Sanctuary Church Seattle

We are a grace centered community seeking to serve the city socially, spiritually and culturally.

Meeting Sundays 10:30AM at Garfield Community Center

At our core we are a community driven by a common conviction and story. What is that story?

The world is not what it ought to be. The problem is my substituting God with myself, resulting in disharmony and disintegration. High ethical standards, good intentions, profound intellectual insights, and unleashed creativity are not enough to heal our world. We need to be rescued. God did so by substituting Man with Himself in the person of Jesus thereby restoring the cosmic relationship between Creation and its Creator on the basis of His work and record – not ours. Christ died the death we deserved. Christ earned the acceptance that we could never earn. You can say that we are more sinful than we can dare to imagine and yet through Christ we are more loved and accepted than we can dare hope for.

This classic Christian message called “the Gospel,” is what Sanctuary attempts to spread – first through ourselves, and then through the city – in word, deed, and community. When we trust it – it begins to transform us from the inside out.

I invite you to come and join us one of these Sundays. This website can explain to you what we are, but it can’t tell you who we are. So come check us out. We meet at an old Carmelite monastery. There's parking in the back. The teaching is more discussion-based than lecture. We try to keep it real, honest and our hearts and minds open.

I have been reflecting lately on the words of Jesus: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

The teachings of Jesus have always been difficult for me - cryptic, strange, and sometimes offensive. These words especially bother me, but for some reason, I haven’t been able to shake them from my mind recently. I cannot help but ask, “what possible good can come out of praying for the people who have caused me pain?” What does that even look like?

It is one thing to admire the teachings of Jesus as one admires Buddha, the great Sufi writers or Ghandi. It is another thing to obey these words as if they hold the keys to our survival. It feels paradoxical, as if we must inflict more pain in order to escape pain. Unless of course the intent of Jesus was never pain-avoidance in the first place. This is also a difficult thought to swallow, especially in a culture in which every type of pain is viewed as an evil that must be pushed down with more medication. But perhaps Jesus had a different goal in mind altogether when he spoke these words.

I had a chance recently to try and put this into practice, and here is what I’ve learned so far:

First, praying for our enemies helps us recognize ourselves.

In praying for someone who had hurt me, I had the unpleasant experience of recognizing in them the same hurt, fear, and loneliness that I was feeling. Perhaps I couldn’t see it before because I was too busy scribbling devil horns on all their pictures. Perhaps I viewed them as my enemy precisely because I didn’t want to face my own fear. I don’t know. But somehow in the act of praying for them, I also saw myself. I still didn’t find this particularly helpful though, because now I only felt more pain. Instead of carrying the pain of one person, I now carried the pain of two. But Henri Nouwen writes that there is more hope in this state than we think: “a shared pain is no longer paralyzing, but mobilizing, when it is understood to be a way to liberation.” A hopeful person might assert that one cannot truly be enemies with a person in whom we see ourselves. A cynic might respond however, “not true! I don’t particularly like myself either!” I still think we need something more….

Second, praying for our enemies helps us recognize Jesus.

Christianity at it’s core is a strange, alien religion, because it worships a God whose great manifestation to humankind came through frailty, pain, and death. No matter how much gold and jewels you put on the crucifix, it is still a symbol of death.

Because of that, there is no pain, betrayal, or evil we can witness without also witnessing the person of Jesus. God is woven into our experience of pain.
It is also in this cataclysmic event of death that Jesus stepped into our shoes as enemies and strangers to God, giving us his place as trusted friend, child, and confidant. New Testament writers describe this event as a mystical trade - our divine alienation for Jesus’ divine favor. It means this: we are no longer enemies of God, but loved and accepted children. We didn’t earn it, because Jesus already earned it for us.

Perhaps we can bear to see ourselves in our enemy when we know how loved and accepted we are ourselves. Perhaps we can even begin the painful act of forgiving when we know the injustice Jesus went through for us. And maybe we will even find the strength to carry each other’s hurt and pain when we realize Jesus has already carried ours.

Peace and grace to you on your own spiritual journeys. Let’s continue to pray for one another.

~ Pastor Gabe

[12/31/16]   Happy New Year everyone! Garfield Community Center will be closed this Sunday (Jan 1st) for the holiday. We will be meeting at Pastor Jason's home instead. See you there! If you need directions, please email us at:

Sermon Replay: "Clothed in the Son," by Rev. Jason Davison

Audio Recording:

Précis: Against all reason to, we have hope in the face of darkness because of the Child.

Advent Insight: The Woman wrapped in the Sun encapsulates women of faith throughout the Scriptures and provides a striking picture of the beauty, strength and challenges of God’s people today.

God on the Periphery

There is a sense in all of us that we are outsiders. Regardless of privilege or place in the world, this self-perception shapes our actions and relationships. It is responsible for the harm we cause ourselves, and it is responsible for the harm we cause others in our efforts to reach the inner circle, whatever we perceive that to be.

The story of Rahab points us to a God who resided in the very center of the universe, but abandoned that center to journey into the loneliest borderlands. The story of Rahab introduces us to a God who not only lives on the outside with us, but pressed even further outside so that we could be brought to the very center.

~ Gabriel Molinaro (click picture for sermon audio)

Advent 2016: Mothers of Jesus – Eve « Sanctuary Church Seattle

After much heartache and in the midst of our lowest point, God keeps His Word and enables us to continue believing. Eve provides a wonderfully resilient picture of what it looks like to continue trusting in the Promise of Christmas, when all reason should point us to disillusionment and alienation from the God. Preached December 4, 2015 by Rev. Jason Davison (41:59 minutes)

Tamar: Mothers of Jesus « Sanctuary Church Seattle

The powerless do not need to work for a place in God’s blessing; they are already central to it.

We are all living under either a blessing or a curse. To bless someone is to say, “you are seen, and you are enough.” To curse is to say “you do not matter.” Whichever of these we believe will determine how we respond to the brokenness in our world and ourselves. The story of Tamar, if we listen carefully, can give us a clear reflection of our own situation. Tamar responds to injustice as if she were under a curse, lying and stealing her way into a blessing when, in fact, she had been central to God’s blessing all along. Our liberation from brokenness occurs when we learn from Tamar that we have already been blessed by God. Knowing this transforms us into people who have an infinite capacity for blessing others, even our enemies.

~ Gabriel Molinaro Preached November 27, 2016, by Gabriel Molinaro (46:21 min)

Sermon Replay: “Can’t Help It” « Sanctuary Church Seattle

God can’t help it when it comes to His grace! God’s grace in our union with Christ is one of irresistible, hopeful progress that works for the believer’s good and protects from despair in the midst of our struggle with sin. Through defining the believer’s relation to the Law, Paul provides several dynamics that benefit the Christian in their struggle with the Law and sin: God’s grace in our union with Christ is one of irresistible, hopeful progress that works for the believer’s good and protects from despair in the midst of our struggle with sin. Through defining the believer’s relation to the Law, Paul provides several dynamics that benefit the Christian in their s...

Sermon replay: Rituals For A New Era « Sanctuary Church Seattle In Paul’s letter to the Roman churches, we are let in on a very hopeful message that transcends time, place, and political power. This is the message that we have been elevated, seen, and heard by the only power that matters – our absolute and cosmic source of life. We begin to live into this messag...




2323 E Cherry St
Seattle, WA

Opening Hours

Sunday 10:30am - 12pm
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