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.

For the past ten years, at this darkest time of year, I have gone with mysailing school 010 little Zen community to sit by the shores of Puget Sound and listen.

On an often cold and stormy week, listened to wind and waves, the cry of gulls and eagles, and those unsettled thoughts that stir within.  It has been a rigorous, cleansing and renewing practice that I have loved.

But this year, was different.

This fall I’d taken sailing lessons at the Center for Wooden Boats in downtown Seattle.  I’d learned the basics of sailing – how to launch and dock a boat, some simple knots, and how to trim the sails.  But I still couldn’t figure out how to actually get the boat to go anywhere – except round and round in circles.

This December, I didn’t want to sit by the water’s edge, but to get out on the water and into the wind and waves.  I wanted to learn how to move my little boat across the water.

boats and birthday 044So instead of going to sit with my friends by the shore of Puget Sound, I went to Florida to sailing school on the Gulf of Mexico.

I can’t begin to describe the joy I felt that first day out in the Gulf, a mile or so offshore.  Further out than I’d ever been in a little boat, and exactly where I wanted to be.  All week at sailing school we played in the wind and learned about how to get our little boat to go where we wanted it to go.

I learned that you can’t sail a boat directly into the wind, but have to do something called tacking – to move the bow (front end) of your boat back and forth at an angle to the wind.  To zigzag your way forward.  That’s good advice sometimes, at least good for me.  The best way through challenges is not always to muscle my way through, even though I have learned all too well to do that.  A better way comes in keeping your eye on your goal, and trusting in the slow and steady process of winding your way back and forth to get there.

But to go this way, you have to learn how to tack.

To tack, you push the tiller (a long stick that controls the rudder on the boat) away from you as the bow (the front of the boat) moves through the wind.  Right there in the middle, when the bow is facing directly into the wind, there is a terrible luffing (flapping) of sails.  As the bow continues to move through the wind, eventually the wind catches the other side of the sail, and the boom (a huge piece of wood attached to the bottom of the main sail) flies above (and hopefully not into) your head, as the sail fills with wind on the other side.

I hated tacking.

As I have hated most transitions in my life.

I tensed up just thinking about needing to tack, and right in the middle often got scared.  Felt out of control and not quite sure I was actually going to make it through.  Sometimes tried to turn around and go back, which only leads to more terrible flapping of sails and a very tippy boat.

I have struggled with the transitions in my life.

So, often I have preferred to live my life in one direction.

But sometimes, you need to change directions.

Sometimes there are rocks in front of you and you have to turn or crash. boats and birthday 065 Sometimes someone you love dies or a relationship ends.  A child is born, or a child goes away to school.  Or that’s you going away to school.  You get sick, lose a job or get a new job.  Something ends and before something new can begin, you need to change directions in order to keep moving forward in your life.

And sometimes, you just want to go a different way.  Maybe despite everything in you that loves stability and security, you have a feeling that there is more out there for you to see and experience.  A bigger horizon to explore.

Sometimes the new chooses us.

Sometimes we choose the new.

Either way can be hard.

No, I don’t make those transitions easily.  Sometimes, I’ve just closed my eyes, grabbed on tight and held my breath.

Not a very good way to sail.

You can’t move a sailboat or the boat of your life forward well when you are all tensed up.  Instead, you need to keep your eyes open.  Hold that point ahead, even when you lose it in the fog.  Keep your breath quiet, and concentration strong.

It takes some practice to learn to tack well.

sailing school 006This year, I mark my twentieth year as pastor here at University Congregational United Church of Christ.  I can’t believe how fast the time has gone.  I feel like I’ve been here just a few years.

I’ve realized, much to my surprise, that what keeps me enlivened in my ministry here is the fact that despite everything in me that doesn’t like change and transitions, I have learned how to tack.  Practiced again and again changing directions, re-inventing my ministry, my roles, my place.  I’ve grown and changed.  Put down work I’d loved doing, found new things I have loved.

I couldn’t have done this without the support of a community of deep love and high expectations.  A good combination for growth.  A good combination for my growth.  For these past twenty years I have yet to learn how to “coast” here and have constantly been challenged and stretched, encouraged to grow, change, mature – to learn how to tack.

It is a gift beyond words to be a leader in a community that has met and encouraged my changing self.  Yes, stumbling and falling at times along the way, but holding a trust that forward is not always to get it exactly right.  To be supported in the trying and failing, to be met time and again with forgiveness and grace.  To learn that the trying is the learning.  And I have been learning.

It is huge thing to trust ourselves and to trust each other in our growing, changing selves.  To not limit or define our lives by the familiar “tacks” we have taken, but by the far horizon that we are headed towards.  The very heart of faith, I believe, to trust in our own and each others becoming.  To dare to believe that the Creating One is at work in us, bringing new life out of endings and changes.

This spring, I look forward to a sabbatical and the privilege of getting to tack in a different direction for a few months.  To write, paint, and yes, sail.   To see where it all might lead.

In it all, at sea and in ministry, I am learning how to sail.  Maybe this boats and birthday 058really is me, growing a bit more comfortable in the tacking.  Trusting a bit more that I am going to be alright in the twists and turns, challenges and changes in life.  That we all are.

Could it be true?  Of course I doubt sometimes.  But I want to find out.   I want to keep going out and forward, to that edge beyond the edge of the horizon.  To find the way out deeper still across this sea of wonder, depth and grace that carries us all.  And through which, practice after practice, I am indeed, learning to sail.