Members: Nearly 900,000
Ministers: 9,897 total; 49 percent women
Origins: The historical roots of the United Church of Christ reach back to some of the first Christian communities in the United States – Pilgrims, Puritans and German settlers. Two churches, each the product of an earlier union, joined together in 1957 to form the United Church of Christ – the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
Since 1957, the denomination has grown to more fully realize its goal of becoming a multiracial, multicultural church that is inclusive of all, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation or differing ability. Our congrega- tions today include an increasing number of African-American, Latino/a, Native American, Asian-American, Pacific Islander and biracial communities. We are a bold, public, progressive voice in the religious landscape.
The United Church of Christ (UCC) has a fierce commitment for the equal rights of all, including its clergy. In 1972, the UCC became the first Protestant denomination to ordain an openly gay man, and in 2005, the Church formally affirmed “Equal Marriage Rights for All,” becoming the first mainline Christian denomination to support samegender marriage. In 2013, the UCC was the first mainline denomination to vote to move toward fossil fuel divestment as one strategy to address climate change. The UCC is also active on issues related to immigration reform, racial justice, and literacy.
Organization: “Congregational” and “free church” best describe the United Church of Christ’s form of governance. The denom- ination’s Constitution says Jesus Christ is the “sole Head” of the church and the local congregation is its “basic unit.” Local churches call their own pastors and make their own decisions about membership, worship, budget, programs and other matters. UCC congregations cooperate in “conferences,” many of them encompassing one or more U.S. states.
Governance: The main deliberative body of the UCC is its General Synod, whose 750-plus delegates meet every two years. In between the Synod, the 52-member United Church of Christ Board conducts the business of the denomination. Ms. Dale Bonds is chair of the UCC Board; Mr. Frank Bolden is vice-chair.
The Purpose of the United Church of Christ: To love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. (Mt. 22)
The Vision of the United Church of Christ: United in Christ’s love, a just world for all.
The Mission of the United Church of Christ: United in Spirit and inspired by God’s grace, we welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all.
We believe in God’s continuing testament. We are committed to hearing God’s ancient story anew and afresh in our lives and in the world today. We try to remain attentive to God’s creative movement in the world. Religion and science are not mutually exclusive, and your head and heart are both welcomed into our places of worship. We prepare our members and leaders to be engaged in ministry in the present and future church, and we em- brace all kinds of communities and new modes of thinking.
We believe in extravagant welcome. This is why we insist that God’s communion table is open, not closed, and God’s gift and claim in baptism are irrevocable. Our perspective is global, not provincial. We work with — not against — people of other faiths. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.
We believe the church’s mission is to change lives — individually, systemically and globally. We work to make transformation possible, but trust in God’s grace. This is why we insist that churches must be places of vitality in worship, learning and advocacy. We are committed to working for justice, and we believe that lives are changed through global experiences and friendships.