I found ASC at a time when I was just about ready to give up on church, convinced that “something is missing” feeling would never be relieved by organized religion. My daughter had a friend who visited ASC right after they moved into 4MS. She visited once with him and came home and told me she found a different kind of church she thought I would like. I gave it a try and the experience was OK but I felt invisible. Once again, I was just about to quit going and my daughter said she was moving back home from college and would be going to ASC with me. That was enough for me to give it one more try. One of the first nights she and I went together, I “collided” with a long time member in the prayer chapel. To make a long story short there was something different about that “collision” that intrigued me and made me curious enough to continue going. It helped that my daughter and her friends were also attending and ASC began to feel more like a place of connection. There was also something intriguing about the focus areas of the church including beauty, work, justice, and prayer. That seemed different enough from what I had known before to continue hanging around. That was probably around 2009 and I have been there ever since.
Fast forward to 2015 when Collaborative Communication (CC), a particular type of dialogue practice, was introduced to the church as a way to be together within the framework of consensual orthodoxy and still remain unified. As soon as I heard about it, the idea of CC awakened something in me that still has me hungry for more to this day. CC is a way of being together that honors the dignity of the other. It holds a space for people to allow their true selves to emerge. It invites the participants to be known and to know others on a level that results in a unique experience of love. Dwelling in the Word is an aspect of All Souls life in community that I have participated in for many years that dwells in scripture using dialogic exploration of how the bible impacts us at a soul level. I enjoy this practice immensely and consider it a spiritual practice. The people I have been dwelling with for years have become some of my dearest friends.
My desire to shine the light of Christ’s love through the power of dialogue inspired me to do dialogue facilitation work with the Community Building Institute and with the Knox County School System. I do this in my spare time and try to smuggle it into my day job at the University of Tennessee whenever I can.
All Souls is a church in transition. If you’re looking for a church home that is becoming reacquainted with itself and its people, ASC may be for you. The innovation, creativity, hunger to know and love Jesus better, and desire for connection among its people already exists at ASC. The emerging future may see those gifts come to a beautiful fruition.