Practice & Voice

Centennial Award: Emily Wood

After moving here in the 1970s, as a lifelong Unitarian, Emily Wood began working at Northside elementary school with Mrs. Dorothy DeWitty. She complained to Rev. Dr. John B. Wolf, senior minister of All Souls at that time, about complete segregation. As a result, Church of the Restoration—UU was founded. Emily attended and worshipped at Restoration before returning to All Souls. “I am delighted with the inclusiveness of today, of our church,” Emily said.

She was highly involved as President of the United Nations Association which she regarded as an integral partner of All Souls. My work as a Founding teacher of Eisenhower International School was work toward diversity. Emily also founded the Eisenhower Student Exchange Academic Programs, the first elementary academic exchanges long term in the nation. This involved volunteer work expanding international understanding.

“I have loved being able to grow and to relate my career and life to All Souls values. I love the fact that I have felt harmony between career and volunteer work at All Souls.”

Emily Wood

Many teachers describe working with children as their calling, and Emily would not shake her dedication to kids even at age 91. Five days a week, she met with small groups of young students so that they can practice their writing. “I think all children can learn,” Emily has said, “and teaching is an honorable profession.”

Emily worked as an assistant at the University School, which is a private school for gifted and talented children located near the University of Tulsa campus.

“The children listen. They focus. They learn with joy,” she said. “Working here for a couple of hours in the morning is not work. It’s a tonic.”

Debra Price, the University School’s assistant director of admission, said many know Wood as a local legend, but she would like to add another title. “I would say she’s an icon, she’s an education icon in this community.”

Emily said she is grateful for the opportunity to have worked so closely with kids, I hope the students take away curiosity, a feeling that they can do whatever they want to in life and contribute,”

“I can’t emphasize how many wonderful experiences I had,” she said, “and I hear of the success of many of those students today that makes me very happy.”

She received the 2012 Noche de Gala Award to honor and recognize her career as a Tulsa educator with a strong interest in and support of diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness. Her husband Phil received the same award at Noche de Gala 200.

In our Centennial year, All Souls is honoring members of our church who have contributed greatly to shape how our congregation and community care for each other. On Sundays, we are featuring an honoree, highlighting their service and their meaningful experiences.

All Souls is always looking for unique perspectives, stories of our Unitarian faith in practice, community building, and the human experience. We also need volunteers to help us capture church life through photography, videography, editing, storytelling, and AV work. To connect and volunteer in any of these capacities, please email our Director of Communications Bonita James,

Become a member of the All Souls family any time online or on Joining Sundays. Joining Sundays are your opportunity to meet with an All Souls minister, ask questions, connect with others who are joining, and become a member of the All Souls family!
Second Sundays  | Online via Zoom!
11:30 am:
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Read more blogs that feature how our community cares for each other here.