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Next step in Admiral Church’s redevelopment plan: Questions for you

Back in April, we reported on Admiral UCC Church‘s decision on what future to pursue for its half-acre North Admiral site, after years of discussion, both within the church and with the wider community: The church decided to explore partnering with Homestead Community Land Trust, so that part of the site could become “permanently affordable, ownership-focused housing.” Now the next step: Admiral Church has launched a brief community survey, 10 questions on one page. You can respond here. The church has been journeying toward change for its site for more than three years, realizing that the status quo is financially unsustainable, as discussed in a February community meeting.

FOLLOWUP: Admiral Church chooses a path for its property

(Looking northwest toward Admiral Church. WSB photo from February)

Back in February, we covered a community meeting at which Admiral Church leaders explained three paths they were considering to avoid an eventual financial crisis. At an all-church meeting earlier this month, the church has decided which path to take. As summarized by pastor Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom, “We have decided to start the process of drafting an MOU with Homestead Community Land Trust to gift them the total of our real estate for the development of permanently affordable, ownership-focused housing. The development will include a flexible use space exclusively for Admiral Church’s ministries to continue in the North Admiral neighborhood.” He offered context in a message to the congregation, published in the church newsletter this past Sunday – here’s an excerpt:

Those who gathered and those who voted by proxy [on April 3] decided that Admiral Church would no longer be a wealthy landowner in North Admiral. The congregation has consented to begin a process by which we discern who we are and the problems we want to solve in cooperation with Homestead Community Land Trust, who themselves are focused on solving the problem of generational poverty. This discernment is not new, but is part of a legacy of renewal here at Admiral Church. We are called to honor our ancestors, learn our history, and meet the current moment with the same fierce Love and welcoming Spirit that kept this church relevant and impactful for generations. So many institutions in our society are living off of their wealth rather than living into their purpose. Admiral Church has always been a church of purpose, a gathering place and a sending space for faithful people in North Admiral. We are choosing to trust God even more, extending Christ’s footsteps into the world.

The church sits on a half-acre of land at 4320 SW Hill in North Admiral, zoned for lowrise multifamily residential development. Its building is 60 years old. Church leaders have been considering some form of redevelopment for three years. They’re promising more information soon about their chosen path.

Admiral Church considering three paths to its future, to avert ‘financial crisis’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

More than three years ago, Admiral Church told community members that “big changes” were in its future.

Planning for those changes was subsequently shelved. But now it’s actively happening again, as the church has flatly declared that a “looming financial crisis” makes the status quo unsustainable.

So, church leaders told a community meeting this afternoon, they’re pursuing three potential paths for the future of the church (4320 SW Hill) and its 27,000-square-feet site:

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Admiral Church community meeting

Admiral Church is facing a financial crisis which will almost certainly mandate administrative and physical changes to our property as soon as 2023.

We realize that our decision-making process does not occur in a vacuum, that our choices/necessities impact our neighborhood as well as Admiral Church.

All are invited to this informational meeting.

FOLLOWUP: Plan scrapped for small shelter at Admiral Church

Last fall, we reported on Admiral Church‘s plan to partner with Operation Nightwatch to host an overnight shelter for 10 men. After meetings in October and November to answer neighborhood questions, last we heard was that the shelter wouldn’t start up before December. Two more months have passed, and now the church has publicly announced that the plan is scrapped, via a “community announcement” on its website:

The hoped-for partnership between Admiral Church and Operation Nightwatch to offer overnight shelter to ten men living on the streets of Seattle is unfortunately not going to be possible. After further study, Nightwatch decided that several building issues, including having only two bathrooms and no openable windows in the sanctuary, make Admiral non-ideal for their purposes.

Admiral Church says Operation Nightwatch is pursuing partnerships with other local churches; we’ll be following up on that.

Meantime, separate from that, the church also has announced that it’s again considering “repurposing of at least part of our property” because of a “looming financial crisis,” and it’s having a community meeting at 2 pm February 20th for everyone interested. Pre-pandemic, the church was pursuing potential site redevelopment, but that’s been on the shelf for 2+ years.

FOLLOWUP: Admiral Church overnight-shelter program not expected to start for at least a month

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“We’re all going to be OK.”

So said a neighbor toward the end of the second community meeting about Admiral Church‘s planned partnership with Operation Nightwatch to give 10 men a safe, warm, dry place to sleep each night. That neighbor was trying to reassure others who continued to voice concerns about the overnight-shelter plan.

