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.

 

Jesus had to tell Simon Peter three times, “Feed my sheep.” I can only think this is because 1) Peter was a slow learner, 2) Peter didn’t really like sheep, 3) feeding sheep is harder than it looks or 4) all of the above.

What do sheep do when there is not a blade of grass left in their usual pasture? They find another place to feed. They do not call Door Dash; they just move on.  So it was on a Sunday that I wanted to be spiritually fed,  and inspired and to have some aspect of my faith illuminated. But as the song says, “you can’t always get what you want,” which is why I walked over to the hospital to visit a patient. This may seem counterintuitive as the hospital is also a place of pain, suffering and sorrow.  But this sheep knows that pasture well and knows there are spots of tasty grass all over.

If we think about it, we know our hearts have been fed in the most unlikely of places: taking out the garbage we see a hummingbird; changing a baby’s diaper we get a heart-melting smile, standing in line at the DMV we have a stimulating conversation with a complete stranger. So I know from experience that somewhere in the hospital, I can find hope, love, joy and faith in action.

As I walk I am thinking about a line in a Mary Oliver poem:

 Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.

 I had shared it with the parents of a J., a 23 year-old woman who has been in a coma for six weeks. Her father said to me, “Thank you for that, I needed it. I am starting to lose hope.”

There is no explanation for this coma. It came on after two days of headaches. The best they could do was “auto-immune encephalitis.” They ran what seemed like millions of tests but it remains a mystery.

But one thing is certain, there is a current of love, hope and faith circulating in J’s room. Her mother and father have flown in from the East Coast to be with her. They take turns sleeping there at night. They are both there for the day shift. J.’s sister comes to visit, her aunts come to support her mother, her uncle comes to support her father.

I love visiting this room and these people. I even love visiting J. because there is some inexplicable connection I feel with her. I sit by her bed and talk to her for a few minutes every time. As the weeks roll by and there is no change we think of different things to get her out of her coma.

She is an Enneagram Type 2, The Helper. Type Two’s love to help people! I crouch next to her bed and because she works in radio, I say, “J., I need help with my audio editing. I want to ask you many questions about it. I think you can help me.”

Nothing. Of course I was hoping for a Hollywood scene where she gasps, sits up in bed, fully conscious and articulate and asks, “What seems to be the problem?”

Her parents play her favorite music, hoping even if it doesn’t instantly wake her, at least it is somehow familiar and healing.

I share with them what my dog trainer friend said when my terrier Max was mauled by a pit bull. “Don’t talk to him in ‘worried baby talk’ because he will sense your worry and then he will worry about you and that will impede his healing.”  After she told me that I’d say to Max in a confident tone, “We will get through this Maxxie and all shall be well.”

So we are careful how we talk to J. I say to her, “When you are back, we can talk about your editing software!” Not “if” you come back, but “when.”

Everybody at one time or another, have or have had situations in our lives where we are waiting for things to come back to life. We hope. We pray. We speak confidently in spite of what we are experiencing. How long do we wait? I don’t know, except to say, “Keep room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

But here is the sticky part for J.: it’s unimaginable that she could spring out of this after six weeks and it’s just as unimaginable that she would die. I can’t bear the thought. When I can finally stand to talk about it, I speak with a wise friend. I quote Mary Oliver. She listens carefully and then says, “Perhaps the real Truth is simply, ‘Keep room in your heart. Period.’”

I’m trying to do that, so on this Sunday J.’s mom and I giggle about making cocktails even though her ancestors come from the Jain religious tradition and they don’t drink alcohol. I joke that I chose Christianity because the Old Testament sounds like a Michelin four star French restaurant. Deuteronomy goes on about “meat, grain, wine and strong drink.” Then there’s Jesus the Divine Sommelier, who is always drinking, sharing, blessing and creating wine.  We include J. in our conversation even though she can only blink occasionally with one eye. I tell her that I will share a Margarita with her when she gets her stomach tube out. Her mom laughs.

We are being all jokey because the next day she and J. are scheduled to be air-lifted back to the East Coast to another big hospital where their family and friends are waiting. So this will be my goodbye even though we talk about our paths crossing again.

Then comes that moment where I know I must leave. I give a hug to J. and then to her mother who says, “I want you to take the plant! We can’t take it with us. The jet is very small.” We are both fighting back tears and she hands me the plant which is not one plant in a pot. It is six plants artfully arranged in a big ceramic planter. It is beautiful. She puts it in my arms. It is stupendously heavy.

“Are you sure you don’t want to go get your car and I’ll bring this out front?” she asks.

“No, no, I can carry it,” I lie. I know I have to leave now or I will really lose it. “I will think of you all every time I see it,” I say. My heart is full.

“Good,” she says.

The next thing I know I am waiting at the light in front of the hospital to cross the street to campus. I feel like my arms are going to break off. Why in God’s name is that WALK sign taking so long? At this moment I realize that the only way to make it back to my car is to walk and stop and rest, repeat.

I use the technique I used when I used to do long distance running: just make it to the _____.”  So I just made it to the stone bench, to Drumheller fountain, to the stairs past Red Square, to the “W” sign. Each time I put down the planter I prayed for J. and her family. I shook out my hands, windmilled my arms and thanked God for these amazing people. They couldn’t possibly know how much they fed me.

And so we wait. We keep going, we stop, we rest, repeat. We feed one another along the way, all the while, keeping our hearts open. Period.