Adult Spiritual Development

The All Souls Adult Spiritual Development program brings people together in different places and formats, like different threads, to form a spiritual, intellectual, communal tapestry for our daily lives.


  • To register, unless otherwise indicated, click on the linked class title.
  • If there is a fee, you can pay as you register online. We turn nobody away; if you'd like a waiver of the fee, please contact Gary Penn (; 202.517.1465).
  • If a class reaches its maximum before you register, you can be placed on a waiting list by contacting Gary.


All ASD offerings, other than those related to membership or fellowship, have fees. Fees cover some portion of the cost of the whole program, but most of the cost is covered by congregant annual pledges. We encourage everyone (member or not) who takes an ASD class to pledge annually.

Upcoming Events and Classes


Book discussion: Richard Rorty’s Achieving Our Country

Struggling to understand the results of the presidential election? The New York Times recently called Achieving Our Country, “the 1998 book that suggested the 2016 election was coming.” Join other philosophical souls to read and discuss if Rorty is persuasive in his argument that “the left ... abandoned economic justice in favor of identity politics, leaving too many people feeling freaked out or ignored.”

Thu., Jan. 26, 7:00 pm.
RSVP to Allison Denny (


Adult OWL: Sensuality, Sexuality, and Spirituality

Whether we are parents, partnered, single, younger, or older, the way we view our bodies and sexuality (individually and in relationship to others) informs how we engage in the world, broadly and in specific relation to our UU values and community. Our Whole Lives (OWL) for Adults, based on the UUA’s OWL curriculum, lets us ponder, discuss, and learn about the role of sensuality, sexuality, and sex in our lives. Participants should be available to attend most or all of these dates.

Mondays (Jan. 30, Feb. 13, Feb. 27, Mar. 6, Mar. 20), 7:00-9:00 pm; Saturdays (Jan. 28, Feb. 4), 9:00 am-2:00 pm.
Fee: $25
Limited to 15


Spiritual Grounding for Dangerous Times

Rising hate crimes. Climate-change deniers in power. Democracy on the defensive. Propaganda trumping facts. Let’s come together to strengthen the spiritual depth, love for life, and solidarity we need to live our faith in these times. This six-session course and one-day retreat, cosponsored by ASD and ASC Social Ministries, will forge a new framework for spiritual activism. Led by All Souls’ Theologian-in-Residence, Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, in partnership with Kristen Barker, Joanne Braxton, Michael Milano, and Jenice View. In the course, we will:

  • Reflect together religiously and personally on the crises confronting our nation
  • Learn and practice methods for spiritual grounding from a variety of religious traditions
  • Deepen our understanding of the intersections among the critical justice issues that call for our response—from racial justice work to climate change
  • Develop skills for non-violent resistance, compassion and community building
  • Explore Unitarian Universalist theological foundations for social justice activism

Mondays, Jan. 30 - Mar. 13 (no class Feb. 20), 7:00-9:00 pm; day-long retreat Sat., Mar. 18, 9:00 am-4:00 pm, Eaton Room.
Fee: $25
Limited to 50


The Corruption of Our Democracy

Delegates at the 2016 GA selected “The Corruption of Our Democracy” as the UUA’s 2016-20 Congregational Study/Action Issue. Maintaining equitable access to the political process is a moral imperative and a priority of so many of our UUA congregations. Join the Denominational Connections Committee as we learn about, reflect on, and respond to this important topic. Together, we’ll explore how to protect our democracy and the ways to engage at personal, congregational, local, state, national, and global levels.

Wednesdays., Feb. 1 and 15, 6:30-8:00 pm, Eaton Room.
RSVP to Justis Tuia ( by Mon., Jan. 30


Roots and Wings

This six-session course introduces members, new and old, to the history of our church and denomination. Contact Gary Penn ( for more information.

Six Tuesdays, Feb. 28 - Apr. 4, 7-9pm, Eaton Room
Cost: free
Limited to 15


Connected Communication: How to Move Conflict into Compassion

Do you feel disconnected from your deep “why” and want to live in the world from a more connected and authentic place? Miss meaningful conversation and long to have more loving and intimate relationships in your life, community, and with friends? Want to show up powerfully in the world and bring the principles of non-violence into your workplace, family, and social justice efforts? Then let’s get clear on what’s important to you and explore the meaning of non-violent communication in your home, at work, or when serving out in the world. This workshop will give you the skills and tools to listen to self, voice your truth, and brave difficult conversations with ease and confidence every single day. Join us for this orientation to learn the principles of compassionate communication and see the power of non-violence in your daily life. Facilitated by Leora Ward.

Wednesday, March 1, 7-9pm, Eaton Room.
No fee


Book discussion: Howard Zinn’s A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

Zinn’s inspiring book is charged with spiritual power and lessons for and benefits of activism for a better world. It is timely for energizing political and social activists, as well as deepening the commitment of the already active. Zinn’s book makes history come alive, connecting his selected essays on the past to our intended future. It is very congenial to our currently enhanced buzz of activism.

Wednesdays, March 15, 22, 29, 7-9pm, Longfellow.
No fee.


Table reading: The Burial at Thebes

Recognizing that Sophocles’ Antigone is a work of theatre - not an intellectual exercise - we will experience this classic text as though we were actors in rehearsal. Participants will read Seamus Heaney’s contemporary adaptation, The Burial at Thebes, before gathering. During the day, they’ll read selected scenes aloud, with frequent stops to explore relationships, motivation, and plot dynamics. In essence, the class will mirror the “table work” experienced - and beloved - by professional actors early in the rehearsal process. Along the way, we’ll uncover some of the many surprises still to be found in a work more than two millennia old. Led by Norman Allen.

Saturday, Mar. 25, 10am - 3:30 pm (with lunch break), Eaton Room.
Fee: $25.


Book discussion: Noam Chomsky’s Who Rules the World?

Chomsky’s book is an enlightening, in-depth analysis of the current international situation. He also calls for greater public involvement to save democracy, ourselves, and the planet. On its last page, Chomsky asks readers to pose a re-framed question to the title question: “What principles and values rule the world?” Chomsky’s Who Rules the World? is of great appeal to students and observers of history and international political analysis.

Wednesdays, May 17, 24, 31, 7-9pm, Longfellow.
No fee.


New Testament Discussion Group

Gather with fellow UUs interested in Bible history and literacy, as we journey through Christianity’s canonical scriptures, from the Gospel of Matthew to the Book of Revelation.

Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30 pm, September 2016-May 2017
Cost: free. No need to register; just drop in.
Facilitators: Jose Luis Sanchez ( and Dana E. Connors (


Philosophical Souls

(Usually) last Wednesday of the month, 7:00–8:30 PM, All Souls Church or a member's home
Facilitators: John Tambornino and Sara Frueh

Honoring Socrates’ belief in the unique rewards of the examined life, Philosophical Souls holds monthly discussions to tackle big questions in small settings. To participate, you only need what is available to us all—an open and inquiring mind. During each gathering we will explore a basic philosophical or theological question. Join us for one gathering or many! No need to register. To be added to the mailing list to be notified about future meetings, e-mail Sara (


About All Souls

Learn and ask questions about Unitarian Universalism and All Souls Church. This informal session lasts about an hour.

First Sundays of the month, Longfellow Room.
No registration, no fee; just drop in.