Preamble to the Constitution of the United Church of Christ
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.
The Local Church Is Autonomous
The UCC has roots in the “covenantal” tradition — meaning there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose any doctrine or form of worship on its members. Christ alone is Head of the church. We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith. The UCC therefore receives the historic creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith.
We Celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism
The sacrament of baptism is an outward and visible sign of the inward workings of God’s grace. Through baptism a person is joined with the universal church, the body of Christ. In baptism, God works in us the power of forgiveness, the renewal of the spirit, and the knowledge of the call to be God’s people always.
We Practice Both Infant and Adult Baptism
For infants and children, as well as for youth and adults who have never been baptized before, baptism marks their acceptance into the care of Christ’s church, the sign and seal of God’s grace and forgiveness, and the beginning of their Christian faith and life. When those who are baptized as infants or children come of age, they make a personal and public affirmation of faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior; claim both the gifts and responsibilities of faithful living; and with the laying on of hands, receive the Holy Spirit.
We Accept the Baptismal Practice of All Denominations
The United Church of Christ recognizes the validity of all baptisms, therefore there is no need for re-baptism.
We Celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion
In the sacrament of Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist, Christians hear, taste, touch and receive the grace of God revealed through Jesus Christ.
Communion is: a joyous act of thanksgiving for all God has done, is doing, and will do for the redeeming of creation; a sacred memorial of the crucified and risen Christ; a living and effective sign of Christ’s sacrifice in which Christ is truly and rightly present to those who eat and drink; an earnest prayer for the presence of the Holy Spirit to unite us with the Risen Christ and with each other; an intimate experience of fellowship in which the whole church in every time and place is present and divisions are overcome; and a hopeful sign of the promised Realm of God which is marked by justice, love and peace.
Our Communion Table Is Open to All Christians
All Christians, not just our members, are invited and encouraged to share in the bread and cup when we celebrate the sacrament. We celebrate the sacrament of Communion on the first Sunday of each month, as well as on other holy days.
We Believe in the Unity of All Christians.
Jesus prayed that all of his followers “might be one.” In response to Christ’s calling we believe it is far more important to focus upon that which unites us in Christ, and less upon the differences that create divisions among Christians. The more Christians can be united, the more we can let the light of Christ shine in this world, leading more and more people to know the love and power of God that have been revealed to us in Christ Jesus.
We Believe that God is still speaking
We believe that God is still speaking – that God’s Spirit is still active in our day and time. We believe that God’s loving and grace-filled will and purpose are revealed not only through the sacred scriptures, rightly understood and applied, but through the present inspiration of the Holy Spirit, faithfully discerned.
We Believe We Are Called to Extend the Love and Acceptance of Christ to All.
No matter who you are; no matter where you are on your life’s journey; you are welcome here!