Operations Handbook

This handbook was produced in response to requests by All Souls Church lay leaders of our many committees, groups and activities (hereafter, “committee”). It is designed to help committees and lay leaders efficiently operate at the church and carry out their various responsibilities, working in shared ministry with staff members, other committees and lay leaders. It includes basic information on how to operate at All Souls – for example, how to reserve a room for a meeting and how to get office assistance with copying and mailing and the various and best ways to communicate within the church. We hope you find this Handbook useful in your church work.

Throughout the Handbook there are links to helpful church documents, other web sites, and All Souls staff and lay leader contact information. Many of the documents referenced are also available on the church’s web site: www.all-souls.org.

If you have any questions about the content or suggestions for future editions, please submit them in writing to the Church Council Steering Committee Chair, Erika Landberg (erika.landberg@gmail.com) or to the Executive Director, Katie Loughary (kloughary@allsouls.ws).

This Handbook was produced as a collaborative project and in the spirit of shared ministry by the Church Council Steering Committee working with Church Staff members, as we all work together to build the beloved community at All Souls Church. Contents include:

  1. Church Operations
  2. Committee/Activity/Group Operations
  3. Committee/Activity/Group Guidelines and Resources
  4. Communications
  5. Emergency Procedures
  6. Conclusion

2012 Church Council Steering Committee

Brenda Barbour
Victor Branham
Jen Bruneau
Wendy Carter
Carrie Davidson
Pablo de Jesus
Carolynn Fowler-Smith
Goldia Hodgdon
Karen King
Erika Landberg
Laurie Lester
Claudia Liebler
Christina Lohs
Nina Marshall
Amy Mulry Wesolek, Staff
Cathy Rion Starr, Staff

December 2012               




The Church Year runs from Homecoming Sunday, generally the first Sunday after Labor Day, through the third Sunday in June. All Souls Fiscal Year conforms to the calendar year, January through December.


During the Church Year (September to June) the Administrative Office is open from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Thursday; 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays; and 9 am to 3pm on Sundays. It is closed on Federal and local holidays and the week between Christmas and New Years. Office hours change during the summer months.


The primary governance documents for the church as a whole are the ASC Bylaws and the Policy Governance Framework. They are accessible on the church’s web site, as is a current organizational chart.

  • Board of Trustees: As per the Bylaws, “Supervision and direction of the affairs of the Church shall be vested in a board of nine directors…with a particular focus on policy development and oversight.” Trustees serve three-year terms, staggered so that three new trustees are elected each year by the congregation.
  • Church Officers: The Church has six officers, who are elected annually by the congregation: Moderator, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Membership Secretary, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer. See the Bylaws for job descriptions
  • Executive Team (ET): As per the Policy Governance Framework, the ET is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the church and for guiding the Staff and volunteers. It is currently made up of the Senior Minister (who acts as Chief of Staff), the Associate Minister and the Executive Director.
  • Church Council: As per the Bylaws, it is composed of lay leaders and officers of the church, who shall “share information, coordinate programs, broaden lay leadership, and advise the Executive Team and the Board of Trustees. The Council is responsible for nominating candidates for the church’s Nominating Committee.
  • Committees: Each committee, activity or group is responsible for developing its own mission statement or terms of reference. Committees should have a terms of reference document and submit it to the Church Council. The Ad Hoc Government Review team developed a useful template in 2010.
  • Congregational Meetings: The church’s Annual Meeting is held on the first Sunday in December. Items of business include member voting on the church budget, the trustees and officers, members of the Nominating Committee, and any proposed Bylaw changes or new initiatives. During the year, additional Congregational Meetings may be called on special items of business as needed.


The main number with voice mail and staff directory is 202-332-5266; the fax number is 202-332-8968; the church email address is info@allsouls.ws; the web address is www.All-souls.org.


The Board of Trustees appointed an Ad Hoc Conflict Resolution Committee in 2012; completion, approval and distribution is expected in 2013.




Each fall All Souls develops the church’s operating budget for the next fiscal calendar year. As part of this process, in late summer the Executive Director sends out a form to all committees to use to submit their own budget requests during the month of September. These are generally committee and fundraising budgets. If in doubt check in with the Executive Director or Program Staff person associated with the expense.


The copier is located in the Volunteer Office, adjacent to the main office. Ask the receptionist for help with use of the machine.


AV or Audio Support: Please identify your need for AV equipment and Audio support when you submit your room reservation form. The staff will set up the equipment for your use. Audio equipment is only made available for church functions.

Building Access and Security: On Sundays the church may be accessed from the 16th or Harvard Street doors. During the week building access is monitored by the front desk at the Harvard Street entrance. A staff member must be onsite when the building is being used by congregants or renters to ensure appropriate security. Keys and pass codes are available only to staff.

