Who We Are
By our very name, the United Church of Christ, we declare ourselves to be a part of the body of Christ - the Christian church. The United Church of Christ acknowledges as its sole head, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior. We continue the witness of the early disciples to the reality and power of the crucified and risen Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.
Our denomination arose from the tradition of the Protestant Reformers. We confess the authority of one God. We affirm the inspiration of the Bible, the doctrine of justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the principle of Christian freedom. We celebrate two sacraments: baptism, and the Lord's supper or holy communion.
The primary task of the church is the proclamation of the gospel or "evangel" - the good news of God's love revealed with power in Jesus Christ. We proclaim this gospel by word and deed to individual persons and to society. This proclamation is at the heart of our liturgy ("the work of the people") as we gather each Sunday for the worship of God, and through each week, as we engage in the service of humankind.
What We Believe
"That they may all be one" (John 17:21), a motto of the United Church of Christ, reflects the spirit of unity, understanding and cooperation we desire with all denominations which are Christian. We are a uniting church as well as a united church.
Because faith can be expressed in many different ways, the United Church of Christ has no formula that is a test of faith. We recognize that the Bible, though written in specific historical times and places, still speaks to us in our present condition. We believe that the study of the scriptures is not limited by past interpretations, but it is to be pursued with expectancy for new insights and help for living today.
The scriptures teach that each person may have direct access to the mercies of God through personal prayer and devotion. Down through the centuries, however, Christians have shared their faith with one another through creeds, confessions, catechisms, and other statements of faith. In 1959, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ adopted a Statement of Faith prepared especially for the United Church. Many of us use this statement as a common affirmation of faith in worship and as a basis for study. The statement which follows is a slightly modified version of that statement.
Statement of Faith
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.
As individual members, we are free to believe and to act in accordance with our perception of God's will for our lives, but we are called to live in loving, convenantal relationship with one another - gathering in communities of faith.
Each congregational or local church is free to act in accordance with the collective decision of its members, guided by the working of the Holy Spirit in the light of the scriptures. However, it is also called to cooperate with other congregations for the sharing of insights and for cooperative action, thus carrying out God's mission in the world more effectively.
The members, congregations, associations, conferences, General Synod and national instrumentalities of the United Church of Christ affirm that the authority of God as revealed in Jesus Christ and interpreted with the aid of the Holy Spirit stands above and judges all human culture, institutions, and laws. However, we recognize our calling both as individuals and as the church to live in the world:
- Ministering to its needs;
- Contributing to the welfare of all;
- Being enriched by those aspects of culture that help to make human life more human;
- Working through institutions and supporting laws that reflect God's just and loving presence and purpose of the world;
- Seeking justice and liberation for all.