Real estate and religion: Closures planned at two Capitol Hill and Central District area Catholic churches

(Image: St. Patrick’s)

(Image: King County)

A national trend away from organized religion will be manifesting itself in the Capitol Hill and Central District area as a pair of Catholic churches will close.

The precise timelines are not firm, but the Archdiocese of Seattle has announced that St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s churches will both close, and their congregations will be merged with other nearby churches.

A survey released by Gallup earlier this year found that 47% of Americans belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, the lowest number ever recorded by the organization, and the first time its dipped below 50%. In 1999, the number was 70%, a number that had been relatively stable since the 1930’s, Gallup found.

The numbers are even more acute in Washington, where a 2018 study found that 47 percent of state residents identified as nonreligious, compared to 33% nationwide. The state ranked as the sixth least religious at that time.

As those trends have filtered to the local level, religious institutions have started closing. Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church closed back in 2019. And the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church closed back in 2016. Next up are likely to be the pair of Catholic churches.

What happens to the buildings? “It’s part of the process, but it’s way at the end,” said Helen McClenahan, managing director of communications for the Archdiocese of Seattle. Continue reading

Let us pray for a more affordable city: Seattle to allow taller, denser development on church properties

A project to provide housing at 22nd and Union from the Low Income Housing Institute and the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd could grow with help from the newly approved legislation

As city leaders gear up a legislative process to re-brand so-called “single family” zoning in Seattle, the Seattle City Council passed new rules Monday that will essentially upzone properties owned by religious institutions in return for building new affordable housing.

Monday’s vote could be especially meaningful for the Central District and Capitol Hill where there are dozens of potential sites owned by churches and religious communities. CHS reported here on one example at 22nd and Union where the Low Income Housing Institute and the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd are planning Good Shepherd Housing, an affordable housing development with 75 of its 100 units reserved for homeless residents. Continue reading

Pondering future growth and development, St. Mark’s receives major property gift

(Image: St. Mark’s)

The St. Nicholas building, north of the cathedral (Image: St. Mark’s)

By Jethro Swain

A major gift is helping an important Capitol Hill spiritual community shape the future of its 10th Ave E home.

This fall, Capitol Hill’s St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral was donated full ownership of the St. Nicholas school building by the Laura Ellen and Robert Muglia Family Foundation. The property is worth $8.4 million according to the latest county appraisal.

The St. Nicholas building, adjacent the church and purchased from the Cornish College of Arts in an LLC partnership by Saint Mark’s and the Muglia Foundation in 2003, is primarily used by two independent schools, the Bright Water Waldorf School and Gage Academy of Arts, but is also a hub for a variety of nonprofits in the community. Continue reading

Housing of God? St. Mark’s Cathedral considers future plans for its St. Nicholas building home to Gage Academy and Bright Water School

The St. Nicholas building (Image: The Bright Water School)

There could someday be more than housing for more than the Maker at St. Mark’s Cathedral but any possible changes are still years off as the congregation of Saint Mark’s is beginning considerations of what to do with a signature part of its 10th Ave E campus, the St. Nicholas building. A consultant has recommended changing the building into a multi-family residential development.

The building at 1501 10th Ave E, just north of the cathedral proper, is home to the Gage Academy of Art and the Bright Water Waldorf School. Both of these schools have leases that run through 2023, and the church is in the early phases of deciding what to do with the building when those leases run out.

Even though the consultants have made a recommendation, the Very Rev. Steven Thomason, dean and rector of St. Mark’s stressed that the church is still weighing its options, and that nothing is happening in the immediate future.

“We are not making any decision, any time soon, about what to do with the building,” he said.

The church’s involvement in the property stretches back to 2003. At the time, St. Mark’s and a group called the Willow Trust purchased the building from then-owner Cornish with an eye toward converting it into a parish life center. The church wasn’t ready to move forward with the life center at the time, and so they began renting it out (technically subleasing it, since the building is officially owned by an LLC made up of the church and the trust and then leased to the church) to Gage and Bright Water.

