Message From The Minister


Love is a powerful thing. As stated in Corinthians 13:13, “Three things will last forever — Faith, Hope and Love — and the greatest of these is love.”

Love can take many forms. Agape (Koine Greek) Love is a love beyond, a spiritual love. Mudita (Pali) Love is sympathetic joyous love, a love for others and a higher level of empathy. We call into action The Spirit of Expectancy.

In a deep way, we love when we expect the world to get better. We expect love to triumph. That we can help individuals experiencing poverty, that we can build bridges between those who are excluded by means of White Supremacy and Racism and those benefiting from it. This Spirit is the hope that we ignite by doing the uncomfortable things by looking both inward at ourselves and our psyches, and looking outward at the stumbling blocks in front of our siblings.

We love when we listen to one another. There are so many ways to do this. We expect love to triumph politically, by helping one another vote: helping our neighbors register, offering rides to the polls, volunteering at polling stations, etc. We manifest the spirit of expectancy socially, when we are there for one another, listening to hear, imbuing empathy and chipping in to help.

The Spirit of Expectancy manifests when I don’t have to explain what “Love is Love” means. The Spirit of Expectancy is invoking and evoking the Beloved Community… not just checking privilege, but wielding it, within the intersectionality to speak and to hear the pain and joy happening, to tell the stories of hope and love.

Paul Massari said, “Love means that we are called to nurture health in one another…to nurture community with one another, to nurture the wholeness and vitality of every person, and to lift one another up. It can’t be reconciled with putting children in cages, with erasing transgender people, with racism, or with poverty. It means we are connected with one another. In this way, God is a powerful form of love.”

Let us work together to democratize our community as an embodiment of Love.

May it be so and Amen.
— Rev. Will

Message From The Minister


Winter can be hard: The pounding winds, the cold weather, the accessibility inhibited, the extra money burnt up as heat. Winter can make us feel alone and isolated, making us long for warmer days, for old friends, for old times, or safe times. From the Buddhist traditions, we can cultivate a sense of renunciation. Buddhist nun, Rev. Pema Chödrön, says that this means to realize

“our nostalgia for wanting to stay in a protected, limited, petty world is insane…Once you begin to get the feeling of how big the world is and how vast our potential for experiencing life is, then you really begin to understand renunciation. When we sit in meditation, we feel our breath as it goes out, and we have some sense of willingness just to be open to the present moment. Then our minds wander off into all kinds of stories and fabrications and manufactured realities, and we say to ourselves, ’It’s thinking.’ We say that with a lot of gentleness and a lot of precision. Every time we are willing to let the story line go, and every time we are willing to let go at the end of the out breath, that’s fundamental renunciation: learning how to let go of holding on and holding back.”

In the spring, the trees will flow with sap, but if we allow ourselves to stay frozen, like the trees now, like some of us feel, then we’ll remain in this frozen state, like a dam ready to burst. But if we remember to have right-intentions, to cultivate presence with one another, to see the joyous things around us, then we can let go and experience a type of freedom, a type of Love.

We look at February in many ways: as a time for romance, as a time for Justice, as a time for cold and winter. In each of these let us love more deeply than yesterday.

On Love ~ Thomas à Kempis

Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good. Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth. It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable. Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing wider, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God. Love flies, runs and leaps for joy. It is free and unrestrained. Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds. Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil, attempts things beyond its strength. Love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things. It is strange and effective, while those who lack love faint and fail. Love is not fickle and sentimental,
nor is it intent on vanities. Like a living flame and a burning torch, it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.

Rev. Will

Message From The Minister


January brings a new year and many challenges. We have a dialectic—hope and fear. We are hopeful, yet we know situations are coming that challenge us to advocate for those without a voice—ending genocides around the world, bringing reconciliation to rivalries, extending rights to more and more people, and comforting those experiencing a loss. Let us ring in the New Year, by sharing our church and community as a safe place; for those who are weary we are sanctuary, for those without a voice we are sanctuary, for those in need we are sanctuary.

All Souls is needing to build a team to celebrate our bicentennial in 2022, as well as members to serve on our justice teams.

There are a great number of initiatives seeking ‘feet on the ground.’ The UUJO is advocating local Ohio issues. The UUA is putting out the “UU the Vote” for advocating democratic response to the issues of the next election.

The #LoveResists campaign continues to work against hatred-fueled policy.

Let 2020 see justice clearly and beloved community abound.

— Rev. Will

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.