United Church of Christ,Maine Conference, UCC
UCC - National Level
United Church of Christ is a protestant denomination that was formed in
1957 when Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational
Christian Churches merged. The basic unit of the UCC is the local church
(often called the congregation). Lay members actively participate in
church organization and governance. There are about 5,287 congregations
with over 1 million members. The average local congregation is 210
members. The UCC is associated with the Churches Uniting in Christ,
National Council of Churches, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and
World Council of Churches. The roots of the merged churches show earlier
unions and a historical connection to the reformed tradition influenced
the national level the UCC has favored liberal views in regard to such
social issues as civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, and abortion
rights. As there is no UCC hierarchy or body to dictate direction, each
congregation is independent in matters of doctrine and ministry and may
not support the national's perspective on social issues. The UCC prides
itself as "an extremely pluralistic and diverse denomination".
Statement of Faith
We believe in God, the eternal spirit, Who is made known to us in Jesus, our brother, and to whose deeds we testify:
God calls the worlds into being, creates humankind in the divine image, and sets before us the ways of life and death.
seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin. God
judges all nations and all humanity by that will of righteousness...
.declared through prophets and apostles.
Jesus Christ, the Man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, God
has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and
reconciling the world to himself.
bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of
Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues
calls us into the Church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to
be servants in the service of the whole human family, to proclaim the
gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in
Christ's baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and
promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and
fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the
presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in
that kingdom which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto God.
What we believe:
can tell you more about the United Church of Christ with the help of
seven phrases from Scripture and Tradition which express our
they may all be one. [John 17:21] This motto of the United Church of
Christ reflects the spirit of unity on which it is based and points
toward future efforts to heal the divisions in the body of Christ. We
are a uniting church as well as a united church.
essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity.
The unity that we seek requires neither an uncritical acceptance of any
point of view, nor rigid formulation of doctrine. It does require mutual
understanding and agreement as to which aspects of the Christian faith
and life are essential.
unity of the church is not of its own making. It is a gift of God. But
expressions of that unity are as diverse as there are individuals. The
common thread that runs through all is love.
of faith rather than tests of faith. Because faith can be expressed in
many different ways, the United Church of Christ has no formula that is a
test of faith. Down through the centuries, however, Christians have
shared their faith with one another through creeds, confessions,
catechisms and other statements of faith. Historic statements such as
the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Heidelberg Catechism, the
Evangelical Catechism, the Augsburg Confession, the Cambridge Platform
and the Kansas City Statement of Faith are valued in our church as
authentic testimonies of faith. [See Beliefs for the complete texts of
some of these testimonies.] In 1959, the General Synod of the United
Church of Christ adopted a Statement of Faith prepared especially for
congregations of the United Church. Many of us use this statement as a
common affirmation of faith in worship and as a basis for study.
is yet more light and truth to break forth from God's holy word. This
affirmation by one of the founders of the Congregational tradition
assumes the primacy of the Bible as a source for understanding the Good
News and as a foundation for all statements of faith. It recognizes that
the Bible, though written in specific historical times and places,
still speaks to us in our present condition. It declares that the study
of the scriptures is not limited by past interpretations, but it is
pursued with the expectation of new insights and God's help for living
Priesthood of All Believers. All members of the United Church of Christ
are called to minister to others and to participate as equals in the
common worship of God, each with direct access to the mercies of God
through personal prayer and devotion.
is given to those among us who have received special training in
pastoral, priestly, educational and administrative functions, but these
persons are regarded as servants—rather than as persons in authority.
Their task is to guide, to instruct, to enable the ministry of all
Christians rather than to do the work of ministry for us.
Freedom. As individual members of the Body of Christ, we are free to
believe and act in accordance with our perception of God's will for our
lives. But we are called to live in a loving, covenantal relationship
with one another—gathering in communities of faith, congregations of
believers, local churches.
congregation or local church is free to act in accordance with the
collective decision of its members, guided by the working of the Spirit
in the light of the scriptures. But it also is called to live in a
covenantal relationship with other congregations for the sharing of
insights and for cooperative action under the authority of Christ.
associations of churches, conferences, the General Synod and the
churchwide "covenanted ministries" of the United Church of Christ are
free to act in their particular spheres of responsibility. Yet all are
constrained by love to live in a covenantal relationship with one
another and with the local churches in order to make manifest the unity
of the body of Christ and thus to carry out God's mission in the world
members, congregations, associations, conferences, General Synod, and
covenanted ministries are free in relation to the world. We affirm that
the authority of God as revealed in Jesus Christ and interpreted with
the aid of the Holy Spirit stands above and judges all human culture,
institutions and laws. But we recognize our calling both as individuals
and as the church to live in the world:
To proclaim in word and action the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To work for reconciliation and the unity of the broken Body of Christ. To seek justice and liberation for all. This is the challenge of the United Church of Christ.