Kate and Charles Barker
Growing up on opposite coasts we could not have imagined we would meet, marry, make our home, raise our own family, and have our careers here in Pasadena. But this is our story.
We met as graduate students at Fuller Theological Seminary, where Kate earned her PhD in clinical psychology in preparation for her work as a psychologist in private practice, and Charles his MDiv for work as an ordained minister serving in both church and parachurch pastoral ministry. One of our adult sons is heading toward ordained pastoral ministry and the other is doing doctoral studies in clinical health psychology, so the apples haven’t fallen too far from the trees. It was Charles’ great joy last summer to officiate at our older son’s marriage to a woman we adore.
Four years ago, dear friends invited us to All Saints for Easter Sunday worship and to their home for dinner that afternoon. This was the beginning of the warm hospitality and kindness we’ve experienced repeatedly. One Sunday during the greetings, an announcement was made about a new Christian-Muslim interfaith group called “Standing Together.” Charles joined the group, learning so much and making wonderful new friends, including a Muslim friend with whom he continues to share dinner each month. Together we joined the Thursday evening Taize prayer service which we find deeply meaningful, drawn as we are to contemplative prayer practices, and to the service’s central emphasis on reconciliation. Several Sundays we have shared in the sacred privilege of carrying oblations to the altar, and every Sunday we put our faith into action by joining with other All Saints members in giving voice to specific concerns for greater social justice and peace at the Action Table. This year Charles has participated in a Lay Discernment Committee, coming alongside a person exploring a call to enter the Episcopal priesthood. He has treasured this sacred discernment process and the new friendships made with the other committee members. In each of our varied ways of belonging to and participating in the life, worship and ministries of All Saints, we have met wonderful, thoughtful, grace-filled kindred spirits.
There is so much we love and treasure at All Saints Church and many reasons we have chosen this community as our spiritual home. We value the powerful, prophetic preaching and shared worship arising out of rich musical and liturgical traditions. We celebrate belonging to a truly inclusive community where all are welcomed to the Eucharistic table, “whoever we are, wherever we are on the journey of faith.” We cherish the consistent message of God’s undying love for every one of us and for every person on the planet, and that we at All Saints look for ways to embody God’s love through actions and advocacy for greater justice and compassion especially for those most vulnerable. The physical beauty of All Saints in the architecture, flowers, colorful procession, and stained glass windows reflects the beauty and glory of God’s creation. We have come to know and love a spacious God in this spacious place and spacious community in which we continue to explore life in God.
Soon after finding our new church-home at All Saints, we began giving our weekly financial gifts here. Soon after that we began pledging annual support. We feel great joy and gratitude to be a part of this spiritual feast called All Saints, and giving is a way to share our joy and to express our thanks. It is our way of saying a “Big Yes” to All Saints and to what we are all about here together. Pledging is also an expression of our belonging and of our desire and commitment to spread greater compassion, inclusion, justice and peace in our own community and throughout the world.
Thank you, All Saints!