We educate, inspire, and create opportunities for the All Souls community to lead more environmentally sustainable, just, and spirit-filled lives. Environmental Justice: Activities and issues include greening our church, zero-trash lunches, fair-trade sales, a green & healthy Thanksgiving collection, Earth Day, ethical eating, and fun outings and socials. We always seek volunteers for activities and leadership roles.
Ministries, Groups, and Activities
We honor the legacy of A. Powell Davies, All Souls’ senior minister from 1944 to 1957, by keeping his name and works before the congregation. Using interest drawn on the endowment, we support groups and activities such as the KUUMBA Players, various musical groups, and programming around the Hiroshima Children's Drawings (our focus over the past five years). The committee has six members whose three-year terms rotate.
The ASD Committee arranges seminars, workshops, mini-courses, book discussions, etc., on a range of topics—from social and environmental justice to theology and spiritual practices to arts and crafts—that reflect the variety of interests of All Souls’ congregants. We meet to review proposals for classes and explore future offerings. We always welcome new members.
Singing a diverse collection of music from all traditions, the All Souls Choir provides music leadership on the first and third Sundays of the month. Just show up on a Thursday and we’ll welcome you, or contact Jen.
A non-profit corporation composed of All Souls members, ASHC seeks to build a healthy, diverse community in our neighborhoods by developing and maintaining affordable housing and services to residents. In 1971, as Change-All Souls Housing Corporation, we helped build Columbia Heights Village on 14th Street, for which we have continuing responsibility. We work with community partners to build and rehab affordable housing units, sponsor information forums, and advocate for the community. Our board meetings are open for all All Souls members periodically after church.
We are responsible for planning and soliciting annual financial pledges from members and friends for the purpose of funding the church’s annual operating budget.
We collect, preserve, and organize documents and photographs related to All Souls. We also respond to a wide variety of queries, and we're particularly proud of assistance given to Rev. Bruce Marshall and Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed as they prepared books. Our current goals include developing a topical index to make it easier for researchers to access materials and to make decisions about the much-coveted Eaton papers. Some of our two dozen volunteers work at home.
A standing committee of the Board of Trustees, we ensure that the regular church audit process is objective and independent and oversee the internal accounting controls and practices of the church. Since the completion of the recent audit, we are working to update the church's manual of policies and procedures. We meet monthly (except during the summer) and are looking for people to add their voices to our group.
Established in 1973 through a generous donation from Earl and Meta Beckner, the All Souls/Beckner Advancement Fund helps make the community around the church more cohesive, attractive, and forward-looking, while fostering human rights and dignity. The Fund supports efforts to advance social justice, distributing over $100,000 in grants annually. More information at www.all-souls.org/beckner.
The All Souls Bed & Breakfast program hosts UUs visiting the nation’s capital. Since the B&B’s inception in 2009, we have placed over 300 guests and raised almost $80,000, making this an important line item in our annual budget. We always need new hosts, especially in DC and close-in suburbs, who live near public transportation. If you have a spare room, consider being a host family. Sign up through the link at www.all-souls.org/b-and-b.
We toll our historic 1822 Revere Foundry “Abolition” Bell, which has served our community for 190 years. We mix the joys and sorrows of the world by pealing the bell for several minutes, pausing for two minutes to wind the weights on our bell tower clock to keep it running, and then tolling the bell in memory of all the deaths in current wars. After training, volunteers are given access to a Google calendar to sign up for open slots.
The Black Souls gathers All Souls congregants who identify as African-American, Afro-Caribbean, or Black to create fellowship, develop new relationships, support each other, and discuss the issues important to us in a safe environment. We desire to create a space where our Black brothers, sisters, and friends feel safe to talk about our feelings regarding social justice, racism, and various forms of systemic oppressions, including our experiences within our own faith.
The Caring Network comprises congregants who reach out to others with visits, cards, meals, transportation, and other practical and emotional gifts. Ultimately, the Caring Network is simply an organized extension of the care we all offer one another. Contact us if you are in need of care or would like to help others.
The Children’s Choir exposes children to singing, integrates music into the CRE curriculum, provides music for the Children’s Chapel, and occasionally performs in the Sanctuary and at other venues.
The CRE Committee supports and participates in the creation of a faith development program plan which strengthens and clarifies the ethical, moral, and spiritual lives of children and youth in collaboration with the Children’s Religious Educator and the Director of Children's Religious Education. We meet once a month to support teacher training and development, plan and implement religious education events, represent the interests of the children and youth within the church, and work with other adults in the wider congregation to build a religious community.
The church relies on all adult congregants, not just parents, to take turns teaching our 300 children and youth, pre-school through high school. CRE teachers explore sources and traditions of our UU faith, search for meaning about life’s big questions, and take time for worship and reflection with their Sunday school class. We value the uniqueness of every child and young person, encouraging creativity and self-expression as well as community building and service. Teachers are provided age-appropriate lessons and paired with a co-teacher.
The Council comprises the church’s lay leaders of committees, groups, and activities, trustees and officers, and staff. We meet to implement the work of the church, share information, support and coordinate programs, and develop leadership. The Council’s 16-member Steering Committee plans and implements the Council meetings and monitors and reports on progress towards realizing the church’s visioning goals.
The CoM, a standing committee of the Board of Trustees, supports, strengthens, and enriches the shared ministry of the church, both lay and professional. Meetings are closed and confidential, to allow for frank discussion of ministerial issues, including evaluation of shared ministry and the senior minister. The Board appoints members for three-year terms.
Appointed by the Board of Trustees, we coordinate the church’s conflict resolution process. One of our responsibilities is to identify and recruit mediators and provide training in conflict resolution. More information at www.all-souls.org/right-relations.
This group, headed by our church treasurer and assistant treasurer, counts the collection money after the two Sunday morning services.
Covenant groups, organized through All Souls’ small-group ministry program, offer opportunities to build community, deepen relationships, and provide a safe place for spiritual exploration. Five to ten people meet once or twice a month in the homes of members, and meetings are led by a facilitator. As the program grows, new groups are always forming. The Covenant Group Steering Committee provides resources based on the church’s monthly spiritual themes and also provides training for new facilitators.
We seek to tie All Souls to that larger UU world by informing the congregation about UU news and events, recruiting delegates to the UUA’s annual General Assembly, and implementing specific recommendations and programs that come from the denomination. See the Denominational Affairs page for more details and links to UU organizations.
We express our commitment to building a Beloved Community by welcoming all immigrants and English-language learners in the DC area who wish to improve their speaking and listening skills. The program focuses on conversation and pronunciation rather than grammar; provides training and ongoing support by an ESL education expert; has a high teacher/tutor–to-student ratio; schedules classes on Sunday outside of the work week; and shares information from other DC-based agencies.
Following UU principles (especially the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th principles), we work to rectify imbalances of power in trading relationships by offering coffee, tea, cocoa products, and olive oil for which the growers receive a fair price (above the market standard), allowing them to send their children to school instead of work and to establish clinics. And virtually all of our merchandise is organic (add the 7th principle!). Buy them, enjoy them, and consider helping to sell them.
We keep All Souls’ flowers, trees, and plants thriving, blooming, healthy, and beautiful throughout the year. We take care of the Courtyard, South Lawn, Front Lawn, Harvard Street Garden, and trees along 16th and Harvard Streets. We have jobs appropriate for all ages and experience levels, including planting flowers, transplanting perennials, pruning shrubs, pruning trees, mulching, weeding, watering plants, edging, splitting perennials, perennials maintenance, and more. Good exercise, good fellowship, good for everyone who comes to All Souls Church for any reason.