All Souls' 200th Anniversary

How should All Souls ready itself for its 200th anniversary in 2021, and how should we mark that anniversary?

As All Souls, founded on November 11, 1821, approaches its 200th anniversary in 2021, the Board and the Governance Task Force are considering how to prepare for and mark this bicentennial. To help make these decisions, we are posing two open questions to solicit your feedback.

  1. How should All Souls ready itself for its 200th anniversary? Just as years turn, so do decades, and centuries, and—interspersed among them—chapters in our history. Each turn of a page offers time for reflection. As we close out our first 200 years of history, how can we ready ourselves for our future? What spiritual work must we do? Financial work? Work with our building and campus? We want your thoughts on what steps we need to take as we enter our third century.
  2. How should All Souls mark its 200th anniversary? Our founders included both John Quincy Adams, abolitionist defender of the Africans who seized La Amistad, and also John C. Calhoun, a notorious defender of slavery. The church’s many good works over the past 200 years should be celebrated, but we cannot, and should not, erase the darker parts of our history. So how should we mark our anniversary? With a celebration? With speaker events highlighting notable congregants and ministers? With a renovation of a part of the church? With an event recommitting us to our mission? We want your thoughts on how to mark our bicentennial.

How can you provide feedback?

We seek feedback from both individual congregants and from the church’s communities—affinity groups, social justice groups, covenant groups, music groups, and all the other parts of this church. We strongly encourage communities to discuss these open questions and then provide feedback. You can provide feedback in a number of ways:

  • Attend a meeting on April 5, after second service, to discuss the open questions.
  • Organize meetings within your communities to discuss the questions and invite a member of the Governance Task Force to attend by emailing ASC.Open.Question@gmail.com.
  • Submit feedback through the form [below/at all-souls.org/about-us/open-questions] or by emailing ASC.Open.Question@gmail.com.

Feedback is due by May 31.

What will the Board do with this feedback?

At the Board’s public July 22 meeting, we will discuss this feedback and your ideas. We will use that feedback to inform our plans for preparing for and marking the 200th anniversary.

Why is the Board asking for this feedback through “open questions”?

The success of our beloved community relies critically on all congregants and communities participating in the governance of this church. There are only a few of us on the Board; when we confront big questions about church life, we need broad input. Recent assessments of our governance have inspired the Board and Governance Task Force to update our systems, and one key recommendation, part of a governance system created by Dan Hotchkiss, is to regularly ask the congregation for feedback about “open questions” in the life of the church. In this case, then, by posing these open questions, we’re both soliciting your input about the upcoming anniversary, while also trying on this governance model to see if it’s a good fit for All Souls.

Where can I find more information?

You can contact the Governance Task Force at ASC.Open.Question@gmail.com.

The Governance Task Force is helping the Board gather feedback on these open questions. The members of the Governance Task Force are Brenda Barbour, Barbara Corprew, Tom Fox, Bob Jayes, Erika Landberg, Neil Manzullo, Cathy Tortorici, and Chuck Woolridge.

How should All Souls ready itself for its 200th anniversary in 2021, and how should we mark that anniversary?