Practice & Voice, BeyondBelief

Words from Our Volunteers

Love is the spirit of this church, and service is its law. Our members serve the church and the wider community in countless ways, and on Sunday, August 7 we’ll celebrate our volunteers with two special services devoted to recognizing these contributions.

We asked our volunteers to share their experiences working with our many groups. Here, we’re happy to share what some of them had to say.

Intercultural Work

“I volunteer with Shādz and All Souls’ Intercultural Bridge team, and we’re currently gearing up workshops & events for the coming church year. During a time when there is so much racial strife in our nation, and especially in Oklahoma, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel like there’s no way one person can make any sort of difference. Volunteering has helped me create deeper connections with some of my fellow church members, and really helps me feel like I am not alone, like we can make a difference if we work together.”

A person moving a chair

“The All Souls Refugee Support Team has opened my mind and my heart to people coming from intolerable situations in war torn countries. It felt deeply good to be part of a very ecumenical group working to support our new community members. The rewards of involvement in this work are moving my life in a forward direction. Easy? No. Worth every minute? Yes.

“Our families have been provided with a strong foundation to begin their lives anew. Housing, food, clothing, transportation, English speaking skills, and job support have all come from the team of volunteers.”

Environmental Justice

“The Green Team researched and educated others about environmental concerns in Tulsa and Northeast Oklahoma, particularly concerns about pollution of the Arkansas River, the air in neighborhoods near the refinery, and air and water pollution caused by poultry operations in northeast Oklahoma. We advocated for saving Helmerich Park, the Aero bus route along Peoria Avenue, and the Ready for 100 initiative in Tulsa.”

Serving at Memorials

“My work co-hosting All Souls memorial receptions is my small way of living out ‘love beyond belief.’ It is rewarding to be of service to families by arranging a pleasant place for them to gather with friends and family for refreshments and visiting after a memorial service. We have a wonderful group of volunteers who bake cookies and make time to prepare and serve refreshments at these receptions.

“We may provide as many as 10 to 20 receptions a year. The rewarding part for me is the friendships I have made with fellow volunteers and church staff. Families often express their appreciation of our service to them at a time of transition in their lives.”

Sienna Project

“Every person who has gone to Guatemala or supported the building of schools there is honored to be able to continue the legacy of Sienna Lavanhar, daughter of Anitra and Marlin Lavanhar and sister of Elias and Lyla. The Sienna Project builds elementary schools for indigenous children in the highlands of Guatemala. All Souls is fortunate to be able to continue this living legacy in Sienna’s memory. The experience of building a school that will serve so many children and encountering such a different culture with such wonderful souls is life changing. I know that the Sienna Project is helping hundreds of children every day, no matter what we’re doing in Tulsa.”

Music and Art

“Although COVID has had an impact on the ability of people to gather – particularly indoors, I love how broad our outreach is. We may sing on a Sunday in the sanctuary or Emerson. We may be outside as we were for the Spring picnic. Prior to COVID we would visit the David L. Moss Jail for Christmas caroling which seemed to mean so much to those in custody. We previously performed the Star Spangled Banner for both the Tulsa Shock and the Drillers. Music is a wonderful thing and really has the ability to move people. That’s a great thing!”

Choir performing on Easter Sunday

“Although we’ve had to close the art gallery, first due to COVID and then due other issues with the room, it was such a pleasure to curate and host the exhibitions for a few years for the enjoyment of our members and friends. As an artist myself, I know art is good for the Soul.”

Garden Team, Welcoming Souls, Care Team

“Church members and visitors appreciate the quiet places in the garden and the special place for coffee time, egg hunts, weddings and celebrations of life. I like feeling I contribute by helping with seasonal plantings and upkeep and by advocacy of expensive repairs.”

“Serving as a docent and as a Welcoming Soul at the welcoming table in the foyer on Sunday mornings connects me with the beautiful diversity of humanity— really! There’s nothing like it. People are fun to get to meet, get to know, and get to get help connect with all there is to do in and through All Souls Church. I love it!”

“The Care Team members can serve as a listening ear, a source of information and connection, and compassionate understanding. It is gratifying to be a giver of these services to others. Being a recent recipient of this attention following the death of my husband has me appreciating the Care Team more than ever.”

Social Justice

“Things suck lately with regard to the political landscape. It’s not clear exactly what we can do to help things suck less. But being in community with people who ALSO want to make the world better and are willing to show up and plan and organize for the long haul is a way we can build on the movements that generations before us have left in our care. We are pulling hard on the arc of the moral universe so that it may be bent toward justice.”

Our community is a system. When you help with one part, you are strengthening the whole.

Deanna Tirrell
People moving a large quantity of boxes.

“I believe in working to make it possible for every person to reach their full potential as a being with inherent worth and dignity. This includes mind, body, and soul, and the teams I volunteer with meet these needs in different ways. Voting is Power encourages people to think about how they will participate in elections, the Community Resource Bank provides food to nourish bodies, and ACTION works to help people understand and be a part of building a strong democracy to fill our souls.

“One of the most exciting things recently is seeing the work of these teams overlap! Registering voters in the same community where we deliver food, connecting elections with the foundations of democracy… Our community is a system, and when we see it that way we all benefit! When you help with one part, you are strengthening the whole.”

Ready to get started and learn how rewarding volunteering can be? Visit our web site at and select “Get Involved” from the top menu. You’ll be presented with dozens of ways to serve the church and the wider community.

Be sure to join us for Gratitude Sunday as we recognize and thank our tireless volunteers! Learn more about out services.

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