The UCC & ONA
Our Relationship with the United Church of Christ
First Congregational UCC is a church within the United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination with congregations across the United States. UCC churches are self-governed; authority and the daily life of the church are the responsibility of each local church. (For more on lay leadership and governance, see Church Leadership & Service Teams.)
We hold a belief in the triune God: Creator, resurrected Christ and the Holy Spirit; in God’s unconditional love and grace; that scripture serves as a living testimony of faith; and that God is still speaking to us here and now. In addition, we hold that faith is not a matter of belief but rather a desire to live out God’s love in relationship with God and others. We have no test of faith or specific faith confession to participate in our congregation.
First Congregational UCC embraces the diversity and culture of the modern world while remaining grounded in Christian traditions. Together we live out our faith in ways that effect change in our community, promote hope and peace in the world, and honor one another with God’s love and grace.
An Open & Affirming (ONA) Church
We are proud to be an Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ. Open and Affirming is the designation that the national United Church of Christ gives to congregations that have made a public covenant to welcome fully persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. You can read more about this designation at the Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ.
First Congregational has a long history of acceptance and advocacy. We hold an attitude of inclusiveness that embraces diversity wherever we find it. We honor and value each person as God created them without attempting to “fix” or “change” them, and we have been privileged to celebrate same-gender weddings at our church for several decades.
We received the ONA designation after devoting a year to exploring the diversity of our multifaceted congregation. This process culminated in the acceptance of our identity statement, which was adopted on September 7, 2014.
Our Identity Statement
We are the Church of the Open Door, a Christian community called by God through the life and teachings of Jesus to grow in Spirit, to share our faith experiences, to serve others, to promote hope and peace in the world, and to welcome all God’s people.
In worship and study, we explore and develop our understanding of God, our faith, our church, and ourselves.
In acts of service and advocacy, we challenge injustice, deepen our compassion for others, and work individually and collaboratively toward a world that is fairer and more equitable.
In relationships, we open ourselves to all the people of God. We accept ourselves and each other as we are, with needs and blessings that are physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and social.
As an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ, we celebrate a diverse congregation. We welcome into full participation people of every race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, creed, background, life experience, and physical or mental health and capability. As we proclaim every Sunday, “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”