Covenant & History
A covenant is an agreement made collectively by the congregation regarding how we want to be in relationship with one another.
We come together in the spirit of love,
creating sacred space to share life’s transitions,
embrace diversity, and grow our spirits.
As we tell our stories and deepen our bonds,
we share our hearts and help to heal the world.
So reads the beginning of our beloved congregation’s covenant.
Guided by our Unitarian Universalist principles and recognizing relationships with
ourselves, our community, and the world, we:
- Strive to create and sustain a safe and sacred sanctuary when we come together in mind,
body, and spirit.
- Provide opportunities and support to each other in our spiritual and intellectual
- Share life’s transitions, celebrating our joys and mourning our losses as we encourage each
other to explore and grow.
- Embrace diversity in all forms, including age, race, gender and affectional expression, socio-
economic situation, and faith perspective.
- Deepen our bonds by reaching out, affirming, forgiving, repairing, and sustaining
- Aspire to listen deeply to each other’s stories and to share our own.
- Promote and strengthen our community so it will embody our values and carry them into the
- Nurture and help to heal the world through our work for justice and peace.
WUUC was founded as part of the UUA’s Extension Ministry program to provide a liberal religious community and voice in fast-growing suburban Woodinville and the surrounding areas. We opened our doors for our first service in February of 1991. Barbara Wells, the founding minister, had been with the East Shore UU Church (in nearby Bellevue, WA) for several years and welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the creation of the Woodinville Church. A handful of members of East Shore joined her to provide early leadership. Over one hundred adults and almost as many children were present for the first service.
Church in a Box 1991- 1992
We met in the Hollywood Schoolhouse, a historical Woodinville building. The facility was charming, with brick walls and old wood floors. Every Sunday morning everything had to be carried down two flights of stairs to set up for the worship service. We referred to ourselves as a ‘church in a box.’
Our Charter Sunday was in October of 1991. It was a festive Sunday evening service. Visiting ministers from all around the area joined us for the ceremony. The charter was signed by 108 members. Some of us had come from neighboring UU churches, but many had never been part of a UU church before. We were learning how to be a community; we were learning how to be Unitarian Universalists. It was apparent we were outgrowing the Hollywood Schoolhouse.
Date founded: 10/23/1991
Church in a Mall 1992-1997
Our next church home, beginning in the fall of 1992, was in a strip mall. We went from a ‘church in a box’ to a ‘church in a mall!’ Soon we were outgrowing this space as well. We tried several options over the next few years to accommodate our growing numbers with limited space. In 1995, charter member Stan Crow became our first paid, part-time Director of Religious Education (DRE).
We had a vision of having our own church home one day but knew it was a very big dream and would take a lot of time, planning and funding. We weren’t deterred, however, and began looking for a place to build our church in 1997.
Church in a Church 1997-2003
Early in 1998, Barbara Wells announced her resignation as our minister. She and her husband Rev. Jaco ten Hove, the minister at Edmonds UU Church, were finally going to pursue their dream of a joint ministry. Sue Turner stepped in as our interim minister for the 1998-99 church year.
In the fall of 1998, we began meeting at Northshore United Church of Christ (NUCC) on Sunday evenings at 5 pm. All parties were aware that this would be a temporary situation until we could purchase land and build a church of our own. In the spring we called Alan Taylor to be our new minister starting in September 1999.
During the four years Reverend Taylor served as our minister we continued to meet at NUCC on Sunday evenings and continued to pursue our dream of building our own church home. Thanks to the perseverance of charter member Jim Kimbrough, we found land and held capital campaigns to raise the money for the land and then for the building.
