About All Souls

We are a diverse, spirit-growing, justice-seeking community.

All Souls is a progressive religious community in the heart of DC, at the intersection of Mt. Pleasant, Adams Morgan, and Columbia Heights. We walk diverse paths to find meaning and purpose, but are united by our belief in the worth and dignity of all, and the obligation to express our faith through acts of justice and compassion. Join us as we create a diverse, spirit-growing, justice-seeking community that’s true to our name, All Souls!

Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 10:30 am, either in person or online. You’ll find us at 1500 Harvard Street NW, Washington DC 20009 (@16th Street). You can contact us at 202.332.5266 or allsouls@allsouls.ws. The Zoom link for Sunday services can be found on our homepage.

If you’d like to learn more about the church or Unitarian Universalism, we invite you to About All Souls, a casual, one-hour-long introduction to our community. These sessions happen on the first Sunday of every month, following the service (for now, we’re meeting on Zoom – just stay on the same Zoom call after worship). If you have questions in the meantime, reach out to Membership Manager Gary Penn (gpenn@allsouls.ws; 202.517.1465).

Our Mission and Goals

Our Mission:

To create a diverse, spirit-growing, justice-seeking, Beloved Community that transforms ourselves and our world into one great family of all souls.

Our Church Goals:

The people of All Souls Church will use our time, talent, and treasure to:
1. Become a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-generational spiritual community that is grounded in authentic relationships, trust, and belonging.
2. Welcome all people of good will with radical hospitality and inclusion.
3. Deepen our spiritual lives through learning and creative expression.
4. Act accountably to dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
5. Connect with each other and our neighbors in new ways and in a well-maintained historic building.
6. Serve the needs of those in our city in partnership with local organizations.
7. Love and care for one another across the lifespan in times of joy, sorrow, and transition

Our History

All Souls Church, Unitarian, has, for two centuries, played a vital role in Washington, DC, and the nation as a whole. Located at the intersection of 16th and Harvard Streets, the congregation’s third church straddles the Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights, and Adams Morgan neighborhoods. All Souls was founded in 1821 as First Unitarian Church by some of Washington’s most prominent White men, including Secretary of State and future President John Quincy Adams; Secretary of War and future Vice President John C. Calhoun; Architect of the Capitol Charles Bulfinch; and newspaper publisher, city alderman, and future mayor Joseph Gales. Some of the founders were enslavers; others strongly opposed slavery.

In the words of All Souls’ former Senior Minister, Rev. Robert M. Hardies: “Our ancestors dreamed of a special kind of church of the free spirit, unfettered by dogma; a church of the free mind pursuing all truth, a church of the free person, resisting all bonds of oppression. For 200 years, since 1821, All Souls has served as a shelter of those dreams.”

Church Governance

5th Principle: We, the members of All Souls Church Unitarian, covenant to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregation and in society at large.

“Democracy means not ‘I am as good as you are,’ but ‘You are as good as I am.'” – Theodore Parker

At All Souls Church Unitarian, the congregation governs the church through representatives elected as church officers and trustees. At the annual Congregational Meeting, members also vote on the church’s budget, changes to our bylaws, and other matters of church governance.

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