The United Church of Christ and State of the Church
The United Church of Christ, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is a mainline Protestant denomination with nearly 900,000 members and 5,000 congregations nationwide. The UCC is a church of many firsts, including the first mainline Protestant denomination to ordain a woman, the first to ordain an openly-gay man and the first predominantly white denomination to ordain an African American.
The UCC’s motto (“That they may all be one” [John 17:21]) and tagline (God is still speaking,) support the church’s long-standing commitment to social justice issues and its extravagant welcome to all, no matter who they are or where they are on life’s journey.
Similar to other Protestant denominations, the UCC has experienced a decline in the numbers of congregations and members in recent decades. In the past five years, 195 congregations were removed from denominational records. Congregational decline has slowed in recent years, however. In 2006 and 2007, the UCC experienced a loss of nearly three congregations per week on average; but from 2008 through 2015, only one congregation was eliminated from denominational records per week on average. In total, 100 congregations received standing and were added to the UCC over the last five years. A new congregation (a church that received standing, affiliated, or merged with another congregation) was added every 2 1/2 weeks on average. (Source: UCC Statistical Profile, Fall 2016)