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 read a thought provoking story the other day. It’s about two ships in a harbor, one about to set out and the other just coming in. The crowd is cheering and celebrating the boat about to set out while the one who has finished the journey slips in unnoticed. A sage on the dock scolds the crowd and says, “Don’t celebrate the new ship just setting out. Turn around, notice and appreciate the ship that is done with its journey.”

Of course the story is really about birth and death but my Monkey Mind did not go there. Instead I started thinking about how wonderful it is when—like ship about to sail—we welcome new members. They are starting a new journey with our community. We publish a photo, a little bio telling where each person comes from, and why they decided to join our church.

Then we have a ceremony where each new member promises to “participate in the life and mission of this family of God’s people.” Then the church community  promises to love and support these new members.

This is a very moving ritual and I always cry. (Although I’ve been known to cry at the Offering.)

Lately I’ve been thinking,  “What if we had a ceremony for people who are leaving our congregation?” They are done with their journey with us. I don’t mean death or moving away but leaving by choice. To be clear: I mean staying in the area, leaving our church and either joining another one,  or joining no church at all.

What if, like new members share why they joined, leaving members share with the whole community about why they are leaving and maybe where they are headed. What could we learn from them? Sure we can “speak the truth in love,” but can we hear the truth in love? Would we wish them well?

But then how many people would rather just leave quietly? Would people leaving want this recognition? Would they be comfortable with this degree of honesty?

I’ve witnessed estrangement and separation in many families. First came the conversation about the problem: their father’s drinking. “Dad, your drinking is affecting the whole family. You’re out of control. And when you drink you say horrible things around our kids.”

I encouraged them to get family counseling so everyone could talk about their feelings and seek resolution.  This is precisely where everything fell apart: his father was not willing to change.  “You and your sister are just ingrates. I’m not alcoholic! You just get upset when I have a beer now and then.”

He would not accept the criticism of his behavior, nor take responsibility for it. So of course, there was no hope of change. No change meant a resolution was not possible, so a gentle statement of separation was given by his kids. “We don’t want to raise our kids around an alcoholic. Unless you can see this and change, we must cut off contact with you.” They invited other family members over to a dinner (which seemed to me like an excellent ritual) and shared their decision. Everyone heard the story from them and no one could speculate on why they left. Sad, but healthy.

Anyway, back to leaving your church. I’ve read that people often leave a church because of either misunderstandings or misalignment. Misunderstandings can often be cleared up immediately. Misalignment means the church goals no longer align with a member’s goals.

I’d like offer another possibility: misinterpretation. This means people are committed to the goals of the church, but question the methods of getting there. Their opposition to the methods is misinterpreted as opposition to the goal itself.

If it looks like a change in methods is possible, then stay and work it out! But if it’s clear that no change is possible, then—like the child of the alcoholic—a loving goodbye is in order.

I searched the UCC Book of Worship to see if there was a ritual for members who are leaving and there is! “ Order for Times of Passage: Farewell.” But this ritual is for ministers leaving or members who are moving away permanently or joining the military–nothing for those who just leave. I guess no one wants to recognize that.  There is moment in this ritual for ministers, where the members say, “We release you from your duties.” How about a ceremony where we said to departing members, “We thank you for being part of this community. We release you from your promises and wish you love and blessings as your life unfolds.”

That sounds loving, compassionate, understanding and well—Christian. I wonder how many of these ceremonies we’d have?

 

 

Photo by Ilse Orsel