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Have you always wanted to see Seattle by exploring its spiritual landmarks? Visiting spiritual locations can help you to refresh and recharge. Your group can reconnect with each other and the beliefs that ground you as a community. There are many varieties of spiritual trips. A spiritual trip may be educational, where your group learns about a location. You might tour different houses of worship, such as synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples.
Or, maybe your group is looking for a retreat or they want to go on a pilgrimage; their focus is relational not educational. As anyone who’s planning a spiritual trip knows, mission trips, retreats, day trips all require massive planning and organizing. There are endless tasks to work through. You’ll gather permission slips, create itineraries, find chaperones, and so on. A charter bus rental allows you to focus on the experience, not the transportation. While your group travels to the location, you can play icebreakers or prayer together and build community.
Seattle’s location along the Pacific Coast has meant that it’s been a hub of different cultures and traditions, and its spiritual landmarks mirror this rich diversity. Here are several of them gathered with overviews, in case you’re considering what might be most interesting for your group.
Saint James Cathedral was built in 1905, after the Bishop’s seat was moved from Vancouver to Seattle in 1903. Bishop O’Dea laid the cornerstone on November 12, 1905. The cathedral was designed by James Stephen and was dedicated December 22, 1907. Its facade and design are mostly Italian Renaissance, and it was initially built with a stained glass dome, however the original dome collapsed in 1916 due to a snowstorm. Over the years, it has undergone several renovations, with the largest restoration occurring in 1994. Today the parish operates many ministries to both parishioners and non-parishioners, alike.
The Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple, located on South Main Street, is also known as the Seattle Buddhist Church, or Seattle Betsuin. It traces its roots back to 1901 when the first Jodo Shinshu Buddhist service occurred in the Pacific Northwest. Their current temple was dedicated in 1941, and for a brief time was used by the United States. In 1986, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Every Sunday they have Dharma services beginning at 10 a.m, and they also offer meditation, book club, and temple tours.
Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism is nestled in the heart of the Greenwood neighborhood in Seattle and is of the Tibetan Buddhist lineage. Its building was initially the First Presbyterian Church (built in 1928) and housed various Christian denominations over the years until 1984 when the Sakya Tegchen Choling Center purchased it. The building has undergone many renovations to bring it to its current state. In 1998 the outside was painted in traditional Tibetan colors, and several stupas were built. There are public meditations on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings; otherwise the monastery is home to both lay practitioners and to monks.
First United Methodist Church of Seattle is the oldest congregation in Seattle. They were founded in 1853 and their first services were held in a log cabin by Rev. David Edwards Blaine with four founding members. Although there have been many changes— location moves, mergers of churches, and so forth— the church has continued to be of service to the Seattle community at large. Their current location was purchased in 2007, and its dedication was held January 31, 2010. The congregation has regular services as well as many outreach ministries for families and individuals in Seattle.
Saint Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral serves members of the Orthodox Church in America, however that was not its origin; originally its parishioners belonged to the Orthodox Church, and were immigrants from Russia, Greece, and other Slavic countries. Its current home was built in the Russian Church style and was dedicated and named a cathedral on December 13, 1941. They hold vespers on Saturday evenings and liturgy on Sunday mornings. The inside of their sanctuary houses many beautiful icons and incense is a regular part of their worship.