On May 5, 2002 we broke ground on our new building. From building a 150-foot long, ten-foot high retaining wall, framing, roofing, and installing plumbing to hanging drywall and running electrical cables, WUUC volunteers put in thousands of hours of volunteer labor. Our fearless, yet patient, construction chief (charter member and general contractor) Bob Ditzler devoted more than a year and a half of his life to this project. His core crew of volunteers, “The Dirty Dozen,” joined him every Saturday morning to get their assignments and instruction and spend their Saturdays and many Sundays as well building our church. Bob’s leadership challenged and inspired many of us to try things we never thought we could do and feel incredible accomplishment. Rev. Taylor made the decision to start a new ministry, and left shortly before we were ready to move into our church home.
A Home of Our Own 2003-2009
On Sundays in the summer of 2003, we gathered for informal services in the unfinished sanctuary before spending the rest of the day continuing to work on the church. We also spent the summer searching for a new part-time consulting minister and a part-time DRE. Rev. Alex Holt became our consulting minister in August 2003.
On the morning of September 7, 2003, we held our first official service in our new building! Many visited us that fall, and we were and are still proud to say, “We built it for you!”
On Christmas Eve morning in December 2003, Rev. Holt had a very serious auto accident while turning into the church’s drive. The congregation supported him through his recovery and convalescence, and area ministers served as guest speakers until he could return to the pulpit.
In the spring of 2005, Rev. Alex Holt was called to be our settled minister. Soon after occupying our building, we acquired and our volunteer construction crew repaired and installed two portable classrooms to house our RE classrooms and meeting space. Also in 2005 we hosted Tent City 4, a homeless encampment on our campus for the first time. They would return again in 2006 and 2009.
In the spring of 2008, Rev. Holt resigned and for the next two years WUUC was a lay-led congregation, taking the opportunity to design a worship program that used the services of a rotating group of professional ministers including Revs Amanda Aikman, Kit Ketchum, Keith Kron, Roger Kurht, and Karen Taliesin, as well as guest speakers and lay speakers. In 2009, charter member and former DRE, Stan Crow, died while serving as Board President and we held his memorial service.
Embracing Social Justice 2010 – 2018
Rev. Lois Van Leer became our consulting minister in the summer of 2010. In 2011 we expanded our religious education focus to a lifelong learning program and Carrie Krause joined us as Director of Lifelong Learning (DLL) that summer. The year of 2011 culminated with a celebration of the 20th anniversary of our founding, attended by many UUs from around the region, including alums of WUUC and our founding minister Rev. Barbara ten Hove (née Wells).
In 2012 we hosted the Camp Unity homeless encampment on our campus and they returned again in 2013/2014.
In the spring of 2013 we called Rev. Van Leer as our settled minister, increasing her to full-time and making investments in part-time staff positions. Over the next few years our attendance increased and membership topped 185. Our justice work became a stronger focus and we partnered with others to help pass Marriage Equality in Washington State in 2015, adopted a resolution related to Black Lives UU in early 2017, and expanded our efforts related to being a Welcoming Congregation. The board adopted policy governance in 2015, putting more responsibility on the minister, including budget and fiscal responsibility and staff hiring.
Rev. Jaelynn Scott, an ordained Buddhist minister, started as Director of Lifelong Learning in the summer of 2016. Rev. Scott partnered with Rev. Van Leer on many worship services, and led several services during Rev. Van Leer’s three month sabbatical in early 2017. For several months after the sabbatical, the two leaders experimented with co-ministry and multi-generational services designed to appeal to a diverse and multi-cultural congregation. We were not able to commit to compensation for our DLL at a full-time associate minister’s level, and with mixed reactions to the new worship and RE formats, in March 2018 Rev. Scott resigned and left, and Rev. Van Leer also resigned before leaving in June.
Interim Period 2018-2020
We entered into a two-year interim period in mid-2018 and Rev. Diana Smith joined us as Interim Minister. During this period we have taken time to reflect upon major milestones in our congregation’s first three decades, diversify our social justice ministries, start to rebuild our RE program, and adopt a new governance model, moving away from policy governance to a collaborative governance model.
The first year of interim ministry was focused on looking back and the second year is focused on preparing for settled ministry. Additional information regarding this period is incorporated into our questionnaire responses.