Thanksgiving 2019 Message — Rev. Will

A time of thanksgiving, a time of reflection and a time to express the values one holds. Gratitude is a happiness experienced at least twice: once as the event and again in the reflection. Everyday I am moved by the kindness I see from children, adults, teens and seniors.

Everyday, I get discouraged by the separation in our communities and country, by the ways those in power treat the least of these–those without voices, our planet, our siblings.

Everyday, there are those in our community who express their passion by being present with one another, asking questions that inspire, and laughing with our neighbors at our quirkiness, naivete, humor and wisdom.

I believe that relationships must be built on a foundation of mutual respect. We all foster this: growing it and nurturing it.

During this time of Thanksgiving, I want to share my gratitude. Although there are many things that happen that are inexcusable. We pray for the reconciliation between the life we experience and the struggles (personal and institutional) experienced by too many of our siblings. We pray this prayer as actions for change and we pray this prayer for hope, as we build Beloved Community, and we pray this prayer as respot for those working sustainable change for our planet.

There are moments of grace everyday, of people helping one another, and today we celebrate that grace. For that, I am thankful.

Peace, Shalom, Salaam,
Rev. Will

2018-07-01: “You Can Make a Difference”

Have you ever wondered if you can make a difference?  The problems of the world are so vast, how can you possibly hope to solve them?  Hunder is all around us – with needs that are so great and tasks that seem overwhelming, where do you begin? As the founder of the Matthew 25 Outreach Center, Jeff Wright has extensive experience in business as well as years of experience working in hunger-related endeavors across the state.  He has the sincere heart an mind of Christ and keeps his focus clearly on seeking God’s call and direction in his life.  Beyond being the visionary leader, he and his wife, Stacy, enjoy  being in the trenches serving as the hands and feet of Jesus. Matthew 25 Outreach Center feeds the hungry in North Central Ohio, with the help of 350 volunteers from more than 35 area churches, schools, and civic organizations; each month we distribute 30,000 pounds of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables to 1,500 hungry people.  Monthly food distributions give area churches, schools, and places of work a safe place to volunteer, make new friends, and make a difference in the community.  Nutritious food is the gateway to building relationships with our guests, as we open hearts, learn about heartaches, and deliver the love of God.

One Day in a Life of a Service: Sunday October 8, 2017

Today started out ordinary and very busy. Kristin Ellis and I had signed up to do snacks and clean the kitchen for coffee hour, so our day started very early preparing food to bring. When I got to church, the Adult RE class led by Art O’Leary, was still taking place and Joan and Reed were setting up a festive tent to showcase and donate their produce to passersby and church friends and members. This was also the day for Brian and Jackie’s recycle truck and the highway cleanup. After setting up my part of the snack table and waiting for Kristin to do the rest, I went upstairs to find that everything was in full swing, that miraculous coming together of church folk to make everything go smoothly or at least to make it seem that way. Flowers on the altar, candles waiting to be lit, musicians ready, having already tuned up. Will was setting up the pulpit to be the leader and I’m sure Haley was squirming in her seat, as a first-time speaker. Her talk was marvelous, by the way. I’m assuming that she wrote her talk, as it was very personal and funny and her delivery was flawless. Before the service, I had made an announcement that Karen was needing some help downstairs with dual projects with the kids (candle making for the older ones, and cupcake decorating for the youngers). Patrick, a first-time visitor, stood up and said he’d go down and help. I was overwhelmed at his generosity. I think that Chuck and Sandy also volunteered to help, as well. Downstairs, someone had already made coffee (Bruce??) and Kristin had arrived and saved the snack table. We also served ice cream , left over from a poorly attended ice cream social we had during the summer. I started dishes and Bambi, another newbie, came into the kitchen to dry the stacks of clean dishes. (I’m a really fast but thorough washerwoman.) Kristin also started helping, once she had tried everything on the table once or twice, including a big bowl of moose tracks ice cream. Ha ha. ( Not sure if that was just to stall off the mound of dishes in the kitchen or if she was just really hungry.)

