The foundational vision of All Souls Parish was well stated in a sermon by the first Rector of All Souls in 1913 when the "Little Memorial Church" was built and All Souls officially became a parish of the Diocese of Washington:
"This is to be neither a broad church nor a narrow church, neither a high church nor a low church, but a church of All Souls."
The first service was held on Sunday morning, March 5, 1911, at in the home of Mrs. Caroline Arledge on Garfield Street with 15 men and women present. During the course of the following summer, the lot of our present site was purchased and a portable chapel was ordered. On Sunday morning, October 15, its door was flung wide open as a sign and symbol that, though small in body, its spirit was big enough to embrace one and all.
These inclusive words were remarkable in their time and as the legacy of All Souls they continue to define our parish life even today.
All Souls began to take form in 1911 when the only developed area around the present site consisted of one block of Garfield Street, two blocks of Twenty-seventh Street and one side of Cathedral Avenue just east and west of Connecticut Avenue. This location constituted a definite, snug and compact community, and provided Dr. James MacBride Sterrett with a vision of fostering a neighborly spirit and serving this area as a pastor and friend. Geographically, the district belonged to St. Alban's Parish, but consent was given for All Souls to be an independent mission.
In May of 1913 The Diocesan Convention created a new parish to be carved out of St. Alban's assigned territory to be called, "All Souls Parish." What was then known as "The Little Memorial Church" was built, having a seating capacity of 230. In October of the same year, the church was consecrated and named, "AllSoulsMemorialChurch." Built as a memorial to the founder's son, James MacBride Sterrett, Jr., who had died at the age of 17, the little church soon became a shrine for many memorials - stained glass windows, chancel furnishings, belfry chimes and an organ.
As the neighborhood grew so did the parish, and in 1923 work began on the present church, which was an enlargement of the 1914 building. The original little church constitutes the crossing of our present building. By the spring of 1945, the mortgage indebtedness on the church was paid in full.