United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
The historical roots of The United Church of Christ reach back to some of the first Christian communities in the United States – Pilgrims, Puritans and German settlers. Two churches, each the product of an earlier union, joined together in 1957 to form the United Church of Christ – the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
“Congregational” and “free church” best describe the United Church of Christ’s form of governance. The denomination’s Constitution says Jesus Christ is the “sole Head” of the church, and the local congregation is its “basic unit.” Local churches call their own pastors and make their own decisions about membership, worship, budget, programs and other matters. UCC congregations are affiliated with one of 38 conferences, many of them encompassing one or more U.S. states. The main deliberative body of the UCC is its General Synod, whose 750-plus delegates meet every two years. In between the Synod, the 52-member United Church of Christ Board conducts the business of the denomination.
Since 1957, the United Church of Christ (UCC) has embodied a fierce commitment for the equal rights of all, including its clergy. In 1972, the UCC became the first Protestant denomination to ordain an openly gay man; and in 2005, the Church formally affirmed “Equal Marriage Rights for All,” becoming the first mainline Christian denomination to support same gender marriage. In 2013, the UCC was the first mainline denomination to vote to move toward fossil fuel divestment as one strategy to address climate change. The UCC is also active on issues related to immigration reform, racial justice, and literacy.
The Core Values of the United Church of Christ are continuing testament, extravagant welcome, and changing lives; and all settings of the church seek to live into the UCC’s Vision of a just world for all.