All Souls Kansas City

Frequently Asked Questions

What time is your service?

How do I get to All Souls?

Is your church accessible to the disabled?

Will I be welcomed in this congregation?

How should I dress?

Is childcare available? Are there activities for my children?

Is my child welcome to stay with me during the service?

What goes on during the Sunday service?

What else happens on Sunday morning?

What goes on at All Souls during the week?

What social justice activities does the church have?

What is the mission of All Souls Unitarian Universalist church?

How diverse are the members of All Souls?

What do Unitarian Universalists believe?

What are the origins of Unitarian Universalism?

What is the significance of the Chalice?

How do I become a member of All Souls church?

Do you have an orientation session for prospective members?

What are the benefits of becoming a member of All Souls?

How do I give to All Souls?

What time is your service?

A traditional Celebration of Life service starts at 11:15 a.m. each Sunday throughout the year.
Our 10 a.m. activity rotates during the year; from September to May we hold the Forum community discussion group at 10 a.m. In the summer, a time for personal testimony called the Religious Odyssey convenes at 10:00 a.m.

How do I get to All Souls?

All Souls is located at 4501 Walnut Street, one block east of the intersection of 45th and Main Streets, just east of the Country Club Plaza. Please visit the map and parking information page for more detailed directions. If you need further directions, call the church at 816-531-2131 .

Is your church accessible to the disabled?

Yes. The entrance to the building and the main sanctuary and social hall are at grade level. Large print orders of service and assisted hearing devices are available from the church office. Please visit our Access page for more information on the building’s accommodations.

Will I be welcomed in this congregation?

All Souls welcomes all visitors, regardless of age, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, physical challenge, religion, business connections or political affiliation. We are a non-violent, weapon-free and smoke-free zone.

What do people wear to this church?

Casual, comfortable clothes are appropriate; wear what makes you feel good about yourself and confident meeting others. All Souls members wear everything from suits to jeans. Children are encouraged to wear clothes suitable for active play and crafts.

Are childcare and children’s activities available?

Nursery care is available from 10 a.m. to noon for infant to 3 year olds. Children ages 3 to 18 are invited to participate in an activity hour from 10 to 11 a.m. The Religious Education program begins with children in the 11:15 service for 15 minutes, after which age level, curriculum-based classes are offered. High school teens gather starting at 11:15. Please visit the Religious Education page for more information.

Is my child welcome to stay with me during the service?

Certainly. Participation in the worship service is always a religious education experience, and some families prefer to attend together. If your young child becomes restless, there is a nearby nursery, equipped with a video camera so that parents can observe their children via a private QRC on their smart phone.

What goes on during the Sunday Service?

The service opens with a chalice lighting, followed by a time when visitors are invited to introduce themselves and members may introduce their guests. Music is spread throughout the service and includes choral or instrumental performances and hymns sung by the congregation. The heart of the service usually consists of readings and a sermon by the minister or guest preacher. There may be a story for the children, an opportunity for members to share joys and concerns, or other special presentations. An offering, to support the work of the church, is also a part of each service.

What else happens on Sunday morning?

Before the service, the UU Forum at 10 a.m. provides a platform for the discussion of significant issues, especially those that involve ethical values in the modern world. Typically the lecture is followed by a question and answer period. From June to August, the Religious Odyssey replaces the Forum at 10 a.m. Each week, a member of the church will present the story of her or his spiritual journey.

How can I find out what goes on at All Souls UU Church during the week?

During the week, there are numerous church and community meetings and events, including many adult education programs. One of the best ways to keep informed is to sign up for the All Souls Friday e-mail and the monthly newsletter, the Flame. A daily calendar is posted at the main entrance and also available online. You can also stay current on church events and be involved in our community by following us on Twitter and friending us on Facebook.

What social justice activities do you have?

The All Souls social responsibility board coordinates most of the congregation’s justice work. We are a member congregation of the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, and we provide a monthly dinner at ReStart ministry to the homeless. We have active racial justice and green sanctuary committees, as well as groups who volunteer at Carver Dual Language Elementary School. Our 10 a.m. community Forum offers an opportunity to explore issues of civic, national, and international justice in a setting of respectful dialogue. The church has a long history with the Kansas City chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and holds memberships in the Missouri Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and in Project Equality, a local non-profit partnership for equal employment opportunity and cultural diversity.

For more information, please visit our Social Justice page.

What’s the mission of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church?

