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. ASD offerings fall into five categories. Click on each to be brought directly to that section.


  • Payment at the time of registration is appreciated, as facilitators are not equipped to handle money and registration details. It also guarantees you a spot in the class.
  • If you’re unable to pay when you register, please contact Leo Jones ( to request a scholarship.
  • If a class reaches its maximum before you register, you can be placed on a waiting list by contacting Leo.


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.


To register, find the class below and click on the appropriate link. NOTE: Dates listed below are subject to change. Please check the class registration page for finalized dates. Classes without registration buttons are either full or have already taken place.

Spiritual Growth and Transformation

All Souls Bible Discussion Group

Gather with fellow UUs interested in Bible history and literacy, as we journey through the Hebrew Scriptures (otherwise known as the “Old Testament”). This comfortably paced reading will give us a grounded, structured method for discussing universal themes of contemporary relevance, such as love and fidelity, filial duty, group identity and survival, hospitality to strangers, inter-ethnic marriages, justice, territoriality and political power, our human search for divinity, transcendence, and wholeness. Conversely, in trying to situate ourselves in biblical times, we may learn that “self-evident and timeless” truths are actually time- and culture-bound. We’ll explore contradictions and repetitions and discover who wrote the Bible, for what purposes, and how it became holy over the centuries. All are welcome, and welcome any time: come every week or when the topic interests you! Although participants are encouraged to contribute perspectives from secondary literature, the only required text is a Bible (any version—in fact, different translations will help us extract the essence of the texts). We will place the Bible in its historical and cultural context, without deference to any dogmatic interpretations or theological teachings. Together we’ll discuss and evaluate the relevance of the Bible’s texts to UUs and other spiritual seekers. After working through the Hebrew Scriptures in 2015-16, we’ll move to the Christian Scriptures in 2016-17.

When: Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30 pm, Sep. 15, 2015-May 31, 2016
Where: All Souls
Cost: free
Facilitators: Jose Luis Sanchez ( and Dana E. Connors (

Tragedy, Philosophy, Humanity: Ancient Insights

This course will explore the intellectual world of Ancient Greece, a world radically different than our own, yet radiating brilliant insights. Through reading and discussing Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus, we will wrestle with rival understandings of nature and divinity, experience and rationality, the good life and tragedy, and human limits and mortality -- and reflect on how they may speak to us personally, in our world. Facilitator: John Tambornino. Register here.

When: Tuesdays, Oct. 13-Nov. 17, 7:00-9:00 pm
Where: Eaton Room

Philosophical Souls

When: 3rd Wednesday of the month, 7:00–8:30 PM
Where: All Souls Church or John Tambornino’s apartment
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! To be added to the mailing list to be notified about future meetings, e-mail Sara (

September: Philosophical Souls returns to tackle the issue of pride. Pride seems essential for a sense of individual worth and dignity, and we often embrace sentiments of cultural pride. Yet pride has been regarded as the deadliest of the "seven deadly sins." How could pride be a sin? How can it be ignorant or egotistical, oppressive or excessive? And how can it be reconciled with humility?

Welcoming, Diverse, Vibrant Community

About All Souls

Location varies
Several Sundays throughout the year. Look for dates in weekly announcements.
Learn and ask questions about Unitarian Universalism and All Souls Church. This informal session lasts about an hour.
No registration, no fee; just drop in.

Where Do I Come From: An Introduction to Genealogy

Get started with genealogy in a supportive setting. We’ll learn about genealogical evidence/methodology, family oral histories, and finding information (from online resources to grandma’s attic. Journaling will be encouraged. Please feel welcome no matter what your family background is and how long your family has been in America. Facilitated by Holly Reckord, a cultural anthropologist; in her work, she has explored the genealogies of many Americans and has documented the histories of communities of different ethnic and racial groups throughout the US and Canada. Register here.

