From the May 2014 Cathedral Connection
Before Carol Anders was a congregant at All Souls, she was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. “I figure my next church will be All Sinners,” she said with a laugh. But truthfully, from saints to souls to sinners follows the progression of Carol’s spiritual journey and complements her commitment to seeing Christ in all of us (more about that later).
Carol’s 18-year career in corporate real estate moved her to five different cities. “I joined churches to be part of a community,” she said. Her introduction to the Episcopal faith came by accident when she arrived early for a Presbyterian service and ended up attending an Episcopal liturgy, instead. “The sermon was brilliant,” she said. Subsequently, Carol became involved in social justice issues in her new church and how the church could support the greater community.
When she moved to Western North Carolina in 2006, the All Souls experience beckoned. “I feel that everyone at All Souls, clergy included, is more interested in questions than answers. We’re on this spiritual path together.”
Carol pointed to the “centered tranquility” of All Souls as an important factor in her journey. “There’s safeness and predictability,” which for her has engendered a more personal relationship with God.
Searching for community outlets for advocacy volunteerism, Carol became involved in the Autumn Players, a part of Asheville Community Theatre, where she now serves as chair. The group does dramatic readings at schools, nursing homes, and non-profit organizations. The Autumn Players offer several programs of two or more short plays, and the repertoire also includes adapted classics geared towards middle/high school students and familiar poetry selected for residents of retirement communities. Carol’s busy schedule also includes board membership at N.C. Stage Company.
Carol’s love of the arts is highlighted on her radio show, Asheville ‘n the Arts, for radio station FM 103.7. The show is currently on hiatus but will hopefully be back on the air by late summer. Carol features interviews with authors, as well as with performing and visual artists. She looks forward to featuring Kyle Ritter for an interview on liturgical music. She loves jazz, as well, and she has thoroughly enjoyed the “Evening with an Album” program at All Souls.
Her advocacy continues with participation in Room in the Inn. Room in the Inn partners with local faith communities to provide shelter for up to 12 women. Each week, a different congregation opens its facilities to welcome the women as guests, offering a warm safe place for them as they work hard to move forward to permanent housing. The simple goal is to keep women without homes from sleeping on the street and risking their safety. The greater goal is to build caring, supportive relationships with them, one week at a time.
Once a month (sometimes more), Carol is a driver for Loving Food Resources. Now in its 20th year, Loving Food Resources provides basic need to people living with HIV/AIDS through food, health and personal care items. In 1996, LFR expanded its outreach program to those in need by extending services to those persons in home hospice care.
This winter, Carol enjoyed a trip to Istanbul. An itinerant traveler, she has a large bank of airline miles accumulated from her corporate life, and she is not letting them go to waste. She seems to have boundless energy, fueled by her community and her church. “The vibrancy of senior citizens in Asheville is remarkable,” she said. Carol certainly fits in, and while she is busy in the community, she feels the support of her church at the root of her strength. She emphasized how All Souls has helped her acknowledge the “other” in all of us. “By ‘other,’ I mean seeing Christ in others,” she said. “All Souls has taught me how it might feel to be in someone else’s shoes.”
“John Lennon had it right,” she said. “All we need is LOVE.”
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