Cash Handling Policy: Prior to any Church event or activity that generates money, the committee treasurer or other designated person must contact the Executive Director to discuss money-handling procedures for the event or activity to ensure that money is handled responsibly and safely.

Fundraiser Guidelines: All fundraisers – large or small – must be for the benefit of the church, require prior approval by the Board and/or Executive Team and should be included in the annual budget. Please provide a copy of your event budget to the Executive Director.

Kitchen Use: The kitchen may be used for church events. It should be reserved through the regular space use process (see Space Use). There are instructions in the kitchen for how to use the dishwasher and for where things go. Groups using the kitchen are responsible for setup and cleanup.


Tables are set up each week on a first come first serve basis. Advance notice should be provided to church staff when groups have a special set up requirement.


The ASC Archives collects information about church activity throughout the calendar year. While the Council will submit the leadership list, Council meeting materials and any information requested from committee leadership and submitted to the Council, committee leaders should provide things like the following to the Archives: committee rosters, meeting minutes, photos, programs, fliers, curricula, etc. Submit by email (if in electronic form) or in hard copy to Molly Freeman, mollyfreeperson@aol.com, or place in the Archives mailbox in the Volunteer office.


Use the form located on the door of the main office or on the web site, and submit it to Executive Director Katie Loughary (kloughary@allsouls.ws).


To reserve a room for a meeting or event, please contact Communications director Gary Penn (gpenn@allsouls.ws). The spaces fill up quickly, especially on Sundays, so please reserve rooms well ahead of time. You can reserve space in several ways:

Fill out the paper form which is available at the front desk or by PDF download from the church’s website, and leave it in Gary’s box.

Fill out the online form, which you can also find on the church’s website; when you submit the form, it will automatically send an email to Gary.

Email Gary directly (gpenn@allsouls.ws) and include (a) your contact information, (b) the name of your event, (c) the date and time, (d) your preferred room, (e) the number of people you expect to attend, (f) additional resources (such as flip chart easels, etc.) you’ll need, (g) special set-up instructions (such as seating arrangements) if any, and (h) any other information you think Gary might need.

Sunday meetings/events are best scheduled during one service or the other (which allows attendees to get to the other service) or after the second service (no earlier than 1:00 pm, to allow folks time to socialize in Pierce Hall, helping to create a welcoming culture, before running off to meetings). Short meetings can also be scheduled between the two services.


Staff mail boxes are located in the main office; mail boxes for Trustees, Officers, Committees and Task Forces are located in the Volunteer Office.


The office is located adjacent to the main office, and has some basic supplies, a computer, copier and phone for the use of church groups.




The Church Council strives to aid church groups and their leaders in their work. Plans include workshop sessions on how to run effective committee meetings and getting things done at the church; new resources for improving our volunteer ministries; and leader development sessions. While some of these are stand alone events, these issues also are addressed through collective work at Council meetings.


The Joseph Priestley District (JPD) provides opportunities to connect and network with other UU churches, including workshops and leadership training events on subjects such as effective meetings, church growth, the church canvass, religious education, and membership. Check out the information provided on the district and national websites: www.JPD.org and www.UUA.org.


These are sponsored by the Council on two Sundays a year, in January and September. All church groups are invited to set up information tables in Pierce Hall, using this opportunity to both spread the word about what the group does but also to recruit new members.


As Article XI, Section 1 of the Bylaws notes, church members and friends are encouraged to participate in Church organizations and activities, and may form organizations for social, educational, spiritual, or advocacy purposes. Sections 2 and 3 have additional guidelines for church organizations and activities, including that such groups should be consistent with the policies and operating guidelines of the Church, and further its Mission and Visioning Goals.


The Council and Nominating Committee are pursuing ways to support and develop church leadership, including exploring how to improve succession planning, and in general compiling information on future lay leadership needs in the church. It is important that church groups keep the Council and Nominating Committee informed about leadership succession plans and/or needs. The Bylaws state that each committee shall elect its presiding officer annually from among its members and constitute and elect such other officers as may be required.” (Article X, Section 7). Committee chairs must be members of the church.


The bylaws state that “Committee members shall be expected to serve for a team of three years”. (Article X, Section 4)


Church committees, groups and activities should have a mission statement and/or Terms of Reference, and submit them to the Church Council. For guidance in developing a Terms of Reference, see the useful template developed by the Ad Hoc Government Review Team.


Most committees/activities/groups of the church have a staff liaison. Staff liaisons’ roles will vary depending on the committee’s function and relationship to the staff liaison’s primary responsibilities. The roles could range from keeping staff informed to partnering on implementing the work of the committee


There are several options for recruiting volunteers. Some are generic and are church-wide calls for congregants to get involved, e.g. the semi-annual Find Your Ministry Fairs. Other are specific outreach efforts, that can include announcements in the church bulletin inviting persons to help with your next event or project, posting information on the church website, or hosting a list-serve to keep interested persons informed about potential volunteer opportunities. A Volunteer Ministry sub-committee of the Council Steering Committee is presently working on improving how we recruit and involve more congregants as volunteers.


