No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here at University Congregational United Church of Christ. Young, old, sure of your path, or still searching --- we invite you to join us in imagining love and justice - as Jesus did - in acting to change the world.

We would love to welcome you at our in-person service each Sunday at 10 am. A digital service is also offered on line on Sunday evening at 5 pm. Our service is streamed on YouTube and Facebook. You will find the links just below this section on our home page. The weekly 5 pm service is  available on line after it is initially presented on Sundays..

We strive to walk in the path of Jesus, and to offer an authentic welcome to everyone who walks through our door or joins us online. If you are new to us, we would love to get to know you and answer your questions about our church, even if we cannot greet you in person. A member of our Welcome Committee, or a pastor, would be happy to correspond on email or talk with you on the phone. Click here to arrange for a meeting.

Our in-person worship service starts at 10 am and includes hymns, prayers, scripture reading and a sermon. It usually lasts about an hour and fifteen minute.. During the 10 am service we also offer live-streaming to a nearby room that offers those with compromised immune systems to be more isolated. We also offer a separate space for children, with supervised play and crafts during the 10 am service. Sections of the 10 am service are programed into the 5 pm digital service, which is offered as a "vespers."

Children are an important part of our community, and are welcome for all or part or the service.

UCUCC Parking Map

View for detailed Google Map.

Parking can be a challenge in the University District! Persistence, patience and an early start are keys to success.

UW has free parking on Sundays. Enter the main campus gate at NE 45th and 17th Ave NE and turn left past the toll booth. It's about a three-block walk to the church. The UW Meany Garage at 15th Ave. NE and NE 41st St. is a five-block walk.

The church also owns three parking lots - Lot A is across the street from the church on 16th Ave. E. Lot B is beneath Sortun Court, just north of the church on the east side of 16th Ave. E. (It closes at 2 p.m.) Lot C (for those with difficulty walking, young children and visitors) is at the corner of 15th NE and NE 45th St., next to the church.

If you need to be assured of a close parking spot, you can call the church office before noon on Friday to reserve one: 206-524-2322.

From time time we host lunches for people who are interested in learning more about our church and/or possibly becoming a member.  We are also happy to meet with you over coffee or at the church to explore and explain a range of topics about our church, from history, to theology, to membership. Click here to arrange a meeting with a Welcome Committee Volunteer or pastor or to set up a meeting and/or to learn when the next Welcome Lunch is planned.

Thank you for your interest in our church community.

We are an inter-generational church and strive to be family-friendly, with an active ministry for children and youth. All ages are welcome in worship. We also offer nursery and child-care, Younger children begin the 10 am service with us and usually leave after about 15 minutes. Older children have the option of leaving for a special sermon time. Junior high and high school youth meet at 9 am and then often sit together in worship. Give us a call at 206-524-2322 for more specifics or email Margaret Swanson, our Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries..

Our programs for children and youth continue during this pandemic. Sign up at the bottom of the home page to receive our Children's Ministries and/or Youth Ministries newsletter.

Hearing Impaired: Our sanctuary has an induction loop system that uses the T-Coil mode of your hearing aids. You can get the necessary equipment just before entering the Sanctuary on the right or ask any usher.

Visually Impaired: We offer each Sunday's program in large print for easier readability.

Wheelchair Access: The front entry is wheelchair accessible as are the rest rooms. Please don't hesitate to ask for assistance.

 

Last week I talked to a friend who just had a brain tumor removed. She is the first person I know personally to have brain surgery. All my other encounters have been professional. I was excited to tell her this.

“I’m glad I could be that for you,” she said. She hasn’t lost her sense of humor. She certainly has had to hang on to it since she’s been dealing with ovarian cancer for four years now. And even though her doctors told her the tumor was probably benign, brain surgery is a big deal.

There is a pithy maxim in neurosurgery, “You ain’t never the same when the air hits your brain.” This refers to an intangible change that a doctor can’t chart or measure in any way. So I couldn’t help asking her, “How do you feel now?”

“The pain from the incision is well-controlled but—I feel weird. I don’t feel like myself.”

She paused and said, “I want my old self back.”

Then we both sighed deep and long because we both knew, the old self is gone, gone, gone—but not forgotten.

All of us have lost selves over the years. How many selves depends on our age and which self we’re talking about.  

