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.

Right now, during the pandemic, we are still united as church. You are welcome to attend our in-person service at 10 am each Sunday. 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. Weekly services are are available on line after they are 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 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 in-person worship service starts at 10 am and includes hymns, prayers, scripture reading and a sermon. It usually lasts about an hour. 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.

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 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.

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.

I love dogs and I’ve always felt that the Holy Spirit is like a good border collie. Border collie experts say that a good herding dog has a way of moving sheep that is not traumatic for the sheep. They may nudge, or bark but they ought never bite. Sometimes just the mere presence of the dog, will cause the sheep to change direction. Sometimes we feel a nudge or an inexplicable change in the direction of our lives. When we look back we may be able to see that it was Holy Spirit herding us into a new direction.

This happened to me when I was 25 years old and working as an EKG tech in a Berkeley hospital. That is when I met Kelly Meagher (pronounced “mayor.”) There was a STAT page to the ER, Code III (possible death). Usually my boss took STAT pages, but he was busy so I said I’d go do it. Probably another heart attack.

In the past, I’d always stop at the nurses station and ask, “Which room for the EKG?”  But this time I didn’t because I heard screaming and smelled burned flesh the moment I walked in. I pushed my way into room #5  to see a guy, just a couple years older than me, with hands that looked like charcoal briquets. The skin on his chest and thighs looked like an overdone turkey.    

He was in horrible pain, writhing and swearing. (Years later in a newspaper story he would say, “I felt no pain,” but I’m here to tell you different.) Nurses were trying to start I.V.’s, a doc was yelling, “Let’s get started on that EKG!” The thing was, that I had to attach electrodes to his wrists which were briquets. I had to find another place higher up on his arm. And where to put the chest leads?

It turned out that he was a house painter taking down the scaffolding, when a part of it started to fall. He grabbed for it because he was afraid it would hurt someone down below. The piece of scaffolding hit a live power line and he was electrocuted. The power company had not complied with his request to shut off the electricity. The surgeons ended up cutting off his hands.

Now here is where the Holy Spirit comes in. The next day, I felt compelled to see him. Why? I was an EKG tech—not a chaplain. But it was if I couldn’t stop myself. At first the Burn Unit staff was completely confused when I showed up. No one ordered an EKG! But then I explained that I just wanted to visit him. They were okay with me visiting that day and every day for the next three months.

I was deep into my evangelical Christianity at that point and wondered if I could “witness” to him and then he would be “saved.” But somehow I couldn’t quite make myself do it. Instead we talked about music, watched the TV show M*A*S*H, and made plans for all the things we were going to do when he was discharged. He was funny and smart and brave.

And then he was discharged to his brother’s home in San Diego to get stronger. I couldn’t wait until he came back to Berkeley. And he did! And I went to his house and we took his Golden Retriever Easy for a walk in the Berkeley Hills. We were outside together—such joy!

And then there was silence.

He didn’t return my phone calls. I sent him funny postcards. Once I went and knocked on his door. No answer–nothing. I watched M*A*S*H reruns alone. 

A year later I was at the DMV renewing my drivers license. I looked around and there he was, standing in line to get a state identification card, his prosthetic hooks sticking out of the sleeves of his flannel shirt. I walked over and cleared my throat. He turned around and for a moment, neither of us moved. Then he held out his arms and carefully hugged me.

“Let’s go have coffee,” said. We went next door where he ordered coffee (with a straw). I didn’t even have to ask. “I want you to understand,” he said. “I couldn’t stay friends with you and the nurses at the hospital. I had to move on. I had to make a real life.” Of course I understood, but I was really glad that I didn’t order any food because I had a huge lump in my throat. Just a few months after that he left the Bay Area.

A few years later I interviewed for a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. I decided to do just one quarter on a “whim.” (The Holy Spirit!)  CPE is a requirement for seminarians. The supervisors were confused. I wasn’t in seminary, so why was I applying to this program? “What makes you think you would like being a hospital chaplain?” they asked. I told them about Kelly. They nodded and exchanged glances. Later that week I got in.

So, I grew up to be a hospital chaplain and years went by. In 2013 on a “whim,” (you-know-who)  I tracked him down, wrote him a letter and sent him a copy of my first book in which he appears. I gave him all my contact info. No response.  Then, a couple weeks ago on another “whim” I Googled him.

It turns out Kelly died last year on Thanksgiving Day. I looked back in my Morning Pages from last November to see if perhaps I felt something: a  funny feeling, a sense of doom or a sudden sadness. But there was no odd twinge of grief or despair. There was just lots of talk about sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, green beans and deep-fried turkey. And in the midst of all that Kelly died. How could I not have known? You’d think the Holy Spirit would have prodded me to reach out to him.

As the year is drawing to a close I am so grateful for the whims I have followed. They have ultimately led me to my greatest joy. I hope we all can recognize the sneeze, the snort, the wet-nose nudge of the Holy Spirit. Where is it leading us?

All photos by Rev. Catherine Foote