Committees are encouraged to recognize their volunteers after any significant event but at least on an annual basis. You can do this any number of ways, including but not limited to writing thank-you notes signed by the chair and/or the groups’ staff liaison, hosting a reception after church, or putting an announcement on the website or in one of the church publications.




Announcements of meetings, events, volunteer opportunities, etc., are placed in All Souls’ weekly publications. The electronic version, informally called The Happenings, is sent out by Thursday. The paper version, called The Weekly, is distributed on Sundays along with the order of service. The deadline for submitting announcements for both is Wednesday at 12:00 noon. Submit your announcement by email directly to Communications Director, Gary Penn (gpenn@allsouls.ws). Please use the following format.

The subject line of your email should give it a unique identifier, such as “Upcoming Green Souls meeting” or “Church Council seeks volunteers.” Avoid generic subject lines such as “Announcement for Weekly” or “Volunteer opportunity.”

Be sure to include the date, time, place, and cost (if any) of the meeting/event, and include contact information for people who have questions. If there’s a relevant URL with more information, please include that as well.

Limit your announcement to 50 words. You may include a longer version, but please have one version that fits that limit.

Avoid exclamation points!

If the announcement is about a meeting/event with a specific date, it will run through the weekend of or prior to that date. If the announcement is not time-sensitive, it will run 4 times; you may renew it by sending a new email. If the event is not All Souls-related, the announcement must be approved by one of the program staff : Social Justice Coordinator, Cathy Rion Starr (crstarr@allsouls.ws) for social justice; Associate Minister Susan Newman, (snewman@allsouls.ws) for all other types of events.


There are bulletin boards for Trustee and Officer pictures, and staff pictures. Additional bulletin boards focus on social justice initiatives and other areas of congregation interest. If you have a need for a bulletin board, contact the Office and Database Manager, Laura Marshall (lmarshall@allsouls.ws).


There are several on-line free resources for communicating with your committee/activity/group. Google and Yahoo offer similar public use software along with many other companies. For additional information about each of the following, go to their individual websites.

  • For scheduling meetings – doodle.com
  • For conducting a survey – surveymonkey.com
  • For scheduling volunteers in multiple time periods – create a google doc spreadsheet and share the link so people may go there to sign up.
  • For audio conferencing – SKYPE offers free audio conferencing for up to 25 people
  • For video conferencing – you can now invite up to 10 people to video chat in a group using google talk. Participants have to have a web-cam on their computer to use this.


It is the responsibility of the committee chair to send updated contact and office designation information (i.e. Chair, Secretary, etc.) for all committees to the Office and Database Manager, Laura Marshall (lmarshall@allsouls.ws), so that church leadership lists are up to date. After the updated information is submitted the committee person or persons who hold offices are switched to a “Lay Leader” membership status in the Access Database that gives them a wider security access use to support their work. When leaving office these database statuses will be returned to their previous “Member” state/s.


The monthly publication, The Spirit of All Souls, accepts announcements, but only if they have church-wide relevance. The deadline is the third Friday of the preceding month. Please send announcement by email to Gary Penn (gpenn@allsouls.ws).


The church’s website is a work in progress. If you would like a page dedicated to your group, if you would like a church-related announcement to appear on the homepage, or if you have any other requests/comments regarding the site, contact Gary Penn (gpenn@allsouls.ws).




First Aid kits are available in the front office, kitchen and Religious Education classrooms. A defibulator is posted in hallway outside of the Associate Minister’s office and across from the north door into the sanctuary.


Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors are hung throughout the building. If a fire alarm goes off you should leave the building as quickly as possible. Our central security office and the fire department are notified whenever a fire sensor or alarm is set off.


Please report any incidents or accidents that you may observe. This is very important in preventing a similar accident in the future, for making insurance claims, or in the worst case, we could need documentation in case of a law suit. Please leave a detailed note for Executive Director Katie Loughary, kloughary@allsouls.ws. including your name and contact information.



Thank you to the many persons who helped create this Handbook, including members of the Church Council Steering Committee, special review team Carrie Davidson and Ron Swanda, and All Souls Staff members Katie Loughary, Laura Marshall, Amy Mulry Wesolek and Gary Penn. Special thanks to Communications Director Gary Penn for creating the online version.

The All Souls Operations Handbook should be seen as a living document – to be improved and updated whenever needed and over time. Please submit any suggestions for changes to the Church Council Steering Committee Chair, Erika Landberg (erika.landberg@gmail.com) , or to the Executive Director, Katie Loughary (kloughary@allsouls.ws).