It is the mission of All Souls to
o Build a respectful, caring community
o Inspire personal and spiritual growth
o Create a just and compassionate society

Our congregation is dedicated to inviting people of diverse beliefs to come together, inspired by the values of mutual care and respect, intellectual and spiritual inquiry, and social and environmental responsibility. We seek to model and propagate these values in the larger community — local, state, national and global.

How diverse are the members of All Souls?

Like most Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, All Souls counts humanists, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, pagans, agnostics, and atheists among its members. We are united by our belief in the importance of accepting one another and encouraging our growth toward spiritual maturity, guided by freedom, reason and conscience. Also like many progressive congregations, our demographic is more uniform than the world we aspire to create. We are bound in community by the covenant statement that we affirm together every week:
“Goodwill is the spirit of this church, and service is its law.
This is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace,
to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.”

What do Unitarian Universalists believe?

There is no creedal test required to become a Unitarian Universalist; there are many differing ideas about the answers to religious questions among our members, so it would be impossible to say that all UUs believe any particular statement. Many of us find that the Purposes and Principles of our national organization, the Unitarian Universalist Association, give a useful description of what most members would agree about our faith:

We covenant to affirm and promote:
o The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
o Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
o Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
o A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
o The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process
within our congregations and in society at large;
o The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
o Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

What are the origins of Unitarian Universalism?

Contemporary Unitarian Universalism brings together two strands of the liberal religious heritage. Unitarianism, which originates at the time of the Renaissance and Reformation, arose from an intellectual rejection of the Christian doctrine of the trinity, among those who believed that there could be only a single divinity, and that religious faith, like all other forms of knowledge, must conform to reason. Universalism emerged two centuries later, among those who believed that no human soul was damned for eternity, but that all would eventually be saved and united in holy happiness, because a loving creator could not will it to be otherwise. Both groups were willing to question the dogmas of their day, and to insist upon the right of the individual’s conscience to speak their religious convictions openly. Today the same commitments to freedom, reason, and compassion continue to inform a creedless tradition, that does not expect conformity among its members, but asks us to strive for lives of service, integrity, openness, and joy.

Please visit the Unitarian Universalism Website to learn more about our history and beliefs.

What is the significance of the Flaming Chalice?

The flaming chalice has become the symbol of the Unitarian Universalist tradition. We light our chalice at the start of every worship service to symbolize the light of truth, the warmth of community, and the fire of commitment. The living flame reminds us of the sacrifices that have been made to secure our freedoms, and lifts up the light each one of us can bring into the world.

How do I become a member at All Souls?

According to the congregational constitution, members must be 14 years old, in sympathy with the congregation’s mission, and submit a written request for membership approved by the Board of Trustees. You may contact the church office to request an intent to join form. Voting members must be 18 years old and make a financial contribution of record in the current or preceding year. Under the All Souls bylaws “no test of creed, of faith, of national origin, of race or color, of gender, of affectional or sexual orientation, of physical challenge, or other similar tests” may be imposed as a condition of membership.

Do you have an orientation session for people who want to become members?

Several times a year, there are one-session meetings for those who want to explore the possibility of joining All Souls, to share our stories and ask any questions you might have. There is also a monthly orientation gathering for new members, that over the course of a year covers many topics, including the history of All Souls and Unitarian Universalism, and many of the All Souls programs, as well as providing opportunities for connection with All Souls members. Attendance is not mandatory, but strongly encouraged, and a lot of fun.

What are the benefits of becoming a member of All Souls?

The most important benefit of membership is the opportunity to engage in a responsible search for truth in a community of other seekers; to work compassionately for justice and to unite reason and passion in a life of meaning and purpose. Membership in a religious community is a resource for individuals and families in times of difficulty and of celebration. Ethical and spiritual education offers guidance to both children and adults that is not readily found elsewhere in our culture.

New members are welcomed at a membership ceremony as part of the Sunday morning service. After joining they will receive the UU World magazine, and have the opportunity to vote at congregational meetings. Rites of passage such as weddings and funerals, as well as other ministerial services and use of the building, are available without charge to members.

How can I give to All Souls?

While the volunteer work of our members is essential, their financial support is also necessary. You can click here to make a one-time donation to our work. As a member, your pledge, or an annual statement of your intended financial commitment, allows the congregation to plan its budget and programs for the fiscal year. This may be paid as a lump sum or in installments, and may be adjusted if your life circumstances change. Giving guides are available, but a useful intention is to think of pledging five percent of your gross personal income to your religious community, and five percent to other causes that are meaningful to you; this is considered a “liberal tithe.”