Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

Remodeling church building makes partnership with Y more visible

Faultleroy United Church of Christ will dedicate its $2.6 million remodeled building on Sept. 26.

Fauntleroy foyer
Fauntleroy UCC in Seattle dedicates $2.6 million renovation.

For nine months, it moved out of its offices and now has new offices and a shared entry for the church and the YMCA that shares the building in the Southwest Seattle area of middle- to upper-middle class residents.

The Rev. David Kratz said the church has wanted to bring its building up to date, including installing an elevator to reach all five floors in its education building. 

They started a capital campaign in 2005 and completed the first phase in fall 2008 replacing a large window in the sanctuary that had dry rot. 

In June 2009, the church voted to create a new narthex, a gathering space with floor to ceiling windows that replicate the sanctuary window.

The elevator eliminated five bathrooms in the building built in 1951 and connected the sanctuary with classrooms in the education wing and fellowship hall built in 1958.  Bathrooms were relocated.

On entering the older building, people immediately saw a wall. Now that wall is open and people see the church office and YMCA office.  The two have worked cooperatively since 1923.  The YMCA became an official branch in 1949.

In the new building, the two share spaces for children’s activities and a multiuse place used for pilates classes for the Y and a music room for the church, Kratz said.

“With the new lobby, we feel we share the space,” he said.

The project also includes new playground space, repairs to the rock wall in the memorial garden, a new phone system purchased in conjunction with the YMCA.

The church originally raised $1.9 million, the cost a few years ago.  Now it will need another campaign to pay off the debt to the UCC Cornerstone Foundation.

“It was a big project for our 380-members, especially with hard times hitting in 2008 and 2009,” he said, “but the people are arranging to complete their commitments.

“The church’s connection with the Y is an important part of our identity,” Kratz said.  “It the glory years of the 1950s and 1960s, many people were in the church, the Y and a public school across the street.”

The vision was that the church and the YMCA were part of the community and were there to respond to needs of the community.

After the school closed, there were fewer children for the church and Y to serve.  So in the 1970s, some tensions arose between the organizations that still had some carryover when Kratz came as minister in 1986.

In 2007, the church and YMCA developed a memorandum of understanding about their responsibilities to ensure that the partnership is strong, based on respect and mutual support, as originally envisioned by Fauntleroy leaders.

The church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008, but it wasn’t a Congregational Church until 1911.  Early settlers came from Plymouth Coongregational UCCThe church was the largest from 1969 to 1971, when it was about 500. 

When Kratz came, he said about 200 leaders, involved with the church since the 1950s, were ready to welcome new leaders in their 40s and 50s.

“We see ourselves as a community center, cooperating with the Y on a preschool and a all festival that draws 1,500 for games, activities and performances in the former school building,” he said.

The preschool, which serves 75 children, started in 1952 is now run on its own. 

During construction, Fauntleroy had to suspend hosting homeless families four to five times a year through Family Promise. 

The program itself has temporarily suspended in the Seattle area because of need to recruit more churches to help provide funding for social services families need to find housing and jobs.

Fauntleroy, a Greening Congregation, also installed a heat pump and triple windows as part of the remodeling to help the church save fuel.

The church’s interest in church building extends beyond its community.  It has sent five mission teams to help build a church and dorm for teachers at a village near Oaxaca, Mexico.

For information, call 206-932-5600 or email

Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © September-October 2010





Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share