Join us as we counter white supremacy, fight climate change, protect voting rights, witness border injustices, and more.
Join us as we counter white supremacy, fight climate change, protect voting rights, witness border injustices, and more.
All Souls is called to be a force for love and justice in our local community, our nation, and in our world. In all our social justice ministries, we strive to be effective, spiritually grounded, and accountable to the communities most impacted by oppression. We believe that social transformation and personal transformation are linked. If we want to change the world, we must be willing to change ourselves.
We welcome everyone to be part of the social justice ministry of All Souls. Below is a list of our groups and our guiding values. Contact Minister of Social Justice Rev. Rob Keithan (email@example.com; 202.517.1468) for more information and to get involved.
All Souls is now home to a Little Free Pantry, where neighbors can pick up grocery goods (food, personal care supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.) that are placed into the pantry by neighbors who have a little extra to give. Visit the pantry on the 15th Street side of the church, between Girard and Harvard. If you need anything that’s there, go ahead and take it! If you’d like to donate to the pantry, you can do so by placing groceries directly into the cabinets. If you can’t make it to the pantry in person and would like to donate, or would like to volunteer to help the pantry without donating, or have any other questions, you can find more information here.
Established in 1973 through a generous donation from Earl and Meta Beckner, the 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 internal and external efforts to advance social justice, distributing over $100,000 in grants annually. Read more.
CEN Haiti (Community Empowerment Network), a 501c3 organization, was born specifically out of conversations and reflection within an All Souls covenant group nine years ago. Armele Vilceus, who was at the time working for the World Bank, was supported by that covenant group to launch CEN Haiti. The other three ASC members who co-founded CEN Haiti are Bob Bonner, Rollie Smith, and Ralph Belton. Armele, serves as the executive director (non-paid). The CEN team is composed of Haitians in the diaspora and allies working in partnership with local stakeholders in Haiti.
Our goal is to help local community organizations identify and create sustainable projects with assistance of expertise and financial support from the Haitian expatriate community as well as local and international governmental and NGOs. To make that happen, in partnership with University of Maryland, CEN Haiti is creating an online market place platform to facilitate exchange between expatriates and local leaders. Our Washington office volunteer staff works to engage interested individuals in the Haitian diaspora and assemble technical experts willing to volunteer to work with the local Haitian communities to design specific project solutions for their stated objectives. The Washington volunteers also maintain the website and fundraising effort to support the Haitian community-based projects. The Haiti team is actively sensitizing the local leaders and successfully engaged them in the design and implementation of CEN Haiti program.
CEN Haiti seeks to create a new model of community-based development for Haiti. Our initial focus is to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach by establishing a pilot system to support development projects within Petion-Ville (which is the community where Armele grew up and today has strong family ties) that would then be adapted throughout Haiti. To that end over the last eight years CEN has established an office in Petion-Ville with a local Haitian volunteer staff already active within local community organizations in underserved communities around Petion-Ville, such as Bellevue Lamontage where CEN Haiti has established a second office which has been donated by the local catholic church to facilitate CEN’s field work.
Click here for: CEN Haiti Key Achievements and Project Reports
Also visit the website at CENHaiti.org
The Green Souls educate, inspire, and create opportunities for All Souls to lead more environmentally sustainable, just and spirit-filled lives through Environmental and Climate justice. Activities and issues include marches/rallies, adult spiritual development classes that explore ways to protect our planet, supporting DC divestment from fossil fuels, greening our church, ethical eating, Earth Day events, and more.
The Heiwa Peace Project carries out a ministry of peace and reconciliation through a series of unique programs and relationships dating back to 1947, when the children of All Souls and the students of Honkawa Elementary School (in Hiroshima) responded to the inhumanity of the atomic bombs through artwork now known as the Hiroshima Children’s Drawings. We also maintain a unique interfaith, multicultural partnership with the Japanese Buddhist Rissho Kosei-kai Hiroshima Dharma Center in order to promote peaceful cooperation in our time. Read more here.
Working to create and protect affordable housing is one of the longest-standing priorities of All Souls Church. The Housing Ministry fights for affordable housing through established church groups, such as the All Souls Housing Corporation (a nonprofit that helped build Columbia Heights Village on 14th St) as well as by building partnerships with community groups like the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN). The ministry also works to educate itself, the congregation, and the larger community about the dynamics of affordability, development, gentrification, politics, and racism in Washington, DC.
Rev. Keithan is working with interested congregants to identify other ongoing actions we can take to work with, and offer support to, people experiencing homelessness around the church and city. If you are interested in being part of this effort, please reach out to Rev. Keithan (firstname.lastname@example.org). An initial meeting is likely to happen in early to mid October 2021.
The Migrant Solidarity Team is dedicated to addressing the basic needs of migrants in our metropolitan area. Those needs include food security, stable housing, social connections to established communities, and support from local policy makers. To fulfill those goals, we meet monthly to:
The Team meets on the first Sunday of every month at 9:00 am. All are welcome. Every contribution of time or treasure, no matter the size, is appreciated.
