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.

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.

It is dark. It is quiet. The loneliness is overwhelming. “Sometimes I cry into my blanket,” he said. “I feel so alone. It’s like I’m the only person on the planet and I’m a really sick one.”

The flowers bloom, the sky is blue, the breeze releases showers of petals. The birds are back and chirping away. There is beauty all around and yet .  .  .   I haven’t seen my Mom in over a month, people everywhere are wearing masks and there is no one on the bus.

I’ve begun a new pilgrimage.* I now work in the University of Washington Medical Center as a “Spiritual Care Provider,” a longer but more inclusive job title than “chaplain.”  

Most people have had their routines changed from going to work to staying home all day. Mine is the opposite.

I’m happy to be back working in the hospital but it’s different now. Everyone is wearing a mask, even the lady who runs the gift shop. My first reaction: “What? You think you’re gonna do surgery in here?” Then I remembered: COVID-19.

My main job is to see Long Length of Stay (LLOS) patients. A lengthy hospital stay pretty much sucks but when you can’t have any visitors, it is excruciating. No visitors?! COVID-19. So I look through census and see who has been in the hospital the longest. I visit them first.

Imagine being sick in the hospital, waiting for a liver and having no friends or family around. Such is the case with William who I quoted in the first paragraph. He has been waiting for a liver transplant for seven weeks. Six of those weeks without any visitors.

“It’s not as if I don’t see anyone,” he said. “People go in and out of my room all day. They’re all really nice but they have so much work to do. And they don’t really know me. You know what I mean?”

I knew what he meant

.What you really want is someone who deeply knows you. Like when someone really knows that you joke to cover your pain; that your silence means anger, that you rub your forehead when you’re frustrated. They know you.

Many patients tell me that night time is the worst. That is when they feel as if they will drown in their loneliness. This is when fear pays a visit. It’s a dark loneliness, not literally of course because even at night a hospital can feel like a circus. But the dark you feel inside, like a single piece of dust floating through outer space.

You know how we say to one another, “Come with me!”—to a party, to a meeting, to the restroom. We want someone with us. We want the support, the presence, the witness. We want—connection. Jesus knew this because he reassured the disciples. “I’m with you always!”

This is why when I pray with Christian patients I find myself saying over and over, “Let us remember the promise of Jesus, ‘Let not your hearts be troubled, nor let them be afraid for lo, I am with you always.’”

Jesus is with you. The Spirit is within you. The Presence is with you. Perfect Love lives within you. And perfect love casts out fear.  

But sometimes it’s hard—impossible!—to feel that Light within us and that’s when we can offer sparks to one another. That’s what I do in the hospital. It’s not as if I walk in and say, “Good afternoon, I’m here to light up your life.” I’m just hoping to bring a spark.

God works in us and through us and that’s what I count on. I just try to get out of the way. The worst pastoral encounters I’ve ever had are when I’m trying to think of some brilliant theological response. I always come up with nonsense. So it’s better to ask Spirit to use me and then I just walk in and be myself.

We can all do this for one another. Phone calls can be like fireworks–so many sparks flying. You can give and receive  sparks on Zoom or FaceTime too. It’s all about being really present. You just can’t over-estimate the value of a good listener. 

But what if you’re not feeling sparky? The hardest part is reaching out, but that part is essential. But then, what if you find that everyone else is also sitting in the deep dark, Well of Loneliness and Despair. (This exists.) How do you make a fire with no matches? Dry sticks! Keep talking, keep connecting and the conversational friction can create a spark. It happens!

We can’t always be the Light in someone else’s dark night. But we can offer them a spark.

 

 

* I promise I will post about my final week on the Camino but I feel an urgency to write about what is happening now.