We are a progressive Protestant Christian church, a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC). We have a long history. Established 1742. Meetinghouse was built in 1815. The Amistad Incident? Abolition of slavery? The 1970 Black Panther trials? Divestment in South Africa? United was there. AND We believe God is still speaking to the world today... and we're trying to listen. Not a "The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it." kind of church. Questions encouraged. Been "Open and Affirming" of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons since 1989. AND We are working with God to build a better future. Trying to "connect the dots" to grow peace, justice, and compassion in the world. Not interested in "saving souls" or "converting the heathen." God's love is for all.
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.
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 has 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:
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 notwithstanding. 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.
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 more important with undeniable evidence that climate change is real and already happening around the world. In 2008 a renewed Environmental Task Force was convened to reinvigorate our commitment to environmental justice. 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.