordination to the priesthood.


Three is a significant number in our theology. It’s a message of both completeness and new life. On three separate occasions during the last time I was discerning, a hawk swooped down and lightly scratched the top of my head while I was out for my morning run in the Tucson foothills. One morning I came across a mother quail whose trailing chicks were stuck at the bottom of a tall curb and unable to follow her. I carefully arranged a stack of rocks so the little ones could follow. And off they went. Many cultures believe that birds are messengers and the encounters that I had with that hawk and those chicks made me think that their message to me was that I should hurry up and be about the Lord’s work.


Another thing that has me thinking that I have been prepared to be where I am is the confluence of all my life’s work to this point. Human resource work when practiced well is a way of being pastoral in a business setting, and yet for me there was something missing. After earning my MBA, I found myself using the skills I learned to benefit my church on various committees that dealt with financial matters.


All of this use of my talents for the church were rewarding, and still something was missing. Those business and pastoral skills are important as a rector, even one that is only serving a parish for a season, but the desire to be at one with God through servant ministry as the great mystics seek to be is the part that was missing before my ordination.


The work I performed in a marketing function helped me to learn the difference between how businesses and churches engage with people. Businesses try to make people feel that there is something missing or deficient in their lives that their product will solve, only to continue to promote that same feeling of deficiency to sell more or something different. The church on the other hand is offering a way of life that allows people to grow into fullness with God and all Creation.


As Saint Gregory of Nyssa reminds us: The only honor or pleasure to covet is to become God’s friend. As our companion on the way of Emmaus, the risen Christ reveals itself walking with us, in our hopes, in our doubts and on the road.