UU Church Today, BeyondBelief

My love letter to All Souls

Dear beautiful souls … Six and a half years ago, I stumbled into the position as the Communications Manager at All Souls Church. Without a clue about Unitarian Universalism, I quickly found myself as part of a beautiful community that would become deeply ingrained in my life. In the years I’ve been at All Souls, I built a Communications department, developed the AV department and AV staff, helped to establish All Souls Everywhere, and recently joined the Executive Team. These professional achievements are not my own as each of these things I’ve accomplished alongside you—many members, friends, community leaders, my fellow workmates, and All Souls leadership and Board of Trustees. 

I love you all. And, I mean it.

I love you, for being a part of this community, whether we’ve worked together closely or have only smiled and said hello. And, with this heart full of love, I share with you that my time at All Souls as a staff person has run its course. I have accepted a position at Riverfield Country Day School and will be leaving my position at the church at the end of the month. 

With a recent promotion to the Executive Team, and a chance to apply for the newly established Operations position, I can imagine that this decision may not make a whole lot of sense on the surface. Because All Souls is such a big and important part of my life, I think you deserve some context and understanding … and the reality is, I need you to understand because I need the church more than ever. 


Many of you may know my wife Ashley who I had moved to Tulsa to start my life with. Many of you have been there as we navigated the complexities of becoming care-givers for a little girl named Jamaella, who we raised from 4 months old to 4 years old. 

What I haven’t shared or been public about is that Jamaella went to live with her sisters in October of 2022. We had done our jobs as guardians and she was able to move home with family. It was a very hard, rewarding, heart-growing, confusing, and amazing time in my life, to be a parent, to be a mom …As short as the time was — I wouldn’t give away a moment with that little girl or her siblings. I love her so much and wish her and her family the very best. 

Unfortunately, my marriage with Ashley did not survive the tests our relationship faced over the last few years. We will be divorced by the end of this month. This is indeed the most heart-breaking season of my life so far. 

Through all of this transition recently, I found that I need the church in a completely different way. I need you in my life in the same way that you might need our community in your lives. I need to be a lay-person. 

Space and time to figure out what’s next.

This opportunity with Riverfield is a saving grace that is giving me just that. I’m so grateful to the universe for giving me a soft place to land and a new way to stretch as a professional. 

I want to share my gratitude for you. Each and every one of you, for being who you are and finding this church that celebrates exactly that – humans just as they are. I’m thankful for the trust you’ve given to me in telling your stories, to the kindness you’ve shared, and the support you’ve given to our church to continue being a safe and healing space. 

I’ve got to do amazing work that I am so proud of at this church.

Just a few highlights include crafting 100 years of All Souls into a Centennial 6 minute video … I’d love for you to watch it again to get a sense of the importance of All Souls over the decades and the importance that this place exists in the future. 

Year after Year of PRIDE.

There’s nothing like the feeling of marching in Tulsa Pride with All Souls! I cry every year seeing all the queer kids and LGBTQ+ families in the crowd singing along with YAVE. Special thanks to Joe Nurre for the years of managing our float, to Shelley Mackin and Ashley for helping to build the sucker, to Norm DeMoss and Thomas Farnan-Williams for always saying yes, and to all the volunteers who have helped us pull it off every time. 

Every single action to stand against racism.

I played small parts in some of the calls for racial justice and my personal work in REWIRE has set the foundation for my inner work to continue. One of the most memorable things for me was putting together this video for Shannon during the pandemic at a high point of the Black Lives Matter movement. Telling these stories in our services and programs is so important. 

100 Stories

I want to thank every person who allowed me to interview them for our 100 Stories Project. I didn’t make it to 100 as the pandemic changed everything … but 30 amazing souls shared their hearts and stories with me, and those stories are now archived at the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum. Some of them include pillars of our church such as Barbara Wolf, Nancy McDonald, Earl & Josie Goodman and the Pillars of Sloth (if you know, you know.) And, some of our friends who have passed on such as Harry Cramton and Bill Jensen, two of my favorite interviews. 

Opportunities to THRIVE

As a staff person who has stretched into nearly all aspects of the church through the pandemic, I see a lot of opportunities for you to help All Souls THRIVE and I’m calling you to do so.

Go help Shannon Boston care for our kids by volunteering in our Children’s Religious Exploration programs, just one Sunday a month during a service. Or pitch in on Wednesday nights in the kitchen or teach a class. 

Go, connect with Randy Lewis to join a Care Team — the teams need people who will help care for members of our community when they are down. It can be as simple as bringing a meal or giving a ride, but you’ve gotta be a part of the team to be on the list to serve. And, please ALWAYS stop at the Care Team table on Sunday and sign those cards.

Go, throw some dollars in the BrUUnch for Boston cup when you snag a donut and connect with Corey Smith to help chaperone our amazing Youth Programs and trips. 

Go, help Barbara Prose build a fun, memorable, and successful fundraising event this year before she goes. Pitch in as a sponsor, serve as a chair or volunteer, or just plan to be at the party and support our church!

Go, sing in one of our choirs or put your kids in choir. Don’t tell me you don’t have a voice .. just try if it strikes your fancy. You (or your kiddos) have the opportunity to be coached by two of the most amazing musicians, Rick Fortner and David B. Smith. Along with Libby Sublett directing the youngest of singers, I’ve seen their genius in choir directing and composing music. Go be a part of the magic that is our choirs! 

Go, think about your skill sets, talents, and time you have and join a justice team. All Souls Justice work does not exist without people working together. Getting to work with and learn from people who are committed to the service of others will expand your heart and understanding of the world in ways you cannot foresee. Trust me. 

Go, ask Marlin where the needs are … and help support him in fulfilling those needs as he leads this church into our next Century. And, remember to tell him when we miss the mark in a loving way and to celebrate with him when we get it right. I’m so grateful to Marlin for sharing with the staff when he experiences the profound and powerful impact our church has on a family or person who needed us the most, and All Souls was there to carry them through. 

And, please, Go to the Many Voices. One Vision. Event on January 18. The Vision process and development of the strategic plan has been “my baby” and I’m committed to carrying the church through the first sessions this month. I am also committed to serve the process as a lay person as we continue to move this church forward. It’s going to take all of us. 

Thank you. I love you. 

Who to contact:

Here are the key folks you may need to get in touch with moving forward.
Michelle Spencer – Communications Associate – mspencer@allsoulschurch.org for anything related to communications, website, social media, storytelling, news media, etc. (If you’d like to write, take photos, design, help process mailings, etc, please reach out!)

Justin Allen – AV Manager –
jallen@allsoulschurch.org for all things AV related for worship and events. (If you’ve got AV or video editing experience, Justin is your man to get plugged in!)

John Boston – IT / Database –
jboston@allsoulschurch.org for all things IT, help desk, Zoom.

Nef Sanders – Membership Associate
nsanders@allsoulschurch.org for all things membership, myallsouls.org, or to book your team’s tables on Sundays.

Cover Photo: From the day Rick Gardner & I got drone footage of the church during the pandemic. I LOVE the Memorial Garden, especially when the Azaleas are in bloom! <3