We worship in the beautiful space of a building that is over a century old. When not in the middle of a pandemic, we meet in the Great Hall where golden light pours in through vibrant stained-glass windows set against a tall vaulted ceiling. The room is empty and the space is flat, like a canvas waiting to be painted. We place immense value on the flexibility and creativity of our physical worship environment, transforming and shifting it to fit our changing needs and the changing seasons.
Our church is located on a busy and dynamic corner, and many new business and restaurants have opened as the upper Fremont neighborhood has grown dramatically over the years. We have no parking lot, but parking is free on the surrounding streets. (There is a paid parking lot located on Fremont Ave. between 43rd and 44th Ave.) Our building is wheelchair accessible, though there is not specifically marked accessible parking on the street.
Our worship is a unique experience. If you are coming from a very traditional church background you may find similarities in the prayers and shape of the liturgy, in some familiar tunes and occasional chanting, and in the Eucharist. But we also do things very differently – we strive to embrace a worship experience that honors all of who we are and what we bring to the table. That means we are not afraid to bring the world and culture around us into our worship time together, where secular and sacred are blurred. We embrace experimentation.
Music is one of the core ways we worship and explore beauty at COTA. We have an extraordinarily large community of musicians who contribute regularly. To find out more, click below:
We prefer to call our sermons “Reverbs” – when someone preaches, the Scriptures read or sung reverberate within us, reflecting off the contours of our individual and collective experiences. We are a community of (among other things) social workers, scientists, artists, engineers, educators, retired and jobless. We believe that God can speak powerfully through the unique life and work experiences of each one of us, seminary degree or no. In most services our Reverb-ers are lay members of the congregation invited to share their own spirit-led insights from the texts.
If you are interested in the Reverb writing process hit the button below:
During the middle of our worship, we set aside a time that we call “Open Space.” We value a more interactive worship that honors all of our body's senses and ways of knowing, so we create stations around the room to interact with the theme and scriptures of the day. Some examples are a prayer space with candles, a craft project, a waffle making station, community art pieces, a conversation room, spices to smell, games to play, a pillow to nap on, a labyrinth to walk, and on and on. The possibilities are endless, so don’t be surprised when half the congregation stands up to walk around the room. (The other half might sit and pray or drink tea, and all of these responses are welcome.)
There are no requirements to receive communion at our table. Just as we believe Jesus radically welcomes all people without price, we also welcome everyone and anyone to Christ’s table of love and forgiveness. We see the Eucharist as the gravitational center of our identity – we believe it both embraces us for who we are and forms us into who we are becoming.
As part of our practice of hospitality, we use a gluten-free and vegan bread recipe that is also delicious and usually steaming hot from the oven! We offer both wine and grape juice.
When you attend worship for the first time at Church of the Apostles you might have a hard time figuring out who the clergy actually are. We only wear our black shirts and white liturgical dresses on special feast days or somber occasions. COTA believes in a firm commitment to the concept of the priesthood of all believers. This means not only a flattening of the church hierarchy, but also a lifting up of the laity who are the gathered assembly of ministers.
We love children! This is an extraordinary time with some brand-new challenges for celebrating and inviting children in the center of our community. Right now we're inviting kids to use Zoom to read scriptures, to participate in videos for special occasions, and to join in our virtual dance parties. During Open Space time there are always activities for children curated by our incomparable and brilliant Erin Quarterman.
Click below for a taste of what things are like during normal times.
Every Sunday at COTA, we have at least one icon available with candles for prayer. These icons were painted (or "written" in Iconography slang) by one of our beloved former members, Skye Harvey. They are meant to reflect more accurate skin tones, as well as gender-neutral and full trinitarian expression. They are painted on wood and have been hauled all over the place, so they are a little chipped up - but they have been surrounded and covered in the prayers of our community for years upon years.
As beings made in the image of the Creator, we feel that the truest, most authentic expression of our faith comes from our creativity. This gallery shows some of the art we have made collectively as a community during worship.