Open House

Donate Now

The excitement and hope are palpable.

Photo Credit: Justin Tobin

The Fremont Abbey is home to Church of the Apostles and is a true treasure in an age when many churches struggle to survive. At Church of the Apostles, we are continuing to grow in number, grow in giving, grow in outreach, grow in effectiveness as an organization, we continue to provide healing to people hurt by the church, we continue to give birth to future church leaders, our creative liturgies and music continues to evolve and grow and we are finding new ways to share our discoveries with others. We are growing in stability, growing in love, and are seeking more and more ways to be sent into the world as people transformed in Christ.

This is our season of Open House — we are ready to buy our community home, the Fremont Abbey.

Why the Fremont Abbey?

In 2005 we moved into the Fremont Abbey, making it a space for our spiritual community, as well as a space that the community can access through the arts via the Fremont Abbey Arts Center.

Photo Credit: Julie McDonald

Our 100 year old building has become a landmark in North Fremont and Church of the Apostles has nestled into the landscape for the past 12 years. Every day, the doors open for the community, whether it is for church, music lessons, concerts, dance performances, rehearsals, video-shoots, self-defense lessons, yoga, community meetings, fundraisers, weddings, RISE parties, and so much more.

The Appeal

Church of the Apostles (COTA) invites you to join us in purchasing the Fremont Abbey and investing in making it an inviting place for all. We dream of a home that is beautiful, accessible, life-giving, and a long-term commitment to the community. Through the generosity of the Mission Investment Fund (of the ELCA), COTA has made a home in the Fremont Abbey. Now, we have an opportunity to become owners of this home. We call the Abbey home, let’s open our house for all.

Join us. Put down roots with us. Here’s how:

Commit to our Open House Building Fund for special giving during 2015–2017. Gifts can be made online and checks can be made out to Church of the Apostles (memo: Open House Appeal).

Photo Credit: Justin Tobin

Your monthly giving or one-time gift will allow Church of the Apostles to:

  1. Assume the mortgage. Become owners instead of renters. Free up funds with the Mission Investment Fund (ELCA) to be used as seed money with other newer churches.
  2. Accessibility. Create a more welcoming and inviting space. Dream of and invest in elevator installation.
  3. Energy efficiency. Insulation improvements. Solar energy considerations. Invest in capital improvements to our building so we can build a future together.

What is the need?

Incremental Tiers

Assume the mortgage
Mortgage plus accessibility improvements
Mortgage plus accessibility plus energy efficiency improvements

How far will your gift go?

Monthly Amount Three-Year Pledge


Ivar Hillesland

“Community is sacred, especially in a city full of cloud-covered people looking for deeper relationships but finding it hard to break the freeze. What brighter gift could we offer than to open up a house for people to find a home together? The Fremont Abbey is a home for experiencing the divine in worship, in art and in each other, it is a place for eating and drinking and celebrating life-changing events, and it is an open space where we can graciously learn and grow more fully into our true selves. As a part of Church of the Apostles I have found wholeness and beauty here and I have found a place where in the company of friends I can become more of a forgiven forgiver and beloved lover. To claim this 100 year old building is to proclaim that while everything in today’s world seems to be becoming more ephemeral, that there are old places rich with history and drenched in ancient traditions where we can collectively put down roots to be nourished and where we can build up a home for the community, for God, and for a hope-filled future.”

Ivar Hillesland, Pastor Church of the Apostles
Matt Oppenheimer and Emily Patton

“Church of the Apostles (COTA) is where we met before getting married in 2014. It is our spiritual home in Seattle. The service, music, and community are so unique, diverse, and divine. We feel blessed to be part of the community.”

Matt Oppenheimer, Entrepreneur Emily Patton, Educator
Nathan Marion

“I believe beautiful welcoming spaces like the Abbey should be preserved as homes for creativity. Finding an "Open Space" now days is so challenging, especially for lower income people or youth who are just getting started in the arts. Where else can we sit quietly, be ourselves, and hear beautiful music without the chaos of the world distracting us? Music and arts in a community setting really have an amazing ability to open our minds, free up our emotions, and empower us to change.

The lovely old Fremont Abbey is a respected place where people can know they will be warmly welcomed to experience the arts, music, spirituality, good food, open conversation, and great community connections no matter where they come from. Thank you for joining us in protecting this 100 year old building for the next generation of creativity.”

Nathan Marion, Director Fremont Abbey Arts Center
Anna-Lisa Notter

“I am in full support of Church of the Apostles (COTA) buying the Fremont Abbey and taking on the responsibility of carrying it forwards for the next 100 years and beyond. I have faith in our congregation’s talents, passion and perseverance when it comes to being entrusted with the Abbey’s future and utilizing the building to it’s full capacity. Both my husband and I are local musicians and artists in Seattle who have spent so many magical moments both performing and witnessing inspired events in The Abbey and I am thrilled at the possibility of curating, supporting and partaking in more events in the future. The space is glorious and should be overflowing with creativity and community.”

