Steve Shay
President Paula vanHaagen and Reverend Peg Morgan give each other high fives about their move to their new church.

Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation finally gets a home of their own

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President Paula vanHaagen of the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation, announced the organization’s purchase of the church at 7141 California Avenue SW, at Othello. The congregation has been renting space at the Masonic Temple, 4736 40th Avenue SW for the past 20 years. They closed on the building Thursday, April 22.

The new building is 60 years old and was built for the Gatewood Baptist Church and later sold to the Seattle International Church. The building is 13,312 square feet and sits on just shy of half an acre. The sanctuary seats 300. The church asked that we not reveal the selling price, but the property was listed for $1.4 million.

The congregation, led by Reverend Peg Morgan, recently completed a four month capital campaign and raised over $750,000 to purchase the building plus provide for necessary repairs and upgrades. Membership at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation is growing and this building matches the organization’s anticipated needs for space and events. The first service will be September 12, 2010. Until then, the congregation will continue to meet at the Masonic Temple with church offices at the new building. A formal dedication service is scheduled on Sunday evening, October 24. More than 50 clergy from throughout the Pacific Northwest will participate.
The Fellowship was founded in 1963. Services were first held in members’ homes. Later the Fellowship bought a home on Walnut Street where it met for several years. The Walnut Street house was sold when the church entered a lease with the Masons and have met in the Masonic Temple. In 2008, the congregation changed its name to the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Current membership is approximately 150 adults, and 80 youth and children in its Religious Education program.

Rev. Morgan and vanHaagen pointed out that the most noticeable aesthetic difference between the Masonic Lodge and their new home is that the Lodge had no windows and the church is wrapped in them.

“There are things that we want to do to make the world better,” said Morgan. We will be able to host Family Promise of Seattle, the homeless families program. We can have forums for issues that come up in West Seattle. We could do concerts here, too.”

“There’s a lot of excitement about having a home of our own,” said vanHaagen. “It’s been a dream for 20 years for our congregation. It’s big, and it’s ours.”

Their Uniform Affirmation:

"Love is the doctrine of this congregation,
The quest for truth is its sacrament.
And service is its prayer.
To dwell together in peace.
To seek knowledge in freedom.
To serve humanity in fellowship.
Thus do we covenant with one another."

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