A Decade of All Souls

Ten years ago, fourteen of us gathered round a table and spread into the living room of our townhouse on Brookwood Drive. We filled our plates and shared the first of many potlucks. Stuffed, we pulled our chairs into a circle, passed out the sheets for evening prayers and flowed into the simplest rhythm: week after week, we prayed, we heard the gospel, we shared our stories. The highlight for me was how one person per evening would narrate whatever piece of their life they were able to offer. We received sadness and joy, confusion and hope. Our chafed leather couch (the one friends over the years dubbed ‘the crying couch’) sat against the window, welcoming new tears, more laughter. We practiced what one writer called ‘verbal hospitality.’ And for a decade now, we’ve been doing our darnedest to stay true to that circle, that table, those prayers, those stories.

It’s baffling how that meager gathering could plant the seed for the beauty and goodness All Souls has become. Markus Barth said the church is the “theater of God’s works.” At this decade mark, I’m filled to the brim with gratitude for how God has displayed such immense kindness, such generosity, to a community of friends who wanted to learn how to both drink in and pour out God’s love.

They say one of our best prayers is the simplest: thank you. So, from a deep place of bewilderment and delight: God, thank you.

10 Replies to “A Decade of All Souls”

  1. Yes and yes. Thank you, Winn. Over 2700 miles separate us now but All Souls is still a very deep and important part of my soul. Deep thanks to God for All Souls—from California.

  2. Pastor Winn, I always enjoy reading your words !! I look for your writings in my In Touch Magazine. I just enjoy how you put together words to convey your thoughts on a subject. And I tell you again, you are all over my Bible with your sayings on a subject. I just write them in ! Thank you.

  3. Winn, it is a blessing to be one who reads those words knowing the reality you depict, not via All Souls, but through your ministry to me. But to know that you are faithfully manifesting the grace to be broken and the reconciling hope of the Gospel in the place in which you have established your roots over the past 10 years is such an encouraging counter to the transient realities that have all too often become our assumed norms. Know that your ministry and writing has blessed many, far beyond the scope of your local ministry in VA, but it is your genuine love for the place you are situated that lends your broader ministry such efficacious authenticity. Congratulations for a decade of faithful ministry and I’m grateful that you were bold enough to be the man that you are, walking the journey that you have walked, because if not I would not be the man that I am now!

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