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.

One of our great preachers today is Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  Brown has spent the past decade photo 1 studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. She’s the author of “Daring Greatly” and “The Gifts of Imperfection”, but I mostly know here from her “Ted Talks”, short 10-30 minute video clips.  Her TED talks, “Listening to Shame” and “The Power of Vulnerability” have millions of hits.

photo 3I listened again to “The Power of Vulnerability” last week at the airport waiting for my flight to board. Brown’s message is so simple.  I wonder if someday I might be bright or courageous enough to actually take it in.

The heart of her message is this:   Shame, our feelings of being “unworthy”, a “failure”, “incompetent” and “of no use” leads to disconnection from ourselves, each other and the earth.

Vulnerability, letting ourselves be “seen”, our willingness to share our portland 054authentic truth and feelings with ourselves and others, is the bridge to connection.

Through thousands of interviews, Brown has witnessed that those of us who have a strong sense of “worthiness“, of love and belonging, have one thing in common:  we open ourselves to the risk of vulnerability, the very thing that those of us trapped in the prison of shame have such a hard time doing.

I was reminded recently of the impact of risking our vulnerability in a five week men’s group I convened for men living in times of change and transition.  If you had wandered into our group, you would have seen what looked like a very competent group of men.  And indeed we were in many ways.

portland 018But our real strength and greatest “competence” came in our ability to risk sharing our truth.   In the midst of times of great change and transformation, when we don’t know how it is all going to turn out, to risk being real.  To let go of who we thought we “should be” or “wanted to be” and embrace who we are.

I like Brown’s message because it sounds to me like the heart of Christian faith.  Just a few weeks ago in church, and again this past Sunday, we remembered the story of Jesus’ baptism and God’s words to him, “You are my beloved child with whom I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3:17)  As followers of Jesus, there’s our call:  to believe that word of our “belovedness” is true for everyone, beginning with ourselves.

I appreciate that Brown talks about going to church with her family.  I’m glad that there are churches out there living this core Gospel message of love and acceptance as the way into fuller and deeper life.

Like Brown, (and probably why I like listening to her so much), I hate portland 017being vulnerable.  Like her, I have my thousand and one reasons to choose anything but this.   I carry my own stories of risking vulnerability and getting hurt.  My own patterns of protecting myself.   I too struggle with letting myself be seen, even to “see” myself, especially when what I know is my fear, anxiety, or uncertainty.  When vulnerability pushes, I too have learned, all too well, to push back.

Like Brown, I have taken refuge time and again in clinging to control.    Found my favorite ways to numb myself to my feelings.  But as Brown reminds me, we can’t selectively numb our feelings.  When we numb, we numb everything – our sorrow and our joy.

But like Brown as well, I also have experiences that have shown me that every step forward I have taken into deepening into my life and truth has been because I have risked stepping into my vulnerability.  I am blessed that I have found safe people and places with whom to risk and share myself.  I’ve learned that when I practice risking my vulnerability in one place, with a friend, a therapist, a pastor, I am able over time to practice doing that in more places.

portland 024And it’s true that I have learned with Brown that vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, belonging and joy.  The birthplace of what really counts and how I want to live. Sidestepping my vulnerability just sidesteps these qualities I want to bloom in the heart of my life.

There is so much to feel vulnerable about in our world today.  From the reality of a rapidly changing and warming planet, to the intimacy of our changing selves.  From a rapidly changing church and understanding of God, to changing communities and understandings of our place in the world.

No wonder so much in us and in our culture rushes to certainty.

Yes, I would like to remember all this.  And I know that I am a work in process when it comes to this stepping into vulnerability.

Yes, I would like to imagine that the next time I am feeling especially vulnerable that I would remember that this feeling is actually a gift.  That my fear and anxiety means that I am alive.  That I experience something called “life” that I don’t want to lose.

And yes, I want to continue to step forth.  To dare to believe, despite all my doubt, that the way to more life, is the way through risking it all.  To die in fact, again and again, to my shame, those perfect pictures of who I thought I ought to be, and become more fully the beautiful, broken, and vulnerable one God is calling into being to bloom in my life.