If I lived in Miami, I’d probably go to church here

All Souls Miami


They’re on to something:

Visitors might note that traditionally the name “All Souls” has applied mostly to Unitarian churches or churches of dissent. While we may be “spiritual cousins” of Christian Unitarians and other liberal churches in liberal denominations, and while we remain appreciative of denominational families, All Souls Miami remains independent and unaffiliated.

The worship has a traditional form. They also meet in rented space, about twice a month. The minister, Kenneth Claus, is experienced with seminary training (Union) and a tentmaker. Interesting.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Interesting about the rented space. I recently interviewed a young pastor of a fast-growing church that meets in a movie theater. Unlike All Souls, its theology is conservative Christian, using a highly contemporary worship style/aesthetic (“The band is loud,” its website says). It’s of a size that probably could support a building. But the pastor says it’s his strong preference to avoid owning a building because he believes it would interfere with the dynamism of the church as it is now, which seems to overlap considerably with the rationale All Souls Miami offers for not acquiring a building.

  2. I think that mature churches tend to underestimate the sunk costs of a building, or even let managing or using the building dictate the mission of the church. That’s tail wagging the dog.

    Compared to that, renting — even space that looks expensive on an hourly or daily basis — is a bargain.

  3. I have no idea how this escaped my notice! It’s not far from the Miami church. I can see how it’s not the same at all as our very liberal Miami congregation. It would be an oddity I think to find a “Christian Unitarian” church in Florida (despite the fact that most of our South Florida ministers lean just that way.)

    I’m not sure I appreciate the precedent of Preachers working for free. It seems like a terrible idea to folks on the not started side of a very expensive Seminary training.

    I agree that buildings can be a mixed blessing. Periodically I suggest we sell the building and buy something more appropriately sized to who we are. No one ever listens to my ravings. I’m clearly out of my mind. I just think we should have the option available to us. It should never be ruled out. It’s more important for the organization to stand than the properly and the building. I’d rather have a staff than a building. Perhaps I am biased!


  4. Ministers working for free is hardly a new thing; in some denominations it is the norm. For those who do pay their minsters,while it’s a bad situation for established churches — finding a new unwaged minister is a trick — it is very often the only way a new church can get started, especially if there’s no external support. (Given Unitarian Universalist habits in church planting, we should expect some of the same.) In time, he should draw a salary or the church should establish a reserve account for compensating at least a part-time minister. It can be gradual.

  5. At first blush, All Souls Miami is more appealing to me than any church I’ve seen in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in the last 32 years.

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