What We Believe…
I. Everyone is a Child of God
The motto of the United Church of Christ is “That they may all be one.” The United Church of Christ likes to bring people together. We don’t like to leave anyone out. We believe that everyone is a child of God.
In the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
We invite everyone – no exceptions – because God does. God feeds our hunger, forgives our sins, and saves us from aimlessness – not matter who, no matter what, no matter where.
II. God is a Part of Our Everyday Lives
The United Church of Christ believes God is still speaking. We discover and hear God’s word in the Bible, but the word of God is not just something that happened long ago. It keeps speaking to us in new ways, even today – every day.
This belief goes back to the beginning of our history. In 1621, John Robinson, pastor to the Pilgrims, encouraged his congregation to keep looking and listening for God, because, he said, “ There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God’s holy word.”
God’s word is not finished unfolding in new meanings. It keeps bringing us light. It keeps bringing us truth.
In the United Church of Christ, Baptism and Communion are the sacraments we celebrate. Sacraments remind us that life is sacred. And they join us to one another, as well as to God. And they are available to everyone, equally.
In the water of baptism God embraces you – no matter who you are. You now share in the full story, of life, death, resurrection, in Christ. And the church now promises to love, support, and care for you throughout your life. And your life will now influence and affect the church.
The bread and wine we share at Communion reminds us that Christ’s presence among us is real – as real as the bread and cup. And Christ’s presence is also mysterious and powerful, as mysterious as the words we use to try to convey this reality, and as powerful as love is in our lives. This is the Welcome Table, a place to gather with others and remember all things, most of all God’s love, and to believe in a future time when “all will be fed.” Here hope is restored, and illusions fall away. And you are welcome, you are wanted here.
III. We are Free to Think of God in Our Own Way
God is known by many names. The United Church of Christ shares in the traditional Christian language of one God, expressed through Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But we also speak of God in other ways: as Friend, Mother, Liberator, Savior, Gatherer of Outcasts, Embracing Presence, Our Star, Our Rock.
In the United Church of Christ you can study both the Bible and the world outside the church doors to learn about God, to learn names for God, and what God asks of you. You will find God’s still-speaking presence in all kinds of places: in music and art, in the sciences, in politics, in prayer, in worship on Sunday, and especially in the voices of people who are suffering.
The United Church of Christ sees God in other religions and people of faith wherever there is compassion, peace and justice. Do you believe that no one word, no one statement, or no one image can fully express the amazing reality of God? So do we.
In the United Church of Christ you are free to hear God’s voice in your own way. But you are never alone in listening for God. You’re in it with the rest of us! We listen and learn along with others by respecting the freedom and integrity of each person’s belief.
Jesus, who lived and died, and rose, and is with us still, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is an expression of God, and is the heart of the church, affecting our lives and the world around us every day.
IV. Another World Is Possible
God created the world to be a place of love and justice, hope and peace. In the Bible, such a world is called the Reign, or Kingdom, of God. It is described as paradise, a great banquet, a peaceable realm, a “new heaven and earth.”
Our world is surely not there yet. But if you look for God’s light and truth, you’ll see it breaking forth, breaking in, breaking through, in the words and actions of each of us, at times.
In the tradition of the prophets and the apostles, we are called by God to speak and act with justice and compassion; to be –with Jesus – on the side of the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; to give of ourselves and all that we have; to care for the created earth; and even, sometimes, to go against the grain of conventional social norms.
V. It Takes All Kinds to Make a World
All kinds of people have found a home here: all races, all ages, straight, gay, agnostics, recovering atheists, believers, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. The United Church of Christ values being together and serving God with all our differences. But since we’re only human, we need something to help us keep it together. And what we have is something called covenant.
There are a lot of covenants in the Bible. There are God’s covenants with people, with nations, with the whole created world. A covenant is a special kind of promise, a Holy Promise, a promise with God.
All of our members and congregations are free to think and act as they will. But as part of the United Church of Christ, our members and congregations make a covenant – a holy promise – with God and one another, that they will live together in liberty and charity.
Being together with all our differences also means that we make covenants with other Christian churches (denominations), to live out our motto: “That they may all be one.” As the United Church of Christ, we place a high priority on the unity of the worldwide Christian church, even as we look beyond the church and work and pray for the kind of world God intends, one in which everything that lives, lives in love and peace, in justice and kindness.
From the National UCC.org website:
We believe in the triune God: Creator, resurrected Christ, the sole Head of the church, and the Holy Spirit, who guides and brings about the creative and redemptive work of God in the world.
We believe that each person is unique and valuable. It is the will of God that every person belong to a family of faith where they have a strong sense of being valued and loved.
We believe that each person is on a spiritual journey and that each of us is at a different stage of that journey.
We believe that the persistent search for God produces an authentic relationship with God, engendering love, strengthening faith, dissolving guilt, and giving life purpose and direction.
We believe that all of the baptized ‘belong body and soul to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’ No matter who – no matter what – no matter where we are on life’s journey – notwithstanding race, gender, sexual orientation, class or creed – we all belong to God and to one worldwide community of faith. All persons baptized – past, present and future – are connected to each other and to God through the sacrament of baptism. We baptize during worship when the community is present because baptism includes the community’s promise of ‘love, support and care’ for the baptized – and we promise that we won’t take it back – no matter where your journey leads you.
We believe that all people of faith are invited to join Christ at Christ’s table for the sacrament of Communion. Just as many grains of wheat are gathered to make one loaf of bread and many grapes are gathered to make one cup of wine, we, the many people of God, are made one in the body of Christ, the church. The breaking of bread and the pouring of wine reminds us of the costliness of Christ’s sacrifice and the discipleship to which we are all called. In the breaking of bread, we remember and celebrate Christ’s presence among us along with a ‘cloud of witnesses’ – our ancestors, family and friends who have gone before us. It is a great mystery; we claim it by faith.
We believe the UCC is called to be a united and uniting church. “That they may all be one.” (John 17:21) “In essentials–unity, in nonessentials–diversity, in all things–charity,” These UCC mottos survive because they touch core values deep within us. The UCC has no rigid formulation of doctrine or attachment to creeds or structures. Its overarching creed is love. UCC pastors and teachers are known for their commitment to excellence in theological preparation, interpretation of the scripture and justice advocacy. Even so, love and unity in the midst of our diversity are our greatest assets.
We believe that God calls us to be servants in the service of others and to be good stewards of the earth’s resources. ‘To believe is to care; to care is to do.’
We believe that the UCC is called to be a prophetic church. As in the tradition of the prophets and apostles, God calls the church to speak truth to power, liberate the oppressed, care for the poor and comfort the afflicted.
We believe in the power of peace, and work for nonviolent solutions to local, national, and international problems.
We are a people of possibility. In the UCC, members, congregations and structures have the breathing room to explore and to hear … for after all, God is still speaking, ..