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.

I’m newly 50. Colleagues, peers, friends and strangers of my age are at the top of their respective games. There are books being published, ladders being climbed, foundations being founded and run. I am witness to much ambition, upward and forward energy, future success. That is not my story.

In my early 30s I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Though I’ve felt fortunate in the path my disease course has taken, its gradual, subtle slide is still there. Year over year I’ve changed, now making the shift from chronically ill to disabled. I’ve made one career shift after the other to accommodate my new realities. I now work just a tiny bit, on a few contracts now and then. And yet, I’m an artist, ordained clergy and a parent — these are identities rather than occupations. Ongoing work is a question of how, not if.

In 2017, working as a pediatric palliative care chaplain I was always on the lookout for grief support resources. I stumbled upon a photo of a tree some call “The Tree of Life.” I was immediately drawn to it. This Sitka Spruce makes its home on the Washington Coast at a place called Kalaloch, in the Olympic National Forest. It sits perched on a ragged cliff, with a view of ocean waves, soft sand and round tumbled rocks. The “Tree of Life” seemed to me an embodiment of life after traumatic loss/change, the integration of grief.

Erosion, wind, storms and tides are all normal happenings on the edge of the sea. This extraordinary tree has experienced the very ground underneath it being scooped away, disappeared. Season after season, the cliff erodes and the tree adapts, lives. Like me, it lives the question of how, not if.

When I made my pilgrimage there in 2017, there were hammocks hung underneath. People climbing in the branches. This summer when I visited again, it was much lower, no longer high enough for hammocks or swings. The hollowed-out space all around the center trunk is lighter, brighter, larger. The tree has sunk lower, its broadly spread roots reaching horizontally, ever more tender, ever more fierce. I crouched to go into that open, underneath space to touch the walls, lay a gentle hand on the roots of the tree.

In July my friend and I brought chairs and our knitting and my dog, of course. Our plan was to spend time with this tree, simply to be there. We witnessed a steady stream of people. Many photos taken. It felt like an event. Like we had all come to hear something, see something, ask something. There was a felt urgency, a spark of worry. I wondered if people might be eager to see the tree before something happens.

I wish I could say that the tree told me everything I need to know. In fact, I don’t know any more than I did about disability or loss or the next right thing. I did find someone to accompany and be accompanied by.

That tree feels like a wise sibling, one who knows much more than I do. They have had to be creative, tenacious, and they’ve had to endure some unimaginable traumatic change, live with grief. They’re disabled. They’re displaced. They are beautiful and ambitious, an artist making art of life.

As the literal ground was swept from underneath them, I wonder what their thoughts were. I wonder, did they ask, what now? What am I to do now? I wonder how angry or disappointed or terrified the tree was? Has it gotten any easier? Have they figured it out? Are they content?

Disability is a curious thing. There’s a constant need for adaptation and creativity. There’s a need for advocacy. I have to ask for help, insist, take up space, have needs, be different. I’ve had to shift my priorities. I’ve been told, commanded, advised, shamed. There’s been empathy but there’s also been so much patronizing, anxiety and false comfort.

Here at 50, I’m reflecting. As I look at that tree, that Sitka spruce who makes a life amidst extraordinary loss/change/trauma/grief, I’m realizing that I am not alone. We consider how, not if we will continue. If they are a “Tree of Life,” a wonder to behold, then so am I. And so are you.

This blog post is created out of a piece I wrote for my college’s alumnae quarterly, published this past fall (Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly, Fall 2023). I’ve spoken and written about the “Tree of Life” many times over the years. Many of you have heard me talk/preach/write about it. It is a constant spiritual companion. When I went to see it again this summer, I was in a time of major uncertainty and discernment. Sometime in between visits to the tree in 2017 and 2023, I had a spiritual direction session with our own Pastor Steve. The phrase “how, not if” came from that discernment session. I will be forever grateful for it. It’s been a comfort, a compass and an encouragement. Thank you, Pastor Steve. The tree and the mantra, “how, not if” have been in conversation, these words are a piece of that conversation. The photos included here are ones I made this summer.