Rob Hardies has served for 15 years as senior minister of All Souls Church Unitarian. Founded in 1821 by John Quincy Adams, All Souls is a dynamic, multicultural congregation in the heart of our nation’s capital.
Throughout his ministry, Rob has been a local and national leader for LGBT equality. In 2004 he testified at Senate and House hearings against congressional attempts to pass a so-called Federal Marriage Amendment to the United States Constitution. In 2009, he helped lead the struggle for the District of Columbia to become the sixth jurisdiction in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. DC’s mayor signed that historic civil rights legislation in the sanctuary of All Souls Church.
Before entering the ministry, Rev. Hardies served as a human rights worker among indigenous refugees in the Guatemalan jungle, where he first worked with grassroots communities rebuilding their lives after a long civil war. Later, Rev. Hardies studied with Father Gustavo Gutierrez of Peru, the leading scholar-practitioner of Liberation Theology. At All Souls, Rev. Hardies has served as a trustee of La Clinica del Pueblo, a community health care provider, and has championed All Souls’ robust English as a Second Language ministry.
Rob’s first career was with Habitat for Humanity building affordable housing. At All Souls he has continued the church’s long-time commitment to this issue by helping lead a campaign for code enforcement in low-income apartments around the church. As a leader of the Washington Interfaith Network, Hardies fought to establish DC’s Neighborhood Investment Fund, which provides millions of dollars annually for affordable housing and neighborhood investment.
After the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in its 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision, Rev. Hardies launched the Reeb Voting Rights Project in honor of All Souls former minister James Reeb, who was martyred in the 1965 voting rights struggle in Selma. Since then, All Souls has worked with many partners, including the Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP, to combat the wave of voter suppression laws in our nation.
All Souls Church has grown and thrived during Rob’s ministry. The church has been featured on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and in the 2005 book Worship that Works (Arnason and Rolenz). In 2005 the Unitarian Universalist Association recognized All Souls as a “Breakthrough Congregation,” and in 2014 Washington’s City Paper named All Souls DC’s “Best House of Worship” and Rev. Hardies its “Best Religious Leader.”
Rob received a bachelor’s degree with honors from Cornell University, a Masters of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry, and a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary. He is the editor of Blessing the World (Skinner House, 2006), a collection of essays by the feminist theologian Rebecca Ann Parker, and the author of a forthcoming book about the spiritual practices of Emerson and his circle of Transcendentalists (Skinner House, 2018.)
Rob lives in DC with his husband Chris Nealon, a poet and professor of English at Johns Hopkins University, and their five-year-old son Nico.