Christ Episcopal Church

University District + Seattle WA

palm church procession through dumpster alley palm church procession through dumpster alley tree growing sky classrooms baptism of baby by priest beautiful sanctuary with stained glass childrens art of Noah's ark rainbow baptism of baby by priest building tiny houses community social justice work Black Lives Matter, pride flag at Christ Church historic church sanctuary

The History of Christ Church (1903—present)

The Mission at University Station

In 1903, the year Christ Church was established, the University District was a developing residential district called Brooklyn. Travel between Seattle and Brooklyn was only by boat or railroad until David Denny built the Latona Bridge in 1891. This hand-operated drawbridge carried horse-drawn traffic and streetcar tracks which extended north. In 1895, after the University moved from downtown Seattle, the streetcar station at 42nd & 14th was named "University Station" (now University Way).

The first church was built in 1906.

The 1900 census listed about 400 people in the Brooklyn Addition. Among them were the founding families of Christ Church. Col. J. N. Gilmer and family moved to E 45th & 15th NE in March of 1903. The family found it difficult to attend the nearest Episcopal church, so with some of their neighbors, including Dean Milnor Roberts of the College of Mines at the UW, they founded "the mission at University Station", named All Saints Church. The name was changed to Christ Episcopal Church later, in order to avoid confusion with another All Saints parish in the diocese.

“Rector Builds His
Own Little Church —
Rev. G. Clement King
Has New Mission at
University Heights
— Seattle P-I,
Oct. 14, 1906

At first they shared space with the Baptists in a hall over the drugstore at 14th NE & E 42nd. The first vicar, Rev. Dr. George Clement King, had trained in carpentry as part of his missionary preparations in Scotland. With the aid of parishioners, he undertook the construction of a wood frame chapel on the corner of NE 47th Street and Brooklyn Avenue NE. The church was dedicated on Nov. 1, 1906.

Hyland Hall

Hyland Hall

The Rev. Willis Henri Stone was rector from 1909-1921. During this time, Dr. Herbert Gowen, head of the Dept. of Oriental Studies at the UW, was a significant member of the Christian Education program at Christ Church. He spoke at the church's 50th Anniversary. The congregation also founded Hyland Hall for Episcopal women students at the university. From the 1911 Annual Report: “On October 19, 1910, a beautiful home, thoroughly equipped for the accommodation of sixteen young women of the University of Washington, was established by All Saints’ Church [later Christ Church] under the name of Hyland Hall. The purpose of this organization is to maintain a high standard of excellence in the life of University women, and to create an atmosphere conducive to the attainment of perfect womanhood. As an average there have been fifteen young ladies in the Hall. So many more applications have been received, however, that the Board of trustees hopes in the near future to obtain a building which will accommodate 25 women.”

The original chapel was moved and
remodeled to serve as as a parish hall in 1914.

The church changed from a mission to a parish in 1912. In 1914, the chapel was converted into a parish hall and the current church building was erected on the corner lot. In 1921, the young women of Hyland Hall paid off the remaining $1,000 mortgage of the church, in memory of the Rev. W. H. Stone.

The Great Depression

The Rev. Paul Boynton James was rector from 1922-1942. He was also appointed student chaplain at the UW in 1922. His scholarship attracted professors from the UW including Prof. William Wilson and Dr. Frederick Padelford, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Shell Oil Station, 1931

During the Depression, the parish hall was donated to the YMCA for a gymnasium and moved to 12th NE. The church was moved to that lot and the corner was leased to Shell Oil for a gas station in order to help stabilize church income. However, lean times and disaffection with Boynton's high church orientation reduced membership and finances to a critical level. Boynton died in 1942 and the church was without leadership for two years.

Canterbury Club

The Rev. Lewis James Bailey revived university involvement during his tenure from 1944-1948. Canterbury Club was created with the Rev. David Cochran as chaplain. The diocese bought a house for him and his family; students were welcome there for tea, supper, discussions and social gatherings. Gatherings were also held in the "undercroft" or basement of the church.

Canterbury Club

When the new church house was built in 1954, an office and lounge were added for their use. The church house was dedicated on Nov. 21, 1954. This structure, erected on the corner lot, was made for offices, Sunday School classes and meeting rooms. Plans had been made to rebuild the church as well, but these were put on indefinite hold and the church building was bricked.

The corner of NE 47th & Brooklyn Ave NE, 1954

Community Concern

"The campus in those days [1960s] was not immune to the life beyond its borders. I remember accompanying Bishop William Lewis, Canon Rudy Devik and students to a civil rights rally in Seattle. Students were returning from voter registration trips to the South.” The Rev. Jacob (Jake) Beck, Canterbury Chaplain from 1962 to 1964.

Concern for our community continues to this day at Christ Church. We have been involved with Neighbors in Need, Teen Feed, University Churches Emergency Fund and the founding of the Emergency Feeding Program. We have supported Multi Faith Works, participating in the annual AIDS Walk and AIDS Care teams, as well as individual parishioners working one-on-one with MFW clients. Deacon Mary Shehane, who was chaplain to Canterbury Club (now the UW Episcopal Campus Ministry) founded the Sanctuary Art Center while at Christ Church. Christ Church supports other organizations in the University District on the issue of homelessness, our parish outreach priority.

Christ Episcopal Church today.

Christ Church was designated a Century Corporation by the State of Washington.

Christ Episcopal Church Clergy

1904-1909 Rev. George Clement King
1909-1921 Rev. Willis Henri Stone
1922-1942 Rev. Paul Boynton James
1944-1948 Rev. Lewis James Bailey
1948-1955 Rev. Walter William McNeil Jr.
1955-1958 Rev. Dr. David Stanley Alkins
1959-1970 Rev. Dr. Ainsley Maxwell Carlton
1971-1979 Rev. Henry Jesse Jr.
1979-1980 Rev. Joseph Irwin McKinney, Interim
1980-1994 Rev. Barrett Kelland Lindsey
1994-2012 Rev. Stephen Garratt
2012-2014 Rev. Rachel Endicott, Interim
2014-now Rev. Shelly Fayette