The basics of the United Church of Christ

Our denomination is a part of our identity as a congregation that we don’t talk about enough. I’ve decided to take some time for the next few months talking about the United Church of Christ.

The UCC was founded in 1957 to bring Christian denominations together. The founding denominations were the Congregational Christian Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Later on, the Disciples of Christ joined, as well as many individual congregations.

Our motto, “That they may all be one” is taken from John 17:21. It emphasizes that our central, founding
principle is to bring churches together.

The most important statement about the UCC is found in the UCC Constitution

The United Church of Christ acknowledges as its sole Head, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior. It acknowledges as kindred in Christ all who share in this confession. It 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. It 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. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression, and in purity of heart before God. In accordance with the teaching of our Lord and the practice prevailing among evangelical Christians, it recognizes two sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.[17]

The essential beliefs are summarized as:

  • Jesus (and no one else) is the sole head of the church
  • There are two sacraments, Holy Communion and Baptism
  • Our Statement of Faith was created as part of our founding. It is not something we are required to
    believe, but is considered a testimony of our faith that focuses on stating what we believed could be
    affirmed by all Christians. It is a testimony of faith, not a test of faith. It emphasizes what we agree about:

We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father, and to his deeds we testify:

He calls the worlds into being, creates man in his own image and sets before him the ways of life and death.

He seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.

He judges men and nations by his righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.

In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, he has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to himself.

He bestows upon us his Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.

He calls us into his church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be his servants in the service of men, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.

He promises to all who trust him forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, his presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in his kingdom which has no end.

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto him.