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 – and acting to change the world. We strive to walk in the path of Jesus, and to offer an authentic welcome to everyone who walks through our door. We invite visitors to wear a name-tag from the pew register folder so we may more easily greet you by name.

Our worship service starts at 10 am and includes hymns, prayers, scripture reading and a sermon. It usually lasts about an hour and 15 minutes. More information here.

Children are an important part of our community, and are welcome for all or part or the service. You will be met at the door with a warm handshake and welcome, and our friendly greeters can help direct you and answer your questions.

Wear clothes that you are comfortable in and sit on the main floor or in the balcony - wherever you feel most at ease. We look forward to welcoming you.

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.

We offer a complimentary "inquirers Lunch" on the second Sunday of the month for people interested in learning more about us. It is an informal session over soup, salad and dessert where you can meet others who may be on a similar spiritual journey and learn how to plug into this church community from long-term members and clergy.

We'll explore topics from history, to theology, to membership. To RSVP, or let us know about special needs (Including childcare or food sensitivities) email us at gro.ccuytisrevinu@sreriuqni or call 206-979-7539.

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.

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.

 

Moritz was schmoozing with the Danish girls in the alburgue’s dining room. I sat peacefully in the living room, in an ancient upholstered chair that was hemorrhaging horse hair. Sipping a cup of hot tea I silently thanked Jesus-God-and-All-the-Saints that in spite of my hideous shin splints I managed to hobble into Pamplona.

My shins were throbbing. I did not know at that moment that Pamplona would be my Pain Peak. That meant whenever something was hurting me, I would rate it by saying something like, “Nowhere near Pamplona,” or “Very close to Pamplona.” Pamplona Pain. It became a thing.

My reverie was interrupted by a guy I saw working the room. He handed out business cards like candy on Halloween. He spoke English and looked about my age. He slowly made his way toward me. There were no other chairs so he crouched down next to me.

“Hi, I’m Sammy! How did you hear about this albergue?” The minute he said “about” I knew he was Canadian. He thrust out his business card.  It turned out he was a painter and a photographer. (I Googled him when I got home and found out that he is a very, very good artist.)

“I’m walking the Camino for my mum,” he said.  “I want people to be aware of her disease!” It was a common disease and honestly, I wondered how anyone living in North America could not know about it.

“Well, that’s great,” I said. “Good for you!” Then I took a deep breath, sighed, sipped my tea and closed my eyes. These are all actions that I hoped signaled, “And now please allow me to go back to my silence, contemplation and tea drinking.”

Obviously they don’t mean the same things in Canada. In Canada they mean, “Please give me an exhaustive list of all your achievements.” Which he did.

He listed the years studying abroad in Europe, his solo exhibitions, his awards, his grants, his international accolades. “I’ve saved the best for last,” he said impishly. I held my breath.

Oh, Pamplona Jesus! Was he knighted? Do I have to call him “Sir Sammy?” Or is there some kind of intergalactic honor of which I am not aware?

 “I’ve given a TED talk! Do you know what a TED talk is?”

I nodded.

“Have you heard one?”

I was silent for a moment.

Here’s a wonderful thing about walking the Camino: you can be anyone you want to be. You can even make up your name. You don’t have to say what you do or where you went to school or how much money you make or where you live or how many kids you have. It’s a lot like being back in kindergarten where all that matters are a kid’s name, their lunch and what toys they’ll share. It’s pretty much the same on the Camino except the toys are things like carabiners, nail clippers and flashlights. Nothing else matters.

So I was just Debra. There was no email signature to explore, no identity or role to live up to. No achievements to stand on. I loved it. I didn’t want to ruin that but I had to answer him.

“Yes, I’ve heard several TED talks.” I paused. It was now or never.  “I’ve even given one.”

He gasped and in a gesture of sympathy clutched his chest. “Oh, a TEDx?” He said “x” in a disappointed tone as if he just found out that a scarf was polyester and not silk.

“No, TEDMED.”

Now here I must explain the hierarchy of TED talks. At the top is TED, below that is TEDMED, and below that are local TED talks called TEDx. If your talk is really popular or good it will get put on the TED website which is considered a very big deal.

Sammy blinked in astonishment and then said, “Well, mine was TEDx but it’s up on the TED site.”

“Mine too.”

“So we’re both TED speakers!” he said in a loud voice. I cringed and forgetting that I was not a tortoise, tried to retract my head into my body.

The irony here is that my TED talk is about claiming your trauma simply as an experience and not taking it on as your identity. And by extension I think the same thing about awards. You had the experience of receiving one. Perhaps the journey leading to the achievement shaped and changed you. But you are not your awards. You are you. Nothing else matters.

Over dinner I told the whole story to Moritz and explained how uncomfortable I was. To my relief he had never watched a TED talk. He thought maybe he had heard of them.

A couple days later we stayed at an albergue that served a community meal—everyone at one big table. Moritz and I sat down and suddenly there was Sammy standing at the end of the table. He spotted us.

His mouth morphed into a giant megaphone. No, no, please God, no!!!!

“Do realize that you have not one, but two TED speakers at the table?!” he announced.

Moritz snickered. I gave him the side-eye and elbowed him—hard.

Well, thank Pamplona Jesus, God and Santiago that the wine arrived right at that moment. The subject of TED talks was dropped like a dirty napkin.

It’s a funny thing about awards and achievements. It’s all fine until we take them seriously. I learned long ago that when I based my identity and self-worth on the glory, once the glory is gone, so am I.

I’ve been at many death beds and I can tell you honestly people don’t say, “I was teacher of the year!” or “I won an Oscar,” or “I gave a TED talk!” Most people if they are still conscious, look around at whoever is there and say, “Thank you. I love you.”

I saw Sammy only once more on the Camino. By that time Moritz had returned to Germany and I was alone. Sammy was sweaty, unshaven and upset that the Camino was “so damn long!” He felt that the group he fell in with didn’t walk fast enough and weren’t serious about it so he left them behind. His feet were a mess and he wasn’t even sure why he was doing this. He was in so much pain—Pamplona Pain. I just listened.

I bet that when his mum is near death, she won’t mention his achievements. She will look at him and say, “Thank you. I love you.”

Nothing else matters.