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.

When I say “sheep” what do you picture? A creature covered all over with white fluff, or luxurious black locks? A nose just peeking out of a wool-covered face, or the bald headed- look, with the wool beginning below the ears? Does your imaginary sheep have horns? Is she fragile, or sturdy? Is she even a “she”?

One of the gifts of shepherding an actual flock of Romney sheep is that when I hear people talking about sheep, a very specific image forms in my head. Woolly head, medium staple, about 80 pounds, friendly face, no horns. The color of my imagined sheep is usually iron grey, although Romneys come in a variety of shades ranging from a rich dark charcoal to a creamy white.

There are disadvantages of such an immediate and vivid image too, of course. A friend might be telling me about his flock and I’m picturing Romneys while he’s talking Katahdins. Katahdins are low maintenance “hair” sheep that do not produce wool and come in such speckled colors that they can sometimes be mistaken for goats. If I ask my friend who shears his sheep he will only give me a puzzled look. If I tell someone looking for his farm that it’s “the one with all the sheep,” that person could drive right by what she perceives as goats and never find what she’s looking for.

And of course, whenever a preacher starts talking about Jesus the Good Shepherd, seeking the “lost sheep,” it takes a long time for me to disengage from my own actual experience with that task. With my mind fixated on the realities of late night searches through blackberries, nettles, and overgrown meadows, I can miss the point the preacher is making. Even if that preacher is me.

All of that is to point to the gifts and limits of language. Words give us a sense of shared meaning while at the same time limiting our understanding of what it is we are talking about. This is especially true when we try to describe deep spiritual realities. The words we use matter. And of course no words can actually contain all that we are trying to say.

Advent is a season of profound spiritual words. We hear them broadcast through store sound systems and all over the radio dial. The words are so familiar we imagine we know what they mean. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” But what does it mean to call Jesus “Lord”? Is it a title? A relationship? Both? Neither?

“Silent night. Holy night,” we sing. But what makes this night, or any night, Holy? Indeed, what does “holy” even mean? And as we follow those words with “round yon virgin mother and child.” what are we actually talking about? Arguments over the meaning of those words have split churches, toppled denominational hierarchies, and confused children for centuries.

When I was little I named my Christmas doll after my mom’s best friend, Virginia. But to avoid confusion, I used “Christmas nickname” I had heard. Imagine the scene of confusion as I told my mom and Virginia how my doll had gotten her name. “She’s named after you,” I said. “I call her ‘Virgin.’”

In the Islamic tradition there are 99 names for Allah, offered with the understanding that none of them are adequate, and with the mystical suggestion that there are 1,000 names beyond those 99 which are themselves unknowable. In some Jewish traditions, the word God is never spoken, nor even written, except as “G-d,” in part as a reminder that the Holy One is ultimately not limited to or controlled by a single human description.

Even when I reflect on the simple image of sheep and shepherds in the Christmas story, I find myself spinning from my own literal and lived experiences (what type of flock were the shepherds watching by night?) to profound metaphors of love and justice, (what was the social estimation of a first century shepherd and why would they be the ones to whom and angel of the Lord came down in glory, while the king himself was kept in the dark?) and back again.

Whatever words you are hearing in this season of Advent (which is derived from the Latin word for adventus, meaning “coming,” which itself is a translation of the Greek word parousia), may the meanings you give them take you closer to the reality which these words and stories are attempting to describe. God is with us. In darkness and in light. In sorrow and in joy. However you are giving them meaning, may the blessings of this season be yours.