When: Mondays, Oct. 5, 19; Nov. 2, 16; Dec. 7, 7:00-9:00 pm (plus possible Saturday field trip)
Where: Dining Room

Being Mortal: A seminar series on confronting the medical experience of decline and mortality

In his book, Being Mortal, Atul Gawande writes: “Scientific advances have turned the processes of aging and dying into medical experiences… Lacking a coherent view of how people might live successfully all the way to their very end, we have allowed our fates to be controlled by the imperatives of medicine, technology and strangers.” Gawande goes on to suggest we need a new approach. Please join us for a series of three seminars that explore Gawande’s ideas within the context of our own lives. Presented by the Silver Souls and the Mount Pleasant Village. Questions? Contact Mary Rojas (

  • Nov. 1: Setting the Scene with Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Facilitator: Russell Cross, Physician, Children’s National Health System. We will use the book, Being Mortal, to discuss making the choices that help us to define ourselves in life’s end stages, even when the people around us—including relatives, children, and doctors—can get in the way. How can our families, friends, faith, and community support us in our wishes? Please read the book or read the extensive review by Marcia Angell in the New York Review of Books, January 8, 2015.
  • Nov. 8: Palliative Care as an Option. Facilitator: Debra Rubenstein, Director of Consultation, Care Management & Counseling, Iona Senior Services. At all ages and stages of life, and whatever our medical condition, we want to be able to choose how and where we are cared for. We will explore what palliative care means to each of us. How can we experience quality of life as we face health challenges or experience difficulty in functioning independently?
  • Nov. 15: Talking with Family and Friends. Facilitator: Elizabeth Fox, Board of Directors, Cleveland and Woodley Park Village. We will provide participants in this session with concrete ideas for approaching end-of-life conversations with our families, friends, and caretakers. We will hear from people of different ages who have already spoken fully with people they are close to as well as from those who have been reluctant to do so. We will hold mini-practice sessions. We will focus on how, what, and why to communicate our wishes, and how to get them in writing. A checklist of essential and useful documents will be available.

When: Sundays, Nov. 1, 8, 15, 1:00 pm
Where: Eaton Room

Service and Prophetic Action

Our Environment, Our Future: Let's Talk Climate Justice

The UUA has announced its support for a “strong, compassionate … enforceable international agreement” on climate change. Over five weeks, we’ll explore ways to protect our planet and ensure better environmental and climate justice at home and internationally. Each 90-minute session will include a presentation by a member of the Green Souls, sometimes a movie segment, and a group discussion. Interested? Contact Joelle Rudney ( or just show up at the door.

  • Oct. 28. How can the UN Paris conference shape the future of our planet?
  • Nov. 4. Water: source of life, source of conflict.
  • Nov. 11. What should I eat?
  • Nov. 18. Connecting North and South, rich and poor.
  • Dec. 2. Next steps: How to care and advocate for a livable climate.

When: Wednesdays, Oct. 28-Dec. 2, 7:00-8:30 pm
Where: Longfellow Room (except Nov. 18, in the dining room)

Escalating Economic Inequality

At last year’s General Assembly, UUs selected Escalating Economic Inequality as Unitarian Universalism’s four-year study/action Issue. Gather with fellow All Souls congregants to discuss the possible causes and solutions to this core social justice issue. This spiritual development class will be facilitated by Craig Dylan Wyatt, MSW, who has adapted the UUA’s curriculum to create a class that’s engaging, meaningful, interactive, and--yes--even fun. Register here.

When: Six Wednesday evenings, Sep. 30 through Nov. 4, 7:00-9:00 pm
Where: Tupper Room
Cost: free

Deciphering Urban Politics and Gentrification

DC politics is, at best, frustrating and difficult to understand. In this class we will examine urban politics, both broadly and contextually in DC, with a special focus on race, class, economic governance and gentrification. Participation will include short readings, discussion, and guest speakers.

ASD class: DC Politics and Gentrification. Our inaugural guest speaker, Dr. Johanna Bockman, longtime DC resident and George Mason professor of sociology, discusses her work on race, class, and economic development in DC. Dr. Bockman has been one of the leading public voices in the new movement of critical scholarship examining DC’s recent social and political history. Read her blog. 7:00 pm, Pierce Hall. [Next speaker, Michael Fauntroy (, author of Home Rule or House Rule?: Congress and the Erosion of Local Governance in the District of Columbia. Mon., Nov. 16.]

When: Mondays, Oct. 26, Nov. 16, Dec. 7, 7:00-8:30 pm
Where: Pierce Hall

Other F-UU-N