June 23, 2024

Downtown church promotes diversity, inclusion


The All Souls Church held its weekly meeting on Sunday, Aug. 4 in the Square Room, located on Market Square in downtown.

The meeting location of the church is not the only unusual thing about it.  The service is open to anyone who cares to attend, everyone is welcome, and most parishioners feel free to dress casually.

The church stimulates this casual atmosphere by having the leaders of the services set the example.  “Who made me judge or arbiter [of anyone],” said Jesse Watkins, the director of worship at the church.  According to him, the spirit of inclusion is vital to the mission of the church.

The idea behind the church is that worship is central to the establishment and maintenance of a thriving downtown.  To that end, the church meets in a downtown space and works to promote downtown businesses.  Additionally, the church encourages everyone to buy locally grown food.

The welcome sign points new visitors into an alley on Market Square

The welcome sign points new visitors into an alley on Market Square.

Another key component to the message of the church is that everyone in a community must work together to make that community successful.  “We’re all on a journey; a spiritual journey.  Busy people are just travelers who need companionship.  We’re not meant to make the journey alone,” said Suzanne Hassell, director of the Healing Hands Ministry, which is affiliated with All Souls Church.

The church is organized into a series of teams which cover all the foreseeable needs of the church members.  The teams are Community, Study, Justice, Prayer, and Children’s Ministry.

All Souls Church meets each Sunday evening at 5 p.m.