Carlton Pearson All Souls
UU Church Today, Practice & Voice

New Dimensions: Experimenting To Find Our Symphony


a scientific procedure undertaken to make a discovery, test a hypothesis, or demonstrate a known fact.

Rev. Marlin Lavanhar and I embraced the charge to bring together our two cultural and spiritual communities, All Souls Unitarian Church and New Dimensions, together.

We were fully aware of the risks and challenges of this experiment, knowing this coming together was daunting and daring, but also necessary. New Dimensions needed a home and All Souls already identified itself as a welcoming congregation.

We both felt deeply that the tone and tune of our separate ministries, would grow more beautiful through bringing the two communities together.  We trusted ourselves, each other, and our people to learn and grow as we worked to bridge our Pentecostal tradition of transcendence to the broader rational and scientific approach of Unitarian Universalism.

Through this transformational work, we came up with the term Unicostalism, to help define our evolving realities and experiences. We invite you to experience what this feels like in the All Souls Contemporary service held at 11:30 a.m. every Sunday.

Read Rev. Marlin Lavanhar’s perspective in our 4-part series, Opening Doors for a New Home.


to mix different things or qualities.

This experiment which began in 2008 has helped shape the 2021 vision of All Souls: to intentionally become a multiracial, multicultural, multigenerational church representing a diversity of class, culture, philosophy, theology, politics, sexual orientations, and more.

Now this blending of our congregations is becoming so much more than a multicultural and multiethnic experience.  This experiment is creating new experiences for everyone, no matter where they are on their spiritual journeys.


a force that acts in an opposite direction to movement.

Friction is part of what is transforming our members and our congregation. Friction is always present when something is in motion. New Dimensions and All Souls have been moving toward and alongside each other for years now.  Some kind of friction may have slowed us down and friction may have led to a loss of members from each of our communities. We are finding ways to overcome friction and are becoming stronger for it.

Culturally the theological differences around Christology and the “black experience” in worship remain, but the focus of inclusion is a uniting force.

“If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” – President Truman.

We intend to remain in the kitchen! The meal we are preparing will be succulent and satiating, serving and sustaining us over time.

We don’t intend to be a melting pot, but something more like a stew. In a stew, each ingredient remains distinguishable and uniquely separate, although not separated from the whole. That is the art, science, and grace of our experiment and experience at All Souls. We find it delightful that the longer we simmer together the more our flavors blend while maintaining in our uniqueness. That is our great joy!


Greek word for agreement

Just as we find complimentary differences and similarities while we create new forms of worship together, we discover new harmonies in our relationships.  We are experiencing Symphoneois which doesn’t mean to sound the same or to sound alike.  It means to sound together.

We are learning how to sound together and how to hear each other.  A symphony is one way to express the state of our experiment. Ever changing and ever evolving as we work and worship, serve and sing together, we are on a shared journey toward understanding and expressing love beyond belief.

Read more from our 4-part series:
Cassandra Austin’s Coming Home from War

Jane Newman’s Reflections on a Journey

Rev. Dr. Marlin Lavanhar’s Opening Doors for a new Home


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