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 – and acting to change the world.

Right now, during the pandemic, we are still united as church. Our service is streamed on YouTube and Facebook. You will find the links just below this section on our home page. New services are offered weekly at 10 am on Sundays, and are available on line after that.

We strive to walk in the path of Jesus, and to offer an authentic welcome to everyone who walks through our door. If you are new to us, we would love to get to know you and answer your questions about our church, even though 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 worship service starts at 10 am and includes hymns, prayers, scripture reading and a sermon. It usually lasts about an hour. Right now we are worshiping online and will adjust this message once we are able to meet together in our sanctuary once again.  More information here.

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.

During this pandemic, we have discontinued our in-person lunches. We would love to meet with you via email or phone, however. Click here to arrange a meeting with a Welcome Committee Volunteer or pastor.

We can explore and explain a range of topics about our church, from history, to theology, to membership. Please contact us at the link above for more information.

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 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.

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.

It is that time again. Nativity sets and crèches are being brought out from closets, attics, or wherever else they have been stored for eleven months. They have been waiting for Advent, which is itself a season of waiting for Christmas.

I keep my crèches in my downstairs closet, where they are handy for set up. I have a variety of sets, from plastic ones that children can play with, to a lovely porcelain one I keep up higher where children can gaze but can’t reach. In my house of course the issue isn’t children, it’s dogs. They love all the decorations that comes out this time of year, as well as the tree which comes in. I have know idea what they think of it all but they are very curious. And they do like carrying around the crèche figures, and finding some private corner to chew on them.

All of which brings me to the phrase “a dog in the manger.” Its an old expression and not used very often these days so maybe some of you haven’t heard it before. But I don’t need to hear people say it “out there” because the phrase just lives in my head. I remember many years ago at a staff Christmas party at Don Mackenzie’s house. Don is a former minister of our church and when I began serving here too the tradition was already established that Don and his wife Judy would invite everyone to their place on a Saturday before Christmas. The house was always beautifully decorated, with a tree and lights and a lovely crèche that was always on display. We would all share a potluck meal and enjoy a light-hearted gift exchange. I still have the Santa Claus toilet seat cover I got there my first Christmas In Seattle. So you get what level of “light hearted” I’m talking about.

As the years went by, we developed two traditions around that gathering. One was to choose one of the particularly “interesting” gifts we had received at the party to leave behind, hidden so Don or Judy would find it at some random future time. It was always fun and tricky to choose just the right gift and find just the right time to hide it.

The other tradition was to add some random animal to the crèche.

So it came to pass that one Christmas, thinking of that phrase “dog in the manger” I brought a little border collie statue to leave behind. As I recall (whether or not it happened that way), I actually moved the baby Jesus aside and put the dog in the manger. Yes, I do have a “just on the edge of sacrilegious” streak. As I also recall Don spotted the change before the party was over and quickly returned Jesus to his rightful place. The little plastic border collie was reassigned to sheep management, which suited her just fine. In my imagination the statue of Mary breathed a sigh of relief.

It was not until a few years ago that I got curious about what the phrase “dog in a manger” really means. Although it was coming up regularly in my head, I didn’t know how to use the phrase in a sentence. It turns out that dogs in mangers have nothing to do with nativity scenes. The phrase is actually based on an old Greek fable that was written down by Diogenianus just a few decades after the New Testament stories were recorded. Basically, the story is that a dog hopped into the manger where a horse’s grain was. And although the dog, being a carnivore, had no use for the grain, he nevertheless stayed in the manger, preventing the horse from getting dinner as well. It eventually became a part of Aesop’s Fables, where the horse becomes an ox and the dog becomes envious, representing people who can’t use something but won’t let others have it either. Yes, I’ve met people like that. I’ve even noticed that shadow in myself.

Of course it fascinates me to put these images together. My original image of a child born in a stable, cradled in a manger, while he and his family are comforted by a welcoming dog reminds me of the way all sorts of friendly beasts occupy our lives, grounding us and connecting us with all creation. And the other story of a dog guarding for herself what she cannot use, refusing to let the hungry cow near the grain the cow needs, reminds me of Mary’s song about the meaning of this birth: that God has brought down the powerful and lifted up the lowly; has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.

Yes, I will keep imagining dogs in mangers. Not only is it a habit with me now, but I like the way it points me to both the tenderness and the prophetic message of this season. May you also know the connection and the call of this Advent time.