(King County Assessor’s Office photo)
Last December, we reported on Admiral Congregational Church pastor Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom speaking to the Admiral Neighborhood Association about his church’s future, saying “changes” were inevitable for its underutilized 27,000-square-foot site. While no specific plan has yet been crafted, the pastor wanted to share an open letter today to address “rumors” and “misunderstandings”:
Greetings to our neighbors in Admiral-
I have heard from a few of our immediate neighbors that a number of inaccurate rumors are rapidly spreading regarding the future of the oldest church in West Seattle, Admiral Congregational United Church of Christ, located at California and Hill Street in the North Admiral District. We would like to correct those misunderstandings and give everyone the facts as they presently exist.
Over the past 12-18 months, our congregation has come to realize that we are too small in size and our building is too expensive to maintain for us to continue with “business as usual”. We have thus embarked on discussions amongst ourselves and with others about what types of change might provide for long-term sustainability and health. One option we needed to seriously consider was to sell our property and move to some other location. Our congregation has overwhelmingly decided that we DO NOT want to sell our property or leave our neighborhood. We love being Admiral’s church.
Therefore, we have engaged the services of an architect and design firm to conduct a feasibility study for our property. We have asked them to give us insight on possible uses based on our needs, those of our mission partners (A Child Becomes pre-school, numerous 12-step recovery groups that use our facilities, and other community users), and other income-generating options. We have also started conversations with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Admiral Neighborhood Association about the needs of the North Admiral area in terms of housing, green space, and other services/amenities.
We want to stress that we are in the very preliminary stages of gathering information. We are endeavoring to be as transparent as possible, and we want community input on how we move forward together. At the same time, we are also clear that we cannot continue to serve this community without significant changes to how we operate. We hope that this information will address some of the rumors we have heard.
As pastor to this neighborhood, I keep community office hours at the Admiral Bird on Wednesdays from 1:30-3:00pm. If you have questions, concerns, praises, or pastoral needs, please feel free to meet with me there or contact me by call/text at 206-512-7537 if you’d like to schedule a meeting.
In Peace and Solidarity,
The church’s site at 4320 SW Hill is zoned Lowrise 3.