UU Church Today

100 Years of All Souls

“All Souls’ Liberal Church is Launched”

Join us for our 100th birthday this Sunday! On March 28, 1921, 27 people signed a charter to create All Souls’ Liberal Church. As Rev. Dr. Marlin Lavanhar explained in an interview with Tulsa People magazine, they called themselves the All Souls’ Liberal Church, because they thought the word “Unitarian” might be too controversial. “The word ‘liberal’ has really changed over that time, because Richard Lloyd Jones was certainly not a liberal… ‘Liberal’ was considered a very positive word, like liberty and freedom, back then. It was All Souls Liberal Church for the first decade, and once they had established themselves in the community, they took the name Unitarian publicly.” In its early years, All Souls met in numerous locations around downtown Tulsa. Our first permanent home was at 14th and Boulder in the building that now houses Fitzgerald Funeral Home.

All Souls Unitarian Church Builds a New Home

Groundbreaking at 2952 South Peoria. Pictured: Bob Sonen, Stan Hutchison, Patty Terrell, Unknown, Sara Campbell

In August of 1956, All Souls broke ground on our current location on South Peoria. Soon after began a new era in our nation and our world, and All Souls ministers and members stood—and marched—at the forefront of these changes. Led by Rev. Dr. John Wolf, All Souls became synonymous with social justice and civil rights.

Through the decades, All Souls Church, and its membership, has helped to shape Tulsa, including bringing different denominations and faiths together for Tulsa’s first Interfaith service and marching for civil rights in the 1960s, helping public schools integrate in the 1970s, addressing the AIDS crisis in the 1990s, and continuing to work toward LGBTQ, immigrant, and racial justice today.

Rev. Dr. John Wolf in 2015

Since taking the helm of All Souls 21 years ago, Rev. Dr. Marlin Lavanhar has continued Dr. Wolf’s legacy. In 2008, All Souls became the new home of Bishop Carlton Pearson’s congregation, and a church unlike any other was born.

Bishop Carlton Pearson and Rev. Dr. Marlin Lavanhar in 2008

Meeting the Challenges of the Future

In 2017, the members of All Souls voted to move the church building downtown. Unsurmountable financial issues and the sudden arrival of a global pandemic caused the church to reconsider, and the members voted again, this time choosing to stay in the current location. In the coming years, the existing space will be renovated to better serve our members and friends in Tulsa and throughout the world.

Our 2020 Coming of Age class was the first to meet virtually on Zoom.

Today, All Souls exists as a Virtual Church, engaging with members and friends via Zoom, Facebook and YouTube. Our staff is busy working behind the scenes to create a new, hybrid church that lets us gather together in person while still engaging with All Souls Everywhere members. We hope you will continue to walk with us as we imagine what our church will look like for the next 100 years. Join us on Sunday, March 28 as we celebrate our history and plan for our future.

Our 85th Anniversary

Leadership Gathering Online 
Wednesday, March 31 | 7 p.m. | allsouls.me/leadership 

Join our ministers to hear where we’re headed and share your wisdom to help guide us. 

We ask our leaders, and our All Souls Tulsa & All Souls Everywhere members to attend if possible. Our collective leadership is needed to plan how we are moving forward, together. 

We will discuss: 

  • Hybrid Church 
  • Re-opening the Building 
  • Renovating the Building & Grounds 

Join us online at allsouls.me/leadership!

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