Awake Church was born in 2008 when a group of Jesus' followers in north Seattle were prompted to wonder about the love of God being tied up with love of neighbors. Our founding pastor, Ben Katt, convened weekly gatherings in the back room of a local coffee shop for us to pray and share communion, explore the scriptures, and scheme about our participation with the Holy Spirit's movement in the neighborhood. We visited motels, created a communal garden, hosted backyard BBQs and grew in affection for one another and for the world of Aurora Avenue. This led also in 2011 to the creation of a non-profit community center called Aurora Commons, which exists as a space for every variety of neighbor to experience hospitality and community.
We have continued to gather weekly in a number of different ways - in living rooms, parks and backyards, in an old Lutheran church building, a senior center, the Aurora Commons, and now in a dimly lit Chinese restaurant, which can grow on you for its sort of underground catacomb vibe. Our fellowship has changed over the years - some people have joined, some children have been born, some have moved away, and some have moved into new seasons of life. Each of these changes impact the shape of our life together, but we remain a people who are seeking to be formed into the image of Jesus with an integration of our place and our homes, our work and our artistry, our celebrations and our sorrows.
Awake welcomes everyone who identifies as human.
We have a low-barrier way of gathering together, which means we can be comfortable with people coming and going, causing mild disturbances, dressing out of fashion, and asking strange questions. We don't have a dress code, smell code, or moral code because we want to stumble into communion as our most honest selves, which is how we believe Jesus is most delighted to meet us.
Our community is made up of families, couples, single people, and lots of young children. Pretty much all of us are struggling in one way or another, but we've discovered something powerful about doing that in community. We are social workers, therapists, business men and women, techies, builders, artists, hustlers, students, teachers and parents. We grieve deeply, celebrate joyfully, forgive readily, and try to share life in a way that resembles the character of Jesus.
Aurora Avenue (99) is a storied highway running north out of downtown Seattle. Before the advent of I-5 it was the primary route in and out of the city and you can still see traces of those glory days - service stations, drive in restaurants, an elephant sculpture, and the iconic motels. These motels, many of which were built in the 1960s to accommodate booms of business travelers, are now being utilized as short term "housing" for people who experience barriers to the more stable options (poor credit, lack of rental history, inability to acquire security deposits, refugee situations, etc.). And now Aurora has acquired a reputation as one of the primary "strips" in the Seattle area for the harsh realities of drug dependence, street-based sex work, and more visible forms of homelessness - people sleeping outside, under awnings, or in vehicles.
Aurora is also where to go if you want to buy used cars or appliances.
Our church most closely identifies with a segment of this highway that forms an intersection of socio-economic worlds. To the west is the residential community of Greenwood with its eclectic coffee shops, restaurants, bars and boutiques. To the east is the upscale Greenlake neighborhood with its large houses and lovely parks. And so it's easy to disregard the highway between these worlds as nothing more than a transportation corridor with a reputation, but for the imagination being shaped in us Aurora has become a kind of world unto itself, a place with its own story, its own people and its own emergences of God's Kingdom. And we have grown to love it.
As a collective, Awake is a Bible-believing, Trinitarian-oriented congregation of mission-minded Christians who entrust themselves to the human Jesus, believing that he lived, died and became resurrected in order to take upon himself the full weight of sin and evil in the world, carry it to the other side of death, and thereby enact the victory that reconciles the beauty of heaven with the reality of earth. We agree with the summary of faith expressed in this 4th century communal document called the Nicene Creed:
“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.”
As a community of individuals we connect (and struggle) with these basic tenants of orthodoxy in a variety of ways, with a variety of theological perspectives, and from a variety of religious backgrounds. We value this diversity and we honor the sacred process of questioning and doubting and wrestling in all matters of faith and spirituality.
We also believe that our faith is formed and communicated most matter-of-factly in our style of life, so we crafted this statement several years ago as an effort to express the integration.
our contact info.
snail mail - 8525 Greenwood Avenue N - Seattle, WA - 98103
e mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
voice mail - 206.455.5470
(note that our gathering space address is different from our mailing address.)