Our Historic roots

As denominations go, the United Church of Christ is new growth from very old roots. In New England, those roots reach back to the Congregationalists and all those white churches dotting town greens across the region. Since the beginning, the UCC has been a church of prophetic "firsts," including: The first African-American (Lemuel Haynes, 1785), first woman (Antoinette Brown), and first openly gay person (William R. Johnson, 1972) ordained to ministry 1700: Rev. Samuel Sewall writes the first anti-slavery pamphlet in America, laying the groundwork for the abolition movement to follow 1959: At the request of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the UCC sues to ensure that the airwaves are public property. As a result, the civil rights movement will be televised. 2005: The General Synod of the UCC passes a resolution affirming marriage equality for same-sex couples and encourage local congregations to celebrate and bless those marriages. 

what we stand for

OPEN AND AFFIRMING

In reality, there are no biblical literalists, only selective literalists. By abolishing slavery and ordaining women, millions of Protestants have gone far beyond biblical literalism. It's time we did the same for homophobia. -- Rev. William Sloane Coffin UCC Pastor/former Yale Chaplain Ending homophobia is not the next civil rights movement, but part of the same great work of striving to defend human dignity as the struggles to end racism, sexism, and any other -ism that divide and diminish our one human family. United Church on the Green is an "Open and Affirming" congregation, which is what we in the UCC call a church that's taken a public stand for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the life of the church and the world. We became Open and Affirming in 1989 with a statement promoting the rights of Ls, Gs, and Bs. In 2009, after a course of study, we added the T, in the revised statement below:

  • OUR OPEN AND AFFIRMING STATEMENT:  "As a church, we acknowledge that throughout much of history, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons have been unjustly dishonored, excluded, and rejected by the church and broader society. We humbly confess our own part in perpetuating these prejudices. "With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we claim God's unconditional love for all persons, for all are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Further, we believe that in Christ 'there is no longer Jew or Greek . . . slave or free . . . male and female' (Galatians 3:28) for 'we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another' (Romans 12:5). "At United Church on the Green, we are called to extend God's extravagant welcome to all. We believe God gives all people a diversity of gifts and that, as a church, we are meant to share our gifts as we seek to transform the world, the church, and our own lives by 'doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God' (Micah 6:8) in the Gospel ways of Christ. "Therefore, we welcome persons of every sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression; every race, nationality, and ethnicity; every financial means and spiritual experience; and every age, sex, and ability into the full life and ministry of this congregation. "No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey, you are invited and welcome at United Church on the Green, United Church of Christ.". 

A JUST PEACE

"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God." --Micah 6:78 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." --Matthew 5:9 If Jesus is to be the "pioneer and perfecter of our faith," then we ought to take note that though he mentioned homosexuality not at all (despite the modern church's fascination with other people's sex lives), Jesus had a great deal to say about the necessity of pursuing justice and peace--Glenn Beck's opinion not withstanding. For more than 25 years, the Just Peace Church program has been a grassroots movement of UCC congregations like ours committed to becoming a justice-doing, peace-seeking church. We define "just peace" as the interrelation of friendship, justice, and common security from violence. God calls the church to a vision of shalom rooted in peace with justice. That places us in opposition to the institution of war, even as we are called to care for the soldiers and their families and the people of other nations who unduly suffer the burdens of warfare. In 2007, United Church rededicated ourselves to this vision with display of thousands of Post-It Notes giving physical expression to the loss of life in the Iraq War, a Veteran's Day service to "Honor the Warrior, Not the War," and the commissioning of a peace pole to stand in front of the church with the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" inscribed on it in many languages.


ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

At United Church, we believe, along with a (painfully slowly) growing number of Christians that our faith calls us not to exercise "dominion over" the earth, but to be good stewards of the creation of which God has made human beings but a part. We've dedicated ourselves to that proposition since 1991, when we passed our first Environmental Resolution, but the cause has become only more important with undeniable evidence that climate change is real and happening already around the world. So in 2008, a renewed Environmental Task Force was convened to reinvigorate our commitment to environmental justice, and in 2009 they brought us a bolder statement mandating more concrete changes to our church lifestyle in order to make us more "green." 


CHILDREN & FAITH FORMATION

Children are not just the future of the church. They are the church right now. Every week during the worship service, all children (and their parents) are invited to come forward to share the Children’s Circle with the minister. Following that, children ages 5 and younger are invited to go to childcare downstairs with their caregivers or to church school (ages 6 to 6th grade) with their teacher. Kids’ pew activity bags are available at the back of the sanctuary for use during worship. Please return them there after the service is ended. Also, there are rocking chairs at the back for parents of infants. No one is going to shush anyone at United Church. If you have babies and would rather not have them in church with you, we do have nursery care teacher to hold and rock your baby. Our nursery has a changing table and a family bathroom. We also are committed to making sure our church is a safe place, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the youngest and most vulnerable among us.

United church of christ

As  a UCC Denomination, "We covenant with God, and one with another; and we do bind our selves in the presence of God, to walk together in all God's ways, according as God is pleased to reveal unto us in the blessed word of truth." --from the Salem Covenant of 1629 Part of what makes United Church on the Green and the broader United Church of Christ different is the way we're put together, the way we organize ourselves for doing the work of being church. While other churches have bishops and district superintendents and conventions and even just local clergy who enforce uniformity from the top down, the UCC is a bottom-up organization. We use what's called "congregational polity," meaning that local members in local congregations make almost every decision in the life of the church. (Local congregations come together as larger associations and regional conferences, even the general synod, nationally, to do what they can't do alone.) And local congregations call their own ministers and elect their own leaders. So unity of purpose trumps uniformity of practice. It can be a bit messy--the church can sometimes feel more like the untied church of Christ than united--but this congregational way keeps us diverse, builds in a lot of breathing room for the Holy Spirit, and unleashes a whole lot creativity as we seek to put the Gospel to work in the world today.