There’s the physical self and when we’re young, we’re more than happy to embrace a new self that knows how to turn over, then crawl, then walk, then ride a bike or ski. We love having a new self that towers over a parent, a self that can lift heavy boxes or knit a sweater.

I think for most people, there is a certain stability of our physical selves between twenty and fifty. Sure, there are changes, but they are small and gradual and some just require a little attention. You can’t run six miles anymore—maybe that’s just because you’re out of shape. Do a little training and you’re good to go.

But at some point there is no going back. And before you start typing a comment that you know an 87 year old marathon runner, let me say again, MOST PEOPLE.

Different from our physical selves we have what I think of as our Soul Selves, a combo of soul, mind and spirit. I think that is the Self my friend was missing, but she couldn’t say exactly what was different.

Sometimes we are thrilled to surrender that old Soul Self; the one that was judgmental, presumptive or always a victim. Other times we mourn the loss of a Self that was naive but optimistic. In its place is someone wiser and realistic. Either way, this change is just so very hard.

WHY is this so hard? We want peace and joy, not anger and sorrow!

Let’s drag the Buddha into this. He teaches that pining for permanence gets us nowhere. (Although Pining for Permanence is great book title.) Anyway, he says that the path to peace and joy requires that we embrace change and accept that everything eventually dies. This is deep wisdom and the Buddhists get all the credit for it.

But there is this teeny-weeny verse in II Corinthians 4:18 that basically says the same thing.   “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

What is seen is TEMPORARY. I’m telling you, in all the classes and Bible studies I’ve attended, we have never paid much attention to those five words. Nothing is permanent. Everything changes. Embrace it. Or be miserable. I wish Jesus had said this. Maybe he did. “Blessed are they who embrace change, for peace and joy shall be theirs.” 

Gah! How different would the Church be if that were a tenet of Christianity? I think I’m going to faint.

Perhaps it would be easier to embrace personal change if we stopped and took note of it.  You know: say goodbye so we can properly say hello. What if we had a funeral for our former Selves?  You could do it any time, in any place. This very moment! Here is a sample service. 

Celebrating the Former Self of (fill in your name)

Well, okay, fine, my name. Debra Jarvis

Prelude

Probably the theme song from NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Greeting

Thank you, Old Self and Emerging Self for being here.

The Eulogy:

Former Self could be argumentative, but that was because she was so sure that she was right and that she had a better idea. She was right just often enough to fall into that trap of thinking she was always right. She could be quite black-and-white and it was hard for her to see shades of grey. However she was always enthusiastic, creative, curious and daring; qualities which her Emerging Self will bring along. Former Self could do a handstand with ease, wear size 4 jeans, and run ten miles. Emerging Self will be letting these things go.

Solo:

“Graceland” and “Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes,” by Paul Simon   Performed in my head.

Poem:

Twinkle was the name of a cow,

She tried to jump over the moon.

But instead, she fell on her head

And managed to shed her cocoon.

Prayer

Creator Spirit, thank you for who I was and who I am becoming. Forgive me for occasionally regressing to my kindergarten self and since you are omnipresent there is no need for me to dredge up that horrible scene where I said, “STOP TALKING!” and then walked away from her sorry, jabbering mouth. Teach me about forgiveness and letting go. Please give me vision and courage and grace to grow into the new Self you are creating in me. Amen

Benediction*

May God give me the grace never to mind being short;

Grace to dis someone big, for someone good; and

Grace to remember sticks hurled are now

too dangerous for anything but the roof, and

too small for anything but a glove.  

Please join yourself for a reception that will probably be in your kitchen.

Yes, a reception, a party—for your new Self! Why not?  Maybe chocolate chip cookies with extra chips! French roast coffee with half-and-half. Reese’s peanut butter cups! Okay, sorry, that’s what I would choose. You do you.

After you release your Old Self,  you can say, “Hello,” to the new Self and the new journey that awaits you. There is still so much joy ahead. Look at what you CAN do, let go of what you can’t. Of course there will be moments of grief. Welcome them, make space for them and then you can move on.

If we don’t embrace change, we will suffer. Because as we know: “Resistance is futile.”**

 

 

 

*May God give you the grace never to sell yourself short;
Grace to risk something big for something good; and
Grace to remember the world is now
too dangerous for anything but the truth and
too small for anything but love.

Willian Sloane Coffin

** a phrase uttered by the Borg in the film  Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

 

 

Photo: Steve Greer

Copyright: © Steve Greer Photography