In December, All Souls celebrated the fifth anniversary of our adoption of the 8th Principle–the principle that commits us to journeying towards spiritual wholeness by accountably dismantling racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions. While we were one of the first congregations to adopt that principle, hundreds of others have now done so, and our living tradition continues to evolve.
The 8th Principle requires us to be accountable in our anti-oppression work. One form that accountability has taken at All Souls is the Transformation Team, a temporary committee of the Board of Trustees that worked from the spring of 2018 until the fall of 2021 to recommend numerous changes to our church to help us better embody the 8th Principle. The Board is deeply grateful for the Team and its members and co-chairs, especially Paula Cole Jones, Pamela Sparr, and Derek Robinson.
Another form accountability takes is making sure a record of the Team’s work exists. To honor that work, the Board has published a final report that highlights ways they helped All Souls transform. The report contains reflections from several people involved with the Team on the many institutional changes from the past few years. I hope you will read it.
The work of transformation at All Souls is not done. When the Board wound down the Transformation Team as a Board committee, it asked the staff to create a new team that would be co-led by a congregant and staff member and that would help make the 8th Principle not just a part of our policies but a part of our practices and programs. That Team – the “8 Team” – is co-led by Minister of Social Justice Rev. Rob Keithan and long-time congregant and educator Bill Rice, and they are currently focusing on projects like developing comprehensive, justice-centered training for congregants to improve their justice skills and on supporting the church’s transformative justice project. I hope you will reach out and find ways that you can get involved.
President, All Souls Board of Trustees