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.

How many times have you asked yourself, “Which way do I go? Left, right or straight?” It can be a terrestrial question or a spiritual one. Both kinds of questions are often asked—and answered—on the Camino de Santiago.

Wondering about where to walk? Fortunately, 90% of the time there is an obvious sign, a yellow arrow telling you exactly which way to go. It is usually accompanied by the symbol of a scallop shell.

Signs and symbols are all over the Camino. The sign—the arrow—is specific, concrete, unambiguous. GO THIS WAY. The trick is spotting the arrows. Some are big and easy to see. Others are more obscure and easily missed.

Can you see the arrow in this picture to the left?  It was early morning and Moritz and I were leaving Burgos. I was so happy to be walking with him again, to have such a gorgeous morning to begin the meseta. This wave of beauty washed over me blinding me to anything but the magnificence of this tree. So I missed the arrow.*

We miss signs all the time: signs of serious illness, of abuse, of depression.  We miss signs telling us when it’s time to move on or to change things or to stay put. We even miss signs of love. Usually it’s because we don’t want to see them or we’re moving too fast or just not paying attention. Sometimes our egos get in the way.

As much as I missed Moritz, when I walked alone, I was forced to pay attention (a good thing) and look for the arrows. Which I did—most of the time.

One day I was walking alone in the early dawn. It was not yet light but I knew the guy I was passing was in his twenties. I also knew that the gray haired man ahead of him was Polish and spoke no English. They both had stayed at my albergue the night before.

After a couple of hours I could see a village up ahead.  Café con leche in my future! Suddenly Young Guy motored by me and then overtook Polish Man without so much as a “Buen Camino.”  What the  .  .  .  ?

By the time I reached the café Young Guy was already at a table waiting for his order. He raised his eyebrows at me. That smug son-of-a-bee-hive. I would press on! Apparently Polish Man felt the same way. We both cruised past the coffee-sipping whipper snapper.

I was fueled by that blinding kind of I’ll-show-you energy. I didn’t mind being behind Polish Man. We were the Mature Adults united in our dislike of Young Guy. Ha!

But after a few minutes I started to get that uneasy feeling that something was not right. The path started looking less like a path and more like a street. No yellow arrows. No other Pilgrims. We were not passing through the village; we were going into it. Then, like well-rehearsed Broadway dancers, at the exact same moment we stopped in our tracks and spun around. We glanced at one another and without a word started back.

When we reached the café, I saw two things at once: the yellow arrow we missed and Young Guy. He was sipping his coffee and when he saw us, he smiled and raised his cup. I was mortified and mad—a terrible combination.

I wanted to be mad at Young Guy. He could have simply pointed to the arrow as we walked by!  But I knew it was my own fault. Still, I walked ten kilometers before I unclenched my jaw. 

It’s not always easy to backtrack. Sometimes we’re just plain lost.  That’s where friends and family and faith can show us the way—both on and off the Camino. We just have to ask for help. That can be the hardest thing of all.

But you know what? Even if our cry for help is ignored or refused, I think there is something inside us that is strengthened just by the asking. And you know what else? Even if other people don’t help us, God always answers. It just may not look like the answer we were expecting. Just like how the arrows and scallop shells didn’t all look alike.

On official Camino markers the bright yellow arrow on the blue background is accompanied by a bright yellow scallop shell. The shell is a symbol of the Camino  and of the pilgrim. I walked into a museum in Astorga to buy a ticket. The clerk looked at me and said, “Ah, sí. I give you the pilgrim price.”

“How did you know?” I was amazed. I was clean and was not carrying my pack.

“Your earrings.” I was wearing teeny, tiny little scallop shell earrings. But everyone in Spain knows scallop shells mean “pilgrim.”

If you ask a pilgrim, we’ll each have different answers about what the shell means.  It has grooved lines along the outer rim which converge to a meeting point at the base. Many paths to God? I like that explanation. Or perhaps it symbolizes our personal journeys. Maybe at different times we are all on the outer rim of ourselves, trying to find the way back to our center.

I was struck by how the shell serves different purposes depending on how we hold it. When we hold it with the inside up—like a cup—we can use it as a vessel. So we can give and we can also receive. If we walk through life with an attitude of curiosity and hope then our pilgrim shells will catch the gifts that life offers. If we don’t pay attention, we can miss the gifts as well as the arrows.

If you hold the shell inside down—like an umbrella—it provides protection. That’s also valuable. Sometimes we need to shield ourselves from anger, despair or hurtful words.

The ancient Greeks associated the scallop shell with fertility and I like that too. A reminder that something new is being created in each of us. It’s a symbol of possibility, of creativity, of abundance, of vision. Of birth!

I picked up my shell the very first day I registered in St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France. There was a huge basket of them available for a donation. I closed my eyes when I chose mine. I waited until I got outside to look at it. It is a little chipped around the outside edge and that seemed just perfect to me.

I tied it on my pack and off I went.  

 

*It’s on the trunk!