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. 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.

I left Villafranca del Bierzo alone. For a couple of days I had been walking with an American guy my age. He had already walked the Camino once and knew where all the turns were. So it was easy to walk with him because—once again—I did not have to pay attention. I’ll admit to being lazy about this.

He was very nice, very kind and very, very quiet. His silence was noisy and bothersome. I realized later it was the voice in my head screaming, “Say something!” which made his silence unbearable to me.

So when Quiet Man said he was staying behind to meet a friend, I was only too happy to go off by myself. Except for one thing: O’Cebreiro.

The Marrow of O’Cebreiro

It is the biggest climb of the Camino, a steeper and longer climb than crossing the Pyrenees. The challenge with the Pyrenees is that you have to do that on your very first day and most people just aren’t ready for it. But O’Cebreiro is simply a relentless eighteen mile ascent. In some places the path is rocky, in others it is just dirt. But it is always up.

When I worked with cancer patients who were freaking out, I often asked them, “Can you think of a time in your life that was similar to this?” They always came up with something and then I’d ask, “What got you through that?” It’s helpful to remember how you coped before because it will remind you how you can cope again.

So I asked myself this same question. When have I been in a situation that was a similar to climbing a steep mountain alone in a foreign country? I couldn’t come up with an answer.

The closest I came was running a marathon but I was running with my sister and we were surrounded by hundreds of people. Or there was receiving chemotherapy but again—lots of support. Except those sleepless nights.

You know what that’s like: even though you may be sleeping right next to someone you feel totally alone in the dark. In the dark all those scary questions come up. Am I going to die from this? What if it comes back? Oh, yeah, I remember those nights. So what helped me get through that?

On those dark lonely nights I invited Jesus to come and sit on the side of my bed and stroke my forehead. Yep, college educated liberal lefty invited Jesus to tuck me in. “Just hang around until I fall asleep,” I said. He did. And I did. Then I got up the next morning and did what needed to be done.

So this is what I did when I started up O’Cebreiro. I invited Jesus to climb with me. Then I would do what needed to be done: put one foot in front of the other. And so we went.

After a couple of hours my thighs were shrieking for mercy, begging me to stop. My mind yearned to be back on the meseta and its endless flat plains. My heart however was filled with joy. As hard as it was, the walk through the forest was luscious. I felt the vibrating energy of nature, the cool air over my skin, the smell of trees and leaves and fertile forest soil. A casserole of scents and sounds and colors.

Every now and then I caught a glimpse through the trees, got a brief glance of over what I was climbing. I saw no other Pilgrims. I snacked on nuts as I walked. I never took off my pack and sat down because I knew getting up would necessitate another Resurrection miracle.

When Two Wounds Meet

Then there was my conversation with Jesus. I wanted to know why it was so hard for me to walk with Quiet Man. At one point I even asked Quiet Man if he had a hearing problem. (!) No, he did not. It wasn’t as if I was chattering away all day either. I just wanted to make a connection. Walking in silence with Moritz was easy and comfortable like wearing bedroom slippers. We felt connected in the silence. But it wasn’t like that with Quiet Man. It was an awkward stony silence full of hard pointy places and jagged edges.

He told me he was married but his wife was too busy to come with him. I asked to see a picture of her. He took a long time scrolling through photos on his phone. Here is my observation about that: a) you’ve got so many photos of that person that it’s hard to choose, or b) you have almost none.

And here’s my opinion about b): you don’t take photos of people you don’t want to remember. Have you ever noticed that?  (Maybe it’s just me.) So here he was looking for a photo and he couldn’t find one because he didn’t have very many. Finally he found one and showed me. I realized right away that his wife was in no shape to walk the Camino even if she wanted to. Maybe I was picking up his pain in the silence.

I’m sure you know that when you invite Jesus to accompany you he will, and that means he will intrude on your thoughts. So what I heard was, “Yes, that was his own pain and in a cosmic misunderstanding you took his silence to mean that he was ignoring you because that is your wound.”

As usual, Jesus was right. My heart gasped. I don’t know why these kinds of realizations don’t come in the moment right when I need them. I was not unkind to Quiet Man, but internally I was impatient and annoyed. I’m pretty sure you didn’t need to be a mind-reader to pick up that.

Pay Per View

Even though I’d been walking for hours, it felt quite sudden when I reached the top.  I stood breathless. Literally—I could hardly breath as I was now at over 4,000 feet. For the first time that day I took off my pack and sat—right down on the dirt.

First, I thanked Jesus. Then I drank water while my eyes ate up the view. After so many hours of walking enclosed by woodlands, my eyes were hungry for distance, for sky, for clouds. Before me was a feast. The valley below looked like an enormous bowl of greens: spinach, kale, celery, broccoli. Far, far, far beyond the valley were baskets of dark blue mountains, pitchers of clear blue sky and clots of creamy white clouds. I sat for long time until I was satisfied and gratified. I didn’t get up until my heart was full and my leg was numb.

This is the thing: there is no majestic view without the climb. We can’t gain a new perspective without climbing the mountain of our opinions, attitudes and judgments; without walking through our beliefs; without pressing on through our prejudice and intolerance. It’s arduous. It’s exhausting. It’s the only way.