Since the Sunday afternoon meeting, which included a chance for neighbors to question Nightwatch executive director Rev. Rick Reynolds, the church’s council has met to further discuss the plan. The church’s pastor, Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom, says the only update from the meeting is that the program won’t start this month after all – “it’ll probably take around a month or more before everything’s ready on Nightwatch’s end.”

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Admiral Church shelter plan community meetings

Update: Second meeting added, noon 11/7.

Admiral Church has voted overwhelmingly to partner with Operation Nightwatch, a long-standing street ministry in Seattle, to provide shelter for up to ten men who otherwise would be sleeping outside this winter. The church is inviting neighbors and interested parties to attend an info session this Sunday, October 24th from 12-12:30 pm to learn more. The meeting will take place at 4320 SW Hill St in North Admiral, in the sanctuary where the men will be sheltered from 9:45 pm to 6:00 am. This ministry program will hopefully begin in mid-November.

UPDATE: Admiral Church community meeting Sunday to discuss plan for overnight shelter

6:20 PM: Aside from the Camp Second Chance tiny-house village, West Seattle does not have a dedicated shelter for people who need one. Local churches have tried to pick up a little of that slack over the years. The next one to try to help is Admiral Church, which sent us this announcement:

Admiral Church has voted overwhelmingly to partner with Operation Nightwatch, a long-standing street ministry in Seattle, to provide shelter for up to ten men who otherwise would be sleeping outside this winter. The church is inviting neighbors and interested parties to attend an info session this Sunday, October 24th from 12-12:30 to learn more. The meeting will take place at 4320 SW Hill St in North Admiral, in the sanctuary where the men will be sheltered from 9:45 pm to 6:00 am. This ministry program will hopefully begin in mid-November.

You can read more about Operation Nightwatch here.

ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: We asked Admiral Church’s Pastor Andrew Conley-Holcom a few followup questions after receiving this announcement on Thursday, and today we received the answers. The shelter guests would be brought by bus from downtown after Operation Nightwatch’s nightly dinner there. Operation Nightwatch will cover all expenses (staff, transportation, utilities, consumables) – what the church is contributing is the space, for “no more than 10 beds, spread out in Admiral’s sanctuary.” It would be “lights out” – or, “last cigarette” – by 11 pm. Everyone has to be up by 6 am and “out of the area by 6:30 am”; the plan for “busing the guys back downtown in the morning” is not yet finalized. An Operation Nightwatch staff person would “do half-hour sweeps and logging throughout the stay” and would stay to clean until 7 am.

As for who the men would be, “Guests will be folks already seeking help from Nightwatch but who otherwise would be turned away for lack of beds.” We asked about opportunities for community contributions; that won’t be clear until “after the ‘cohort’ gets established,” but “donations to the program are always welcome.”

Admiral Church Music Fund benefit concert

Lovers and Supporters of Music: Please Join Us for Our Annual Friends of Admiral Concert October 10, 2021 at 12:00 In the Admiral Church Sanctuary 4320 SW Hill Street

This is a benefit concert for the Admiral Church Music Fund. We are excited to feature the following artists, who have graciously donated their time and talents as true “Friends of Admiral”:

Sam Peters and Tom Peters “Cradle Song” by Frank Bridge “I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still” by Rebecca Clark “Viola Concerto in G, Movement IV: Presto” by George Phillip Telemann Will Stewart Works for Piano and Organ TBA Spring Melt Septet directed by Tobi Stone “Spring Melt” by Paul Mori and Tobi Stone The Happy Accidentals Saxophone Quartet directed by Tobi Stone “Turkish March” by Ludwig Van Beethoven “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck Tobi and the Sass Sisters Jazz Trio Three Jazz Pieces TBA The Admiral Choir/Chimes and Percussion Ensemble directed by Pamela Gerke “Spirit of Life” by Carolyn McDade Tom Peters on piano Tobi Stone on flute Sam Peters on viola

Admiral Church movie-night discussion

Admiral Congregational Church hosts monthly movie nights on Zoom. On Monday, October 12, Pastor Andrew will host a discussion of “Suppressed 2020: The Right to Vote”, a wrenching documentary about efforts to suppress voting, especially voting by African Americans, in the 2018 Alabama governor’s race.

Watch the movie free on YouTube, or find it on the Admiral Church website (admiralchurch.org). Then join us on Monday, October 12 from 8 to 9 pm on Zoom for the discussion of this moving documentary.

Admiral Church presents online documentary viewing, discussion

Monday, August 3, 8 pm, Telling The Truth About Race, an online discussion of “Ferguson: A Report From Occupied Territory”. Documentary and discussion link found at admiralchurch.org. Co-sponsored by West Seattle Meaningful Movies.