English as a Second Language. 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. Our ESL program focuses on conversation and pronunciation, has a high teacher/student ratio, and holds classes on Sundays from 1 to 3 pm, outside of the work week. We hold teacher training/orientation before each semester starts. In addition to volunteer teachers, we also appreciate volunteers who can help promote the program and recruit new students.
All Souls Church works to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community with actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions. We recognize that social transformation and personal transformation are inextricably linked, so we have both internally-focused and externally-focused ministries dedicated to challenging white supremacy and oppression. Read more here.
The Reproductive Justice Initiative’s mission is to love, empower, respect, and care for cis-women and girls, and trans*/non-binary people in our church and greater community as they make their own choices about their bodies, their sexuality and child-bearing, and as they strive to raise children in safe, healthy, supportive communities. Since reproductive justice focuses on movement building, and how the intersection of people’s identities and lived experiences are impacted by systems of oppression or power dynamics that lead to reproductive oppression, we work closely with community groups that center the needs and leadership of impacted people. Read more here.
We care for all souls, which means we care for the community beyond our doors as well. This value is reflected in #6 of the new church goals adopted in June 2022, which calls us to “Serve the needs of those in our city in partnership with local organizations.”
All Souls has long worked to serve local needs in partnership, and in December 2022 we started another: a “share the plate” approach to the Sunday offering. A different recipient organization will be featured for one month, with a 50/50 split of all non-pledge contributions from the offerings. The recipients are determined by the Executive Team (Traci Hughes-Trotter and Rev. Bill Sinkford) on the recommendation of the Minister of Social Justice (Rev. Rob Keithan).
We expect that most recipients will be local or regional groups rather than national, with the hope that All Souls congregants might join, volunteer, or otherwise support them in an ongoing way beyond the offering. Our goal is promoting relationship and connection! Also, we view the Share the Plate program as an opportunity to broaden All Souls connections in the community, so current Beckner Fund recipients are not eligible. Previous Beckner recipients are eligible. Any congregant or staff member is welcome to suggest an organization by emailing Rev. Rob Keithan.
The Reeb Project for Voting Rights is dedicated to increasing voter participation. We work in solidarity with other UU congregations and progressive partner organizations that center the leadership of people of color, work in communities with historically low voter participation, and advocate for changes to oppressive voting laws. Since our launch in 2013 (at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington), we have called, met, registered, and mobilized thousands of voters in Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. We also support full representation and voting rights for the District of Columbia. Read more.
All Souls Church is an active member of the Washington Interfaith Network, or WIN. Founded in 1996, WIN is a broad-based, multi-racial, multi-faith, strictly non-partisan, District-wide citizens’ power organization, rooted in local congregations and associations. WIN is committed to training and developing neighborhood leaders, to addressing community issues, and to holding elected and corporate officials accountable in Washington, DC. Learn more about WIN here.
We seek to build a congregation, community, and world that truly reflects the values of Beloved Community. For this to happen, we must embody these values in everything we do. Our means must reflect our ends.
Therefore, in the All Souls Social Justice Ministry, we strive to be:
Counter-Oppressive and Accountable. We will dismantle systemic racism and other forms of oppression in ways that are accountable to the communities and groups most impacted.
Authentically Multicultural. Recognizing that there is rarely
a single “right” way to be or to do things, we must know how
to welcome, affirm, and work with different cultures and cultural expressions both within and beyond the congregation.
Intersectional. We view different issues/movements as important and interrelated—not in competition with each other.
Relational. We will foster deeper connections among people
in the congregation—including across generations—as well as helping participants develop genuine connections across differences with the people in the community that we partner with and/or serve. We will work with UU congregations, interfaith partners, and secular organizations.
Spiritually-grounded. We will be rooted in our
Unitarian Universalist faith and our theology of love.
Inclusive and Accessible. We will have multiple entry points,
a broad range of activities, minimal bureaucracy, and clear communication so that families and individuals of all ages can find easy and meaningful ways to be involved.
Focused yet Flexible. Our work will be concentrated enough to be effective, yet adaptable enough to respond to crises, disasters, and other events that call for an immediate action.
Effective. The ministry and all social justice activities will have clear goals, strategies, and metrics for making an impact on the root causes of system injustice, coupled with regular communication to the congregation about our successes and challenges. Building relationships and capacity for future work are recognized as key components of effectiveness.
Nourishing. We will make the work fun, meaningful, and energizing. It should help people find and follow their passion(s) for justice, whether that gets lived out within or beyond the congregation.
Nurturing of Leaders and Skills. We will identify new participants and leaders, build expertise, and help people find ways to serve that are right for them.
Sustainable. We will have the planning, determination, and resilience for the work to continue over time. No one wins when people burn out.