Traditions help to tie a community together. Each time we return to a familiar ritual it helps to give us a sense of security and belonging.


But, Unitarian Universalists are also by nature folks who may prefer change and diversity to the status quo, so these may shift from time to time.


Traditional Worship Services


  • Ingathering  (September / Sunday after Labor Day)  Our church year begins with a water communion. Members bring in water from all the places their year’s travel may have taken them.
  • Animal Blessing (October)  Every other year, we welcome dogs, cats, chickens, hamsters and more into our Sanctuary for an animal blessing service.
  • Blue Christmas (December, in the ten days before Christmas, evening service)  We understand that the holidays can be difficult for many people for many reasons, so each year we offer an opportunity for a Blue Christmas service which acknowledges that, and gives people a chance to connect through these challenges.
  • Christmas Eve (December 24)  We do an evening service where we gather for carols and a message. We end by singing Silent Night and lighting candles around the sanctuary.
  • Easter (springtime). Our tradition for many years has been a Jazz Easter service, where the Portage Bay Big Band (who rehearse in our chapel year-round) join us for a rollicking Easter celebration where we wear our best Easter bonnets.
  • Our Earth Based Spirituality Group also leads seasonal services a few times each year, which might include a flower communion or a May Pole dance.


Each week’s Sunday service also includes two traditions which are core to our community values. After the Time for All Ages (a children’s story), the congregants make an arch over the center aisle – the children go through the tunnel as we sing “We hold you in our love as you go…”  Later in the service, we offer Joys & Sorrows, where members have the opportunity to come forward, light a candle, and share a one or two sentence sharing about a sorrow so heavy they need the help of the community to carry it, or a joy so great that it simply must be shared.


Other Traditions


  • Seamsters’ Holiday Sale (December) Members of the Seamsters sell home-made items in the Sanctuary. Proceeds benefit church beautification projects.
  • Halloween Parade (Oct / Nov)  The young, and young-at-heart, show off their costumes at a Sunday service.
  • Thanksgiving (November)  Members gather for a potluck dinner and board games.
  • Mother’s Day Tea (May)  The children host a special gathering for the grown-ups (mothers and others)
  • Summerfest (a Sunday in July)  Two of our members have a home on Lake Washington, and invite the community every summer for a potluck and fun in the sun. (See photos of past Summerfests.)
  • Summer FUUN – Each summer, we also plan outings, perhaps a ferry trip, or a picnic, or we participate in parades such as Pride Parade or the Kirkland Fourth of July parade (often marching with members of FIRE (Fostering Interfaith Relationships on the Eastside) or KIN (Kirkland Interfaith Network)
  • Campout (Labor Day weekend)  Northlake members join at a campground for a relaxing weekend, featuring a Mexican-food potluck on Saturday evening.


photo of memorial cards at animal blessing
Memories of Beloved Pets at Animal Blessing