Alki Church Then & Now
In 1905, the first Sunday School session was held in the Baker Cottage at Spring Hill (now Beach Drive).
In 1907, Alki became the host of a portable day school from the county school system at Chilberg and Carroll.
On Easter Sunday April 11, 1909 the formal organization of the little church at South Alki was completed, naming themselves The Alki Congregational Church of Christ In Seattle.
In 1926-27, the church bought the corner lot located at Hinds and 62nd Avenue SW; the cornerstone for the new building was laid in December, the new building was dedicated on April 3rd, 1927.
From “Til Time be Conquered:” From its very beginning, Alki Church had been the social center of the permanent community. Throughout the records there is mention of one social activity after another — singing, lessons in “self‐expression and poetry, minstrel shows, plays, young people’s parties, luncheons by the Alki Women’s Improvement Club, as well as various affairs the Ladies Aid continually put on to raise money. In addition, the church was the Headquarters in those early days of the volunteer fire department.
Construction of the new building started June 1, 1958 and then on October 12 of that same year, Alki Congregational Church celebrated the completion of its expansion project by dedicating a new sanctuary standing next door to the 1926 church building.
When the church was formed in 1909 it was “The Alki Congregational Church of Christ in Seattle;” in later years it became “The Alki Congregational Community Church.” Brevity won out in 1961, with “Alki Congregational Church” becoming the official name.
In 1963, the Social Action Committee of Alki Church had been reactivated in time to sponsor a community meeting on Open Housing to help voters make an informed judgment on Open Housing Ordinance (access for all citizens to fair housing without discrimination). As a direct result of their work, the following resolution on racial justice was adopted at a church membership meeting:
“We the members of Alki Church, reaffirm our conviction that all forms of racial discrimination are contrary to the basic principles of the Christian faith. We hold that Christ’s redemption of mankind is for every individual, and that each person is of equal worth in the sight of God. Any denial to another of his God‐given rights is not only unjust according to the standards of democracy, but it is sinful according to the standards of Christian conduct derived from the Scriptures.”
Then in 1967, our church would receive most of the credit for establishment of the Family Counseling Center in our community, sponsored by The West Seattle Council on Youth Affairs (WESCOYA).
In 1980, under leadership provided by many members of Alki Church, the West Seattle Food Bank is incorporated and begins serving the community, as well as The West Seattle Helpline.
1982 the Neighbors for Peace began at Alki Church
In 1998 Alki Church voted to become “Open and Affirming.” All people are welcomed at Alki Church regardless of gender or sexual expression.
In 2003, Alki Congregational Church of Christ was renamed Alki United Church of Christ (Alki UCC). That same year, we began a shared space arrangement with Kol HaNeshamah, West Seattle’s progressive synagogue (led by Rabbi Michael Latz).
In 2006, Alki UCC joined a network of churches throughout the area to host homeless families for one week a quarter through a nonprofit program called Family Promise.
In 2009 the congregation collaborated to create and adopt a Mission Statement:
Growing together as disciples of Jesus Christ,
courageously sharing God’s love with each other and the world.
We celebrated our 100th Anniversary in 2009!
In 2010, Alki UCC joined other westside faith communities to create the Westside Interfaith Network (WIN), committed to providing direct services throughout the area, focused on food and housing insecurity and local homelessness. Alki UCC volunteers work side by side with other westside faith communities in an ecumenical bond to lift-up our low-income, unsheltered and immigrant/refugee neighbors.
Alki UCC received a grant in 2015 to participate in Seattle University’s Faith and Family Homelessness Program, a multifaith study and action group working to educate the community about, and find ways to eliminate, homelessness. We branded our program “Homeward Bound.”
Our deep exploration of the systemic roots of homelessness allowed us to understand and better appreciate this crisis in a whole new light, informing our work and the way we approach it as Christians called to care for one another.
At one of our extravagant fundraisers, Alki UCC raised $21,000 to build tiny houses in 2017 for people experiencing homelessess. Ultimately, led by members of Alki UCC, $80k was raised to build 30+ tiny houses at Camp Second Chance in SW Seattle, building together, onsite with the “campers,” through 2019. This program grew under tremendous leadership from the community, evolving into Sound Foundations NW. In particular, the passionate visionary Barb Oliver took Sound Foundations NW to the next level, working with the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to establish The Hope Factory. They build tiny houses almost every day with a crew of volunteers in a warehouse on East Marginal Way, delivering tiny houses to tiny house villages all over the region. We are so proud of what has become of our humble goal of getting every camper out of a tent and into a safe and dry tiny house at Camp Second Chance. Amazing!
Led by the Outreach ministry team, we deepened our commitment to the work of WIN when the pandemic hit in 2020. Alki UCC immediately started collecting clothing, non-perishable food for White Center Food Bank, and vital supplies for the homeless. The church became a conduit for the community to easily donate by opening our doors every Sunday afternoon for drop-off. We recognized that our struggling neighbors severely impacted by the rapid onset of unemployment and loss of services due to the pandemic needed help. This commitment continues today with once-a-month food, mens clothing and supplies drives to support the broader community via WIN.
Also in 2020, Alki UCC completed our discernment after the retirement of a longtime pastor and created our “Future Story” (a vision of where we would like to be in the next five to ten years) with the formation of new ministry teams, conversations about our path forward into the future of Alki UCC as a multifaith community center, and how we can better support our wider community.
We are still deep in this process as we call new leaders to be on the journey with us, most recently Pastor Emily Tanis-Likkel as our new faith leader. God is still speaking!