The first church building in Seattle, known as the “little white church,” was dedicated May 12, 1855 at the corner of what is now Fifth Avenue and Columbia Street. The Rev. David Blaine established the congregation — Methodist Episcopal — two years earlier.
All these years later, Seattle is known as being somewhat un-churched, yet the city can count well over 500 Christian churches, plus Buddhist temples, Jewish synagogues, two mosques, a Vedanta Society and numerous buildings, clubs and gatherings representing many of the world’s approaches to spirituality.
Two the city’s most prominent landmarks are Christian cathedrals anchoring First Hill and the north end of Capitol Hill: St. James Cathedral and St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, respectively.
A look at Seattle’s churches provides a glimpse of Seattle’s diversity: Anchor Baptist Church, Ananda Church of Self-Realization, Baha’i Faith, Berhane Hiwot Eritrean Church, Breath of Life Seventh Day Adventist Church, Chinese Baptist Church, Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption, Japanese Baptist Church, Korean Catholic Church, Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rose of Sharon Pentecostal Temple, Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas, Samoan Community Church Assembly of God, Seattle Mennonite Church.
Seattle, with its trans-Pacific affinities, is a stronghold of Buddhism, with more than a dozen temples or dharma centers. If the old downtown congregations are not
completely a thing of the past — the beautiful Trinity Parish Episcopal Church on the corner of James Street and Eighth Avenue is a notable hold-out — other churches like Mars Hill Church, with several Seattle locations, are burgeoning.
There is no overreaching organization for all of Seattle’s faith communities, but The Church Council of Greater Seattle, www.thechurchcouncil.org,
founded in 1919, is an ecumenical organization with a focus on peace, social justice, religious and racial tolerance, and has links with non-Christian faiths.
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