“That They May Be One”
The United Church of Christ (UCC) was founded in 1957 as the union of several different Protestant traditions: from the beginning of its history, it was a church that affirmed the ideal that Christians did not always have to agree to live together in communion. The motto—”that they may all be one”—is Jesus’ prayer for the unity of the church.
The 1.4 million members who belong to the UCC make it one of the most diverse Christian denominations in the United States. The UCC manages to balance congregational autonomy with a strong commitment to unity among its nearly 6,000 congregations—despite wide differences among many local congregations on a variety of issues. The First Congregational Church of Blue Hill joined the UCC in 1962.
Some UCC Firsts:
1773 First Act of Civil Disobedience– Five thousand angry colonists in the Old South Meeting House to demand repeal of an unjust tax on tea.
1785 First ordained African American Pastor– Lemuel Haynes is the first African American pastor ordained by a Protestant denomination.
1853 First Woman Pastor– Antoinette Brown is the first woman to since New Testament times ordained as a Christian minister.
1972 First Openly Gay Pastor– The UCC’s Golden Gate Association ordains the first openly gay person as a minister in an historic Protestant denomination; the Rev. William R. Johnson. Go to UCC Firsts to read more.
The UCC affirms the responsibility of the church in each generation and community to make faith its own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression, and in purity of heart before God. 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. One of the UCC’s distinguishing characteristics is its penchant to believe that … God is still speaking.