Why All Souls?

Wondering why we call ourselves All Souls? Or why we’re “the souls” of All Souls? Learn more here.

Tell me more about your building.

We love our little building on Jewell Road on the west side of Wheaton. It was a Baptist church once upon a time, but the Souls have invested time, energy, and artistic talent to make it our home.

What’s up + what’s down?

When you enter the building, you encounter stairs up and stairs down. In general, the main worship space (the Nave) is up and children’s programming is down. Bathrooms are also down, as well as the kitchen. Our undercroft (fancy word for basement) is multi-use space. On Sundays, it’s Children’s Worship space, and then coffee hour. On weekdays, meetings are held here, as well as other gatherings. Historically, we’ve used the undercroft for evening dinner gatherings for the whole parish on Shrove Tuesday and for a Passover Supper on Maundy Thursday.

There’s a tiny room off the narthex: what’s that?

The little room at the top of the stairs is our Choir Room. You’ll notice an electronic keyboard and lots of sheet music. Our choir practices here before each service. During the service, however, parents are welcome to use the space with their babies. There’s usually a rocking chair in there for feeding tiny souls. The audio from the service can be heard, and you can open or close the blinds if you want to participate in the service visually.

Is there a baptistry in the nave?

Why, yes there was. Because the building was previously occupied by a Baptist church that practiced baptism by immersion, the area up front and behind the cross are where the baptistry sat. While the space is still there, we moved our organ pipes into that space many years ago. As it turns out, the space works quite well for a pipe organ. As Anglicans, we’re not opposed to immersion at all, but we usually baptize by pouring or sprinkling. You’ll notice the baptismal font in the center aisle, just as you enter the nave. When folks are baptized (babies, kids, and adults), we gather around the font for the sacrament.

The Nave: what is that?

The nave is the sanctuary — the main worship space. It’s a traditional word for sanctuary and is often how Catholics and Anglicans reference their worship room. The term comes from the Latin word navis, meaning ship — an early Christian symbol for the Church. Some also speculate that the vaulted ceilings in churches are reminiscent of an upside keel of a ship. We like the imagery of being in a boat together, traveling through life’s storms with Christ at the helm.

What’s up with the crown of thorns?

Retired art professor and plein air artist, Joel Sheesley, created the crown of thorns that hangs over the altar. He envisioned it with Martin Johnson, our former rector. The crown arrived many years ago during Lent and hasn’t left. The size of the crown reminds of Christ the King, and His presence with us in worship.

Who painted the good shepherd mural?

The back wall of the Nave used to be entirely off-white. A few years back, retired art professor and plein air artist, Joel Sheesley, painted the mural we walk through as we are dissmissed from worship. Interesting fact: the word “mass” (used in reference to the communion service in Roman Catholic and some Anglican churches) comes from the words said in Latin at the end of the service: Ite missa est. You are dismissed to your mission. You are now entering your mission field.

Why are the pews angled?

Great question. They weren’t when we moved into the building. Originally, there were two sets of front-facing pews, a center aisle, and left/right aisles. Before we moved in, our former rector designed the angled pews and artisans among us hand-crafted the communion rail. We like how the pew angles bring us together as a community for worship.