Now the members of the Willow Trust, who have thus far remained anonymous, are granting full ownership of the building to the church. So, the church is beginning consideration of what it will do with the property. Continue reading

Bishop who showed the ‘power in love’ to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan to appear at Capitol Hill’s St. Mark’s

Presiding Bishop Curry

“There is power in love, Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even oversentimentalize it,” the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry said as he made international headlines with his 13-minute long sermon at last month’s royal wedding of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle. “There is power, power in love.”

The Episcopal rock star is now on tour and will be visiting Washington this month with a planned Evensong service at Capitol Hill’s Saint Mark’s Cathedral on Thursday, June 14th at 7 PM: Continue reading

Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church announces it is ending congregation

A sidewalk baptism on Harvard Ave (Image: Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church)

It’s not the typical Capitol Hill landlord and tenant situation we’re used to reporting here on CHS.

The Presbyterian church that has stood at the corner of Harvard and Howell for 95 years will soon be in search of a new congregation.

The Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church announced Wednesday morning that it is ending its congregation and will hold final services on Harvard Ave on June 24th and 9:45 AM. Continue reading

All Pilgrims’ long-awaited Same Love Garden could blossom into a reality this fall

Alleluia! Work on the Same Love Garden at All Pilgrims Christian Church should be moving forward soon.

Pastor Greg Turk said he hoped to finalize paperwork with the city and set construction dates any day now.

“If that’s the case, then they can start breaking ground soon,” he said. If the weather cooperates, that could happen sometime this month. The project is expected to take about two weeks to complete Continue reading

91-year-old Capitol Hill house of worship lives on as At the Church performance space

As one old area church appears destined for demolition at 14th and Spring, a large brick church built in 1925 still sits at the corner of E Olive St. and 13th. But while the building may still look like a church, its function has changed.

The building now hosts congregations of a different sort in its new life as performance venue At The Church. The mysterious venue has been hosting events since at least 2013.

While its ownership declined to be interviewed for this story, according to its website, At the Church is “one of the most unique” venue spaces in Seattle available for live performances and other events.  Continue reading

109-year-old church slated for demolition on 14th Ave

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

The bell tower of 14th Ave’s Progressive Missionary Baptist Church is boarded up, shingles are missing from its roof, and bricks appear to be crumbling away from its walls. While lights were on outside the building this week, demolition plans for the church at the corner of 14th and Spring have been filed with the city. The corner’s future appears to be townhouses — 22, to be exact.

CHS briefly reached Rev. Curtis Taylor of the Word of God Church that owns the old house of worship by phone last week. He told us he couldn’t talk about the property now due to medical reasons. According to city documents, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections has accepted the demolition application filed by Taylor last month. The project is under review and a permit has not yet been issued. Continue reading

Central Lutheran celebrates 125 years of evolving faith on Capitol Hill

IMG_5463Changing with the needs of the community can keep you alive for 125 years. That’s what the leadership of 11th Ave’s Central Lutheran Church believes as the congregation prepares to celebrate the esteemed anniversary November 1st.

“The building continues to change,” Pastor Cindy Salo said of the aged brick chapel and administration buildings along 11th. “But the building hasn’t changed as much as we have. The church has had to become something different to survive in 2015.”

2015 has been an important year for big milestones for Central Seattle houses of worship. 19th and Madison’s Mt. Zion also marked 125 years of community.

Since its establishment in 1890, Central Lutheran, today sitting on the east side of Cal Anderson Park, has managed to continue its service to the neighborhood and its worshippers with openness and a dedication to equality and fairness for all people.

The church was first founded at 7th Ave and Union in a remodeled tin shop as a dedicated English-speaking Lutheran church, contrasting the various Lutheran institutions that catered to immigrants and their languages. The Capitol Hill location’s land was purchased in 1901 for $2,300, according to the Central Lutheran archives. Continue reading