By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Tonight’s formal dedication of the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation‘s new Gatewood church was both a solemn occasion and a joyful celebration.
Its opening moments included that procession featuring dozens of clergy members from UU churches around the region (and from West Seattle congregations of other faiths) streaming into the sanctuary (above); its closing moments included the congregation’s children scampering into the sanctuary:
Their appearance echoed one that had kickstarted the campaign that brought the church – which met at the Masonic Hall in The Junction for two decades – into this new home, the former Gatewood Baptist/Seattle International Church (7141 California SW). The congregation moved in last month (here’s our coverage of their ribboncutting ceremony), less than 5 months after taking possession, but tonight brought the formalities and even the president of the UU denomination – our coverage, with more video, continues after the jump:
Three local leaders from non-UU congregations brought greetings toward the start of tonight’s service – first Rabbi Zari Weiss from West Seattle’s Kol HaNeshamah synagogue, blowing the shofar after explaining it:
A short time later, the WSUUs and guests heard from St. John the Baptist Church‘s Rev. Peter DeVeau, and, from Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor), Rev. Joanne Carlson Brown, who revealed that WSUU’s Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan had been a student of hers:
Also speaking: The biggest name among the dozens of guest clergy: The leader of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, Rev. Peter Morales, whose sermon spoke of the “Possible Dream” – including his recollection of one such dream that came true for him, becoming a minister despite not taking that career turn until age 49:
“The dreams that make a difference in our lives are the dreams that can come true,” Rev. Morales observed, adding, “Look at what you have done here – celebrating a dream come true.” The leader of the denomination’s Pacific Northwest District, Janine Larsen, briefly took the pulpit for words of congratulation: “Welcome home,” she told the congregation. And then the most solemn words of the service – the act of dedication, read by Rev. Morgan and congregation president Paula vanHaagen.
The service also was full of music, instrumental and vocal; proceeds from the collection went to the West Seattle and White Center Food Banks. And now that the dedication festivities are over, the church moves into its future – though the spotlight might linger a while longer; the Seattle Times (WSB partner) has published a story tonight about the whirlwind fundraising campaign that made the building purchase and renovations possible (read it here).