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11920 Northeast 80th Street
Kirkland, WA, 98033


We are a Jesus-focused, inclusive community of faith that strives to live as Jesus lived in real, everyday ways. Come Thrive Go. Salt House is a Church on Seattle's Eastside located in Kirkland, Washington. 

Location: 11920 NE 80th Street, Kirkland, WA 98033.

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Salt House + ELCA Sanctuary Church Body

Jason Bendickson

If you’ve been around Salt House for any period of time, you may have heard us talk about being part of the mainline Lutheran denomination. Specifically, the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). The ELCA is made up of approximately 9000 congregations across the country with 3.4 million members. And while we recognize the ELCA as our primary denominational affiliation, we at Salt House are committed to embracing the theological and cultural diversity of many faith backgrounds and traditions. There is no requirement for anyone to identify as Lutheran to be able to attend Salt House or engage in the life of the community on any level, including leadership.

The ELCA recently held its triennial Churchwide Assembly (August 5-10, 2019 in Milwaukee, WI) to worship, vote on matters of governance and policy, and be church together for the sake of the world. The churchwide assembly was full of important votes and actions, including:

  • Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton was reelected for a second six-year term.

  • A declaration of apology to our siblings of African descent, which was received by the African Descent Lutheran Association with thanks and a call for accountability and living into the words shared.

  • Approved resolution declaring the ELCA is a "sanctuary church body," encouraging participation in the ELCA AMMPARO initiative for migrant children, discernment of care for our immigrant neighbors in our context, and the promise of forthcoming resources for this work.

  • Approved support for the World Council of Church's Thursdays in Black, awareness movement for a world without rape and violence.

  • Voted to commemorate June 17 as a day of repentance, in honor and remembrance of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9.

  • Approved a declaration for inter-religious commitment, reaffirming ecumenical and interfaith partnerships.

  • Approved the recommendations from a strategic taskforce which has been studying how to work toward authentic diversity in our church.

  • Approved memorials: affirming but not "endorsing" the Poor People's Campaign, care for immigrants and refugees, and other statements.

  • Adopted a new social statement, "Faith, Sexism, and Justice: a Lutheran Call to Action," and its implementing resolutions.

  • Deacon Sue Rothmeyer was elected Churchwide Secretary, a full-time position which acts as executive administrator and leader on all constitutional matters and interpretation.

  • Constitutional change for Deacons (rostered ministers of word and service) to be ordained, from the previous practice of consecration.

  • Celebrated the milestones of 50 years of women's ordination, 40 years since the first woman of color was ordained, and 10 years since full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ clergy.

There’s a lot of ground to cover there, but we want to take a moment for clarification on one point - the vote to be come a “sanctuary church body.” Perhaps you’ve seen the stories on social media and the news about the this particular vote and it brought up questions for you about what that means for Salt House. In the past week, a video was produced by Fox News about this and, as you can imagine, it was not very affirming of the ELCA’s choice to become a sanctuary church body, particularly because it stands in opposition to our current administration’s actions against immigrants and asylum seekers.

Rev. Andrew M. Lewis

Rev. Andrew M. Lewis

Andrew Lewis, a Lutheran pastor in Macon, GA wrote an pastoral letter to his congregation about how this vote by the ELCA to become a sanctuary church body is re-commitment to a long-standing Lutheran practice of supporting immigrants and asylum seekers, advocating for humane treatment of detained immigrants, and that the ELCA will continue to speak out against xenophobia, racism, and fear-mongering against all people.

We at Salt House align with these practices and will continue to support the ELCA’s positions as we recognize our denomination being a sanctuary church body. We are grateful to be a part of an intentional, progressive community of churches that value the worth and dignity of all people.

Construction + Parking Update

Jason Bendickson

Construction on the new Eastside Shelter is well underway! And this week (August 1st) we say "bye-bye" to a good amount of space in our parking lot in the name of engaging with needs of homelessness. Starting on Thursday, the north portion of our parking lot will be unavailable.

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So, here's what that means for you:

  • If you're able, plan to arrive a little earlier than usual and park across the street at Lake Washington High School.