After rushing through clean up and leaving the bulk of the tail end of the work for Denis and others in the kitchen, I joined my comrades for a section of highway trash pickup between the white barns on Rt. 13 south of town. Todd, Bambi, Carla, Brian and I had a blast picking up a million cigarette butts and pop bottles filled with tobacco spit and various other collectibles . Meanwhile, Karen and the new guy, Patrick were entertaining the kids and going to get pizza for the hungry trashpickers. While waiting on the pizza to arrive, Carla decided to vacuum the whole floor, a job Chuck usually does on Mondays. This was after I talked her out of raking leaves, figuring that more would come down and that would be a good job for Saturday’s work day, organized by Chuck. After all this, Brian and Jackie had to unload all the recyclables so they could use their truck the next day for paid work.
All of this got me to thinking about how many hours we all put into service for this church, not to mention all the good we do in our everyday lives. So, since this is only what I personally saw on one day, I’d like to open this up to everyone else to add their observations on how well we do as a congregation and hopefully this will spill over into our lives at home and in the world. Melanie

Here’s That Uncomfortable “Stewardship” Thing Again

I was editing several of our talks at the church recently (converting the file formats to get them ready to be added as a feature on our website:, including the one where Rev. Karen Bruno talked about stewardship. In it, she mentioned that, like evangelism, stewardship is one of those words we don’t like to talk about at All Souls.

Rev. Bruno mentioned that everyone pretty much understands that “stewardship” is a code word for “money.”

I’m bringing that word to the top of the page here to remind you about something that Rev. Bruno referenced in her talk. Say what you will, eventually it comes down to the fact that the church stays open due to income from its member’s giving.

If you look at the year end financial report and pledge report on the third page, you’ll see we ended the year in the black financially and almost met our goal for having all pledged money received (believe me, falling .02% short is very good). This is fantastic news and we are delighted.

However (you knew there would be a “however,” right?), we need to take into account many things. First, we had budgeted for lawn care and only ended up spending a tenth of what we budgeted. That’s because one of our members (you know who) continues to donate his time to making the church look nice outside and that was coupled with a mild summer and winter. Second, we suspended the payment of our dues to the OMD and UUA in order to free up funds for our part-time pastoral care. Third, we had several repair items and improvements for the church that have been suspended until we could see what our financial outlook is for the upcoming fiscal year (leveling the kitchen floor, installing the sink, erecting a new sign, fixing the bell tower pulley, fixing the foyer window, etc).

We love our beautiful historic church, but the plain truth is, she is old and needs regular upkeep. We also have many plans that we’d like to put into action to continue growing our church and its outreach. Those projects depend a lot on volunteer efforts but also, many times, money: primarily for supplies or expertise in getting the projects done.

Yes, stewardship also means volunteering your time and I don’t means for a second to underestimate the value of that. There are so many talented members and friends in our church who do not have the finances to commit more than service to the church. And that’s fine.

We love All Souls. The church has been here since 1894 and is not going anywhere. We are a diverse group of people celebrating all faiths, all individuals, and all paths to spirituality. We are unique in the area in celebrating that view, and I think that is important, especially today. In conclusion, please consider your pledge for the upcoming fiscal year. Thank you.

All Souls web site (finally)

First, an introduction: I am Reed Richmond and I have been serving for three years as president (the lower case “p” is intentional) of the Board at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. One of my duties was to create a new web page for the church. Although we have an active Facebook page, people often find out about us initially by doing a web page search.

The history of All Souls web pages is varied. The original web page was created by a computer programer by the name of Bill Millikin who also served as Board president. That page existed under several URL names (BellvilleAllSoulsUUChurch and AllSoulsUUChurchBellville for example). The web page duties were then taken over by Adam Johnston and became That page, unfortunately, was hijacked by a scoundrel company that steals website names and then offers the name back to you for a price (AllSoulsOhio still exists as a WordPress blog here:

When Adam and his family (and, oh BTW, Teresa set up our thriving Facebook account and g-mail system) moved further away and could no longer attend, the web page remained dormant, with me insisting that I would get around to it. I suffered a technical glitch in getting this started and then a personal (health) glitch.

So here it is, name officially registered with GoDaddy as Because there are several All Souls across the country, and were already claimed. So we stuck Ohio in there so you would know where to find us.