Choices, crime, church @ Admiral Neighborhood Association

The Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s every-other-month meeting last night at Admiral Congregational Church was one of the best-attended neighborhood-council meetings we’ve seen in a while. Maybe that was because of its marquee topic – the church’s potential redevelopment – but that wasn’t the only interesting part of the agenda. Here’s how it went:

SURVEY-RESULTS SNEAK PEEK: The ANA’s community survey brought in 269 responses and the results are being analyzed. President David Hancock offered a sneak peek: In response to a question about what services/improvements people would like to see in Admiral, “improved transit” topped the list. What would people contribute time/expertise to? Top answer: Greenspace maintenance/improvement. What topics would people like to learn about at a community meeting? Top answer: Local history. What would encourage people to come to a meeting? The chance to speak with local elected officials. Look for the full results early next year.

SOUTHWEST PRECINCT: A four-person delegation was there – Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner, Community Police Team Officers Will Kohn and Nic Plemel, and Seattle University intern Taylor Lowery.

The officers answered questions, including what to do if someone is sleeping in your business’s doorway:

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TUESDAY: Church redevelopment, more @ Admiral Neighborhood Association

(Massing renderings by GGLO)

Missed the recent “town hall” discussion of Admiral Congregational Church‘s potential early-stage redevelopment concepts (WSB coverage here)? Your next chance is Tuesday, during the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s next meeting. ANA’s agenda highlights:

1. Update from the Seattle Police Department’s Southwest Precinct;

2. Admiral UCC’s Redevelopment Update; and

3. Officer elections and bylaw amendments

All welcome. The meeting is at the church, 4320 SW Hill, 6:30 pm Tuesday (November 12th).

In search of ‘sustainability,’ Admiral Congregational Church shows early concepts of its site’s potential future

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Five years after becoming pastor of Admiral Congregational Church, Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom has to shepherd it through a process with much at stake: The church and its neighborhood’s future.

That’s happening not through sermons, but through conversations like the one he led last week, standing before dozens of people in the church’s living-room-esque gathering space, wearing not a collar but a beanie.

“You’re here on the ground floor,” he explained, as a preface to the presentation on Tuesday night (October 8th).

If that was the ground floor, then you could say the foundation for the conversation was laid last December, when the church hosted an Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, and the pastor told ANA the same thing: Not changing is not an option.

He began last week by putting it all in context, for those not familiar with the church’s operations and the role in the community. “Our goal is to be the neighborhood church of North Admiral.” And with the Jehovah’s Witnesses moving out, he said, “we kinda are.”

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Admiral Congregational Church redevelopment town hall

FOLLOWUP: Admiral Church announces Town Hall to discuss redevelopment plan

September 26, 2019 12:15 pm
|    Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Admiral Church announces Town Hall to discuss redevelopment plan
 |   Development | West Seattle news | West Seattle religion

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

Last December, Admiral Congregational Church‘s pastor told the Admiral Neighborhood Association that the church (4320 SW Hill) was mulling redevelopment. Then in July, the church wrote this “open letter” to the community, mentioning they had hired an architect and design firm for a feasibility study. Now – they’re ready to talk with you about the future. Just announced:

Town Hall: The Future of Admiral Neighborhood’s Church
October 8, 7:00 pm

After much deep thinking about how to serve the North Admiral community, Admiral Congregational UCC has discerned a preliminary plan for redevelopment. We are at the initial stages of surveying the site and connecting with potential development partners, and we want to keep the neighborhood as “in the know” as possible, with opportunities to share hopes, hesitations, and help as folks feel so moved. Please join us in envisioning a vibrant Admiral neighborhood with a sustainable center for justice and mercy at its heart.

Nothing is on file with the city yet, and pastor Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom tells WSB they’re likely as much as a year away from getting to that stage. As noted in our previous coverage, the church’s 27,000-square-foot site at is zoned Lowrise 3.

FOLLOWUP: Admiral Congregational Church’s open letter with ‘the facts as they presently exist’ about its future

(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,
Pastor Andrew
www.admiralchurch.org

The church’s site at 4320 SW Hill is zoned Lowrise 3.

Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band at the Admiral Congregational Church

Admiral Congregational Church invites you to a free performance on the lawn by the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band.

Enjoy the music, the drill team, and the World’s only Sedentary Majorette with her thrilling acts of baton twirling! The band’s sparkling goodwill never fails to make people smile.

Refreshments follow.