  • You're invited to see this as an opportunity to extend hospitality to clients at the New Bethlehem Day Center, visitors to Salt House, and folks who have limited mobility.

  • BONUS: Watch those steps on your Fitbit add up!

If you have any questions, connect with Taren Grass, the Salt House Community Administrator!

Attending to Some Salt House Business

Jason Bendickson

We want to take a moment to lift up some upcoming business items for the community at Salt House. You may know that our fiscal year runs from July 1 - June 30, so we are a few months away from beginning a new year. This means we need to approve a budget for FY20 and nominate (and vote) for new people to hold our elected positions (and a few other items of business). So, in the coming weeks as we are making preparations, we are asking for your input and participation in the following areas:


We have two Council seats that are opening up plus positions on the Personnel committee, next year’s Nominating committee and an Audit/finance role that need to be filled. We are currently taking nominations; please click here to submit a name (your own or someone else’s) for any of the positions that are open.


On Sunday, April 28, Salt House Treasurer Greg Fenich will be offering a FY19 Q3 Finance Update to the Salt House community during our gathered worship time. We have a high value on transparency and timely communication about our financial progress and encourage you to attend. After worship, you are then invited to attend a budget preview for the upcoming FY20 fiscal year. This will be a great opportunity to interface with the finance team and ask questions about the proposed budget.


Salt House is connected to the larger church body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). And with our official status as a recognized ELCA congregation, we are expected to participate in the regional rhythms of church governance. The Synod Assembly of the Northwest Washington Synod is May 17-19, and we at Salt House are committed to attending this gathering. So on Sunday, May 5 we will vote for four people from our congregation to attend the Synod Assembly as representatives of Salt House and to serve as voting members on our behalf. This is particularly exciting as we will be electing a new bishop for the Northwest Washington Synod. If you'd like more information on this upcoming event, please click here.


Join us on Sunday, May 19 during worship to hear from each of the nominated candidates for the respective leadership positions that are open. Also, hard copies of the final FY20 budget will be made available to the congregation.


Join us on Sunday, June 2 at 10:00am for a First Sunday Feast and Annual Meeting to vote for our new leadership members and approve our FY20 budget.

Salt House & Church Clarity

Jason Bendickson

Perhaps you’ve seen the news lately about large celebrity churches like Hillsong, Zoe Church, Vous Church, and Churchome (formerly City Church) and their less-than-clear policies on LGBTQ+ inclusion. Much of this discussion has been fostered by the leadership of Church Clarity ( Church Clarity’s goal is not to force any church to become something they don’t want to be, but rather that every church would clearly communicate what their policies are related to LGBTQ+ inclusion and women in leadership. Ambiguity is harmful. Clarity is reasonable.

Salt House is scored as a VERIFIED CLEAR Church on the Church Clarity website.

We want to take this opportunity to be completely clear about what “radical welcome” looks like here at Salt House by answering a few simple questions:

  • Will Salt House hire LGBTQ+ people for any ministry role? Yes

  • Will Salt House’s clergy officiate a wedding for LGBTQ+ people? Yes

  • Will Salt House ordain LGBTQ+ people? Yes

  • Are there any LGBTQ+ people on Salt House’s leadership team? Yes

Church Clarity also is invested in helping churches provide clear policies on women in leadership. Here are Salt House’s answers:

  • Can women preach in the primary church service? Yes

  • Can women be ordained (or recommended for ordination)? Yes

  • Can women serve as elders or in all governing bodies? Yes

  • Can women serve as senior pastor/minister? Yes

  • Do women and/or non-binary folks make up 50% or more of Salt House’s leadership team? Yes

  • How often do women and/or non-binary folks preach? Weekly

Again, our desire at Salt House is to be completely clear about our radical welcome and who can be involved at Salt House. If you have any questions about our policies related to LGBTQ+ inclusion and women in leadership, or experience something that is different than our goal of radical welcome, please don’t hesitate to engage in conversation with our leadership; specifically, Pastor Sara Wolbrecht and our Council President, Kim Saunders.

Pastor Sara Wolbrecht
Council President, Gila Fein