Congregational Churches were organized when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation (1620) and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1629) acknowledged their essential unity in the Cambridge Platform of 1648. Most of the United States founding fathers were Congregationalists. Through the centuries since, Congregational churches have been planted on the frontier as it moved West, and the mission of care has been carried across the seas. The oldest Congregational Church West of the Mississippi is not in Iowa - it is in Hawaii.
The United Church of Christ was created in 1957, when Congregationalists voted to join with other denominations as the union of several different Christian traditions. This remarkable ecumenical event accomplished sharing of resources and more efficient service, and since that time, many additional faiths have chosen to join with the UCC.
From the beginning of our history, we were a church that affirmed the ideal that Christians did not always have to agree, to live together in communion. Our motto - "that they may all be one" - is Jesus' prayer for the unity of the church. The UCC is one of the most diverse Christian denominations in the United States.
While preserving relevant portions of heritage and history dating back to the 16th century, the UCC and its forebears have proven themselves capable of moving forward, tying faith to social justice and shaping cutting edge theology and service in an ever-changing world. Affirming that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, the UCC claims as its own the faith of the historic church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant reformers. Yet the UCC also affirms the responsibility of the church in each generation and community to make faith its own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression, and in purity of heart before God.
The United Church of Christ looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. One of the UCC's distinguishing characteristics is its penchant to believe that ... God is still speaking, ... even when it puts us out there alone.
History has shown that, most often, we're only alone for a while. Besides, we receive so many gifts from our ecumenical partners, being 'early' seems to be one of ours. For information about some of these first, 'early' events, link to the national UCC website by clicking here
(Much of this material is found on the United Church of Christ's national website, ucc.org
; main contributor, Anthony Robinson.)