Ways to give

Vanco Online Giving (via bank account)*


Set up an account at COTA's Vanco donation page.

Direct payments from your bank account (via “bill pay” feature)


Set up “bill pay” directly with your bank, who will then deduct the amount on a pre-determined date and mail a check made to:

Church of the Apostles
4272 Fremont Ave N.
Seattle, WA 98103

Be sure to set up a memo line, especially if you are sending funds for the Open House Appeal.

Vanco Online Giving (via debit/credit card)


Set up an account at COTA's Vanco donation page.

Vanco Card Reader (formerly Square)


Swipe your debit/credit card on the iPad station at Sunday service

Cash/check in the offering plate


Cash with label or Checks made out to Church of the Apostles; use the memo line to give to the Open House Appeal.


Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes. Church of the Apostles is registered as a 501c3. (EIN: 02-0624186)
Who owns the building now?
The Fremont Abbey is owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s (ELCA) Mission Investment Fund (MIF).
Why has Church of the Apostles identified a three-tiered goal?
Church of the Apostles wants to 1 secure a mortgage with monthly payments more closely aligned with the rate currently required in monthly rent, 2 facilitate accessibility improvements, 3 facilitate improved energy efficiencies and overall capital improvements. COTA wants to ensure that we can sustainably afford our mortgage and also the long-term capital improvements required to make our building a welcoming space for years to come. Our tiered goals reflect our dreaming.
Open House? The Appeal? Building Fund? Are we talking about the same thing?
Yes. In planning discussions, Church of the Apostles made a very conscious decision to move our language away from the use of “capital campaign” terms. And we admit you might still hear the phrase come out of our mouths. “Open House” is the title we’ve given to our “Appeal”. And “Building Fund” is the umbrella term used for both building purchase and building improvements.
Where is the money actually going?
Donations made to the Open House Appeal are going to Church of the Apostles for the express purpose of building purchase and capital costs. The money from the Open House Appeal is specifically limited to use for the building, and not for general operating or program costs. Donations made to the Open House Appeal will be held in trust for the three years of our Appeal: 2015 to 2017 or until we raise enough to assume the mortgage; whichever comes first.
Who does Church of the Apostles want to commit to the Open House Building Fund?
You, if you’re reading this! Church of the Apostles launched an internal appeal, with regular attenders and givers, in October 2014. Church of the Apostles is extending our appeal to the larger arts, Fremont, Lutheran, and Episcopal communities. We believe the Fremont Abbey offers something beautiful and unique to all of these concentric communities; together we share a common vision in providing a welcome space for creativity, inspiration, and becoming our true selves.
How do I donate to programs that happen inside the building?
Church of the Apostles maintains the Fremont Abbey to host a number of organizations inside the building. One tenant, the Fremont Abbey Arts Center, has been with us since 2005 and hosts events and nonprofits within the building six days a week. If you would like to donate to programming or operating costs for Church of the Apostles, you can do that here, and if you would like to donate to Fremont Abbey Arts Center programming you can do so here.
I have more questions about the church’s finances. How can I learn more?
Church of the Apostles maintains thorough records and bookkeeping about donations. Financial information is published to our community, and to external donors by request. All published financial information is done so in a way that protects the confidentiality of our donors. Email
My employer does donation matching. How do I set that up?
Church of the Apostles is a religious organization. Many, but not all, employers are able to provide donation matching to religious nonprofits, through the 501(c)3. We suggest that you ask your employer whether Church of the Apostles is an eligible recipient of donation matching.
Is Church of the Apostles at risk of leaving the building?
No. We are in good standing as building renters, and also believe that we are ready and capable of assuming the mortgage as our own. Donations to the Open House Building Fund are restricted for building capital use. You can request to be contacted about the use of your donation in the unlikely event that Church of the Apostles must leave the Fremont Abbey building.
What should my “share” of the total purchase be? Or what's the average amount that any one giver should contribute?

We realize that every individual & every family is in a unique financial situation. Open House benefits from contributions of any amount, and as such we're neither requiring nor recommending any pre-defined contribution amounts.

Instead of thinking of Open House pledges as equal slices of a pie, we think it's more helpful to think of this as a pyramid, where different gift-amounts are provided by more or fewer contributors. With all of these tiers added up, we'll have reached our goal.

For instance, in order to afford our mortgage plus accessibility improvements ($430,200), we can visualize it as coming from eight levels of varying amounts:

Explanatory pyramid diagram

I still have a question that wasn't answered here.
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