10 AM, SUNDAYS. 415 WESTLAKE AVE N, SEATTLE, WA 98109.
Ten years ago an adventurous group of 50+ people formed Union Church, a missional community of University Presbyterian Church. We met in a space we rented on 10th and Union on Capitol Hill for Sunday worship, asking the question, “How can we live as the church – God’s called out and sent people in our city-- as a blessing?”
Believing that worship is simply our response of loving our Creator, Redeemer and Guide with all of our being, in relationship with one another and with a passion for God’s beloved world, we experimented with our Sunday morning worship focus. One Sunday a month became devoted to dialogue encouraging people to view conversations with one another as acts of worship as they turn into a circle of 6-8 and spend time listening to one another’s perspective on scripture, who God is and who God invites us to be. One Sunday focuses on acts of service, believing that our response of living faith in community should not be a side project but central to our understanding of God’s character. We prayed about who we could partner with to love our city and suddenly saw doors open for opportunities of meal provision, environmental care, visitation and support in the larger community. For the remaining two or three Sundays we placed an emphasis upon teaching, singing, praying and breaking bread as we learn from Acts 2. We unearthed a rhythm of worship that was expressed in the weeks of the month; First and Third Sundays – Worship with Sacraments; Second Sundays-- Worship with Dialogue; Fourth Sundays --Worship in Action. This rhythm of worship has become our “reality” of communally knowing and experiencing our Trinitarian God.
In 2010 we settled into our current home in South Lake Union (SLU), 415 Westlake. The streets were nearly empty as we prayed that God would pour grace upon the community to which we had moved. After exegeting the neighborhood, we decided that what was most needed in a space were a venue and a café where people could work, connect and where a cross-section of people from low-income housing to Microsoft, Amazon and PATH could mingle. The church community would share the space but the building would not be called a church. Fast forward now to a neighborhood that is pulsing with life. 36,000 people work in the neighborhood, almost a 50 percent jump just since 2009.
Worship is our life lived in response to God's love for us and passion for justice and reconciliation. We live in a rhythm that reflects that. Worship expands our imagination to more fully take in the reality of God. That not only happens with music, prayer, and Scripture, but also through loving and serving others in partnership with the Holy Spirit. That's why every Sunday at Union is a little different. We're in a rhythm that reinforces a broad experience of worship.
First, third, and fifth Sundays: On these Sundays through music, prayer, story and scripture we meet with God and let our lives be reoriented by Jesus and his message. A visible expression of God's love and grace (communion and baptism) is celebrated on these Sundays and there are people to pray with if you wish.
Second Sundays: This Sunday is designed to deepen our connection with others on the journey as we discover gifts and strengths to love one another while growing in grace, faith and joy. We worship through music, prayer, a short message, and a time of discussion.
Fourth Sundays: We worship together through action. Every Fourth Sunday we gather at 415 Westlake to team for the current activities. Some take place on-site; some off-site. Check on webpage to find out about various opportunities to serve together.
First, come as you are! Well, ok, wearing just your bathrobe maybe a bit awkward but no one is going to mind. Most people dress casually or ready for whatever their weekend plans call for afterwards.
Parking is easily available in the lot adjacent to the building and in the 321 Terry underground lot, which is free (with validation) for you on Sundays.
Coffee is served. When you enter 415 Westlake there is a complimentary espresso bar serving Herkimer coffee and steamed drinks and in the main room there are cheese, crackers, and fruit waiting for you.
Kids are a part of our time together and then they head off to their own worship space after about 10 minutes. Babies will be cared for wonderfully by our trained team in our nursery or they can stay with you.
What happens in worship varies with our rhythm but includes worship through music (you can sing or listen) followed by a message rooted in the Bible and the opportunity, often, to celebrate communion or baptism. We want to honor your weekend plans so we seek to wrap up at 11:20.
Worship & Nurture Lead
Renée received her undergraduate degree from the UW in biology and her MDiv from Regent College. Renee's passion is to Biblically and theologically encourage people that the God on High delights in them and invites them into a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ through the equipping of the Spirit. She is thrilled to be a part of a worshipping community that is committed to investing in families, neighborhoods, the workplace and the world. She is refreshed by time with her family, coffee with friends and long walks with her dog.
James B Notkin
As Union’s Vision Lead, James B. seeks to work with the community to live into our call to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with Jesus. Before Union, James B. had seasons (ok, make that years) in college, youth, adult, and new ministries with Ann Arbor First Presbyterian Church and University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. James B. continually is being schooled by his three kids adding to the education he received at Princeton Theological Seminary. A native of Seattle he loves the rain but increasingly appreciates how sunshine makes biking and tennis more enjoyable.
Loretta provides administrative support, particularly in the area of congregation communications, to the staff and congregation of Union. Using her banking and marketing background, she also provides strategic thinking on the ministry and mission of Union Church and is responsible for all financial reporting. Loretta enjoys cheering on the Sounders with her husband Dick, exploring her new neighborhood in West Seattle, trying new recipies, long weekends in Sonoma, and reading mysteries (especially by Louise Penny or Elizabeth George).
Young Family Lead
Lena has enjoyed working with babies and kids since she can remember. Cuddling babies in the nursery and teaching VBS became part of her understanding of being a part of the church. As a mom of two young kids, Lena brings firsthand experience of what it is like to be a parent at Union. Lena has served on staff at a variety of churches since college and now enjoys working with the family ministry studio team, serving and equipping our families to love the kids God brings to us.
Stephanie Templin Ashford
Stephanie Templin Ashford serves as a Parish Associate at Union Church. In this role, she assists with worship, special projects and opportunities for upper elementary and middle school students. Stephanie was ordained to Christian ministry in 2004 and has served various congregations as pastor and Associate Pastor in Pennsylvania and now in Seattle. She is married and has two children, two cats, two fish and a bearded dragon. She lives in Queen Anne with her family and enjoys running, hiking, coffee and travel.
Music Worship Lead
Jeff provides leadership for Union’s worship band, and assists in developing the music and liturgy for our Sunday morning gatherings. He loves exploring the intersection of art and faith, and is passionate about drawing out the gifts and talents of those who worship at Union Church to help tell the unique story of what God is doing in our community. Jeff enjoys going for long walks in his adopted city of Tacoma with his wife Amy, and two children Everett and Cora. He also loves discussing his favorite movies and spending late evenings with Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O’Connor. Jeff graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in history, and earned his MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.