A community of churches has shared the University District for a century. In recent years, ten churches joined together to form the University District Ecumenical Parish, a local expression of an international ecumenical movement among Christian denominations that goes back more than half a century. UDEP holds shared worship services, its clergy preach in each other’s churches, and its communal calendar of events is full.

Together UDEP congregations came to realize that they face daunting challenges in common: unsustainable, single-use facilities too large for current membership, with safety concerns and accessibility deficiencies, parking shortages, and deferred maintenance lists growing longer each year.

They also awoke to their shared commitment to community engagement, inclusive fellowship, and activist ministries that work for social justice and peace.

In 2004 an ecumenical task force began a study that led to the collocation concept. After three years of continual analysis and concept development, six worshiping communities (now nine) decided to fund and form the University District Ecumenical Campus Coalition (UDECC) in 2007.

Since its formation in June 2007, the UDECC Board of Trustees, its staff and consultants have worked to give form to the vision of a shared ecumenical center. Beginning in late 2008, the worldwide economic downturn delayed completion of the Ecumenical Campus feasibility study, but failed to derail the project. In early 2010, all nine of the UDECC partner institutions formally reaffirmed their commitment to the project, including increased funding support. UDECC feasibility study results will be a valuable resource for all participating congregations and campus ministries as they work to discern their shared future in the University District.