BINGO ‘French Picnic’ Benefit for Admiral Church

BINGO “French Picnic”
-for Admiral Church Ministries-
Friday, May 10, 6-9 pm
(Doors open @ 5:30 pm)
Fauntleroy Social Hall,
9140 California Ave SW,

‘Big changes’ ahead for Admiral UCC Church, pastor tells Admiral Neighborhood Association

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With more than a century of history, Admiral Congregational UCC Church is looking to the future with talk of redevelopment.

Exactly how the church will redevelop, its congregation has yet to decide, but its pastor briefed the Admiral Neighborhood Association last night in hopes of getting community dialogue going early.

The ANA also heard from Department of Neighborhoods director Andrés Mantilla in his ongoing mission to visit every neighborhood group in the city.

First – the church. Admiral UCC happened to be the ANA’s meeting site last night – as it was years ago, though the group has met for a while at a former church instead, The Sanctuary at Admiral. Pastor Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom said the ANA’s presence is just one more example of how Admiral UCC’s facilities are used as a community hub; he ticked off a long list of groups that meet there regularly, as well as describing its philanthropy and “community education/enrichment programming,” not to mention its longtime status as home to A Child Becomes Preschool (WSB sponsor). Plus, he said, the church provides space for “values-based” organizations, from community theater to political advocacy. It even serves as a comfort station for bus drivers taking breaks, “a safe, warm place to use a bathroom that’s clean.”

With all that in mind, he said, the church also realized that “we’re sitting on about $4 million worth of property” on a 27,000-square-foot site that is seriously underutilized. Some of the ideas they’re considering so far:

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VIDEO: ‘Years of loving work’ to culminate in Sunday concert dedicating Admiral Congregational Church’s restored organ

November 17, 2017 7:30 pm
|    Comments Off on VIDEO: ‘Years of loving work’ to culminate in Sunday concert dedicating Admiral Congregational Church’s restored organ
 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

That’s Admiral Congregational Church organist Sam Peters, getting ready for a Sunday that will go beyond performing for the congregation: On Sunday afternoon (November 19th) at 3 pm, the entire community is invited to a concert dedicating the restored 21-rank pipe organ in what the concert program calls “a moving culmination of years of loving work for the people of Admiral Church.”

The program – which we obtained while stopping by earlier this week for the photo and video – explains that Admiral Church had a Balcom and Vaughan organ installed in 1962:

As the organ’s 50th birthday approached, then-music director and organist Keith Terhune galvanized a group of Admiral music lovers to work toward restoring and updating their beloved organ. Eventually $92,000 was raised over 4 years, largely from members of the Admiral congregation and surrounding community. The pipes and chests, which had suffered considerable water damage in a severe storm, were renovated and then hybridized to a new state-of-the-art Rodgers electronic 4-manual console.

Peters will be joined at the concert by internationally known, Oregon-based organist Dan Miller and the Admiral Choir, led by Pam Gerke. The program includes a variety of music – hymns as well as selections from composers including Bach, Copland, Handel, and Peters himself (“Variations on Nicaea,” part of which is featured in the video clip above). Admission is free, and refreshments will follow the concert. Doors open at 2:15 pm Sunday at Admiral Church, 4320 SW Hill.

Admiral Church’s new pastor Andrew Conley-Holcom to be ordained just after New Year’s

Admiral Congregational Church is formally introducing its new pastor, who is already leading worship services there, though his ordination is set for just after New Year’s and his formal installation in the spring. Here’s the announcement the church is sharing with the community:

The oldest church in West Seattle has recently called Andrew Conley-Holcom as its new pastor. Admiral Congregational United Church of Christ, located in North Admiral, was founded in 1899 as the West Seattle Congregational Church. Pastor Andrew, in his early thirties and a recent graduate of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, is the youngest pastor that Admiral has ever called.

The congregation voted to accept its Search Committee’s unanimous recommendation to call Andrew in mid-October, and he has been leading worship services since October 19th. He will be ordained on January 3, 2015 at his home church, First Congregational Church of Bellingham, and will be formally installed as Admiral’s pastor in the spring.

Andrew and his wife, Leann (church-provided photo, above right), are originally from the Tacoma area and currently reside in the Ravenna neighborhood. Leann is active as a professional singer, directs the Concert Choir of the Tacoma Youth Chorus, and is a doctoral candidate in choral conducting at the University of Washington.

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Happening now: Trunk or Treat at Admiral Congregational Church

If you’re trick-or-treating at Admiral District businesses – head a bit further north and check out Trunk or Treat at Admiral Congregational Church – decorated cars and creative costumes, plus of course treats.

This is also happening until 6 pm.

The church is at 4320 SW Hill, just west of California. P.S. Remember, our list of everything happening from now until well into the night is at westseattleblog.com/halloween