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.

I woke up this Thursday morning with a faint shadow of ashes on my forehead and a dusting of snow on the ground outside. More snow is falling. The sheep are out in the field, still in their full winter wool. But today, in just a few hours, they are scheduled to be sheared.

It can seem a cruel thing to shear sheep while it’s snowing. But the reality is that spring is on the way, and their bodies will adapt quickly to being without the thick wool. They will be fine. But if they held on to their coats for the sake of a few more days of comfort, the spring rains and summer heat would quickly weigh them down. By July we would all be regretting the short-sighted decisions of March.

My shearer is bringing a young friend along with him today. The youngster will be the one to catch the wiley sheep and bring them to the waiting shears. We can use that kind of energy on the farm. As the saying goes, “None of us is getting any younger.”

All of which brings me to the title of my post.

Much of the world knows about Mardi Gras, also called Carnival, or Fat Tuesday. It is a day (or season) for reveling. It is a time of overindulgence, in anticipation of the season of, well, “under indulgence” to come.

And another name for Mardi Gras is Shrove Tuesday.

“Shrove“ is the past tense of the Old English word “shrive,” and means to express remorse, or in more liturgical terms, to confess one’s sins. It is the first step in letting go of the past, and turning toward life. In many ways, that church word represents the essence of spring, which is all about new life.

Shrove Tuesday leads us into the mystery of Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.

In the church world, on Ash Wednesday we are invited to lay our burdens down. We receive “the imposition of ashes,” oil mixed with fine cinders usually made from the burning of greens from last spring’s Palm Sunday, and placed in the shape of a cross on one’s forehead.

Yesterday, while I placed ashes on the forehead of those who came for the blessing, I recited the traditional ancient words: “Remember that you are made from dust, and to dust you shall return.“ I offered my congregation and myself a moment to look clearly at our own mortality, and in that looking, to recognize that life is brief. None of us is getting any younger.

We are human. We have limits. We have places of brokenness and failure. Life is not always “Mardi Gras.”

But even in our brokenness, God meets us like some divine shearer, inviting us to let go of the old coats and old comforts that no longer serve us. We can step into new life. We live surrounded by the grace of God. At any moment we can pause and say thanks for beauty and blessing as well.

That is why I always add my own words to the ashes anointing– “yet held eternally the love of God.”

Today my sheep will be experiencing their own “shrove” day of letting go. I too am letting go of things for Lent. Perhaps you are as well. It is a letting go for the sake of new life, new growth, new awareness.

This second day of Lent in fact can be shrove Thursday for any of us. Another day of confession, of turning, of renewing. Like my sheep freshly shorn, I can know at any moment that life is brisk, bracing, uncomfortable, disorienting, invigorating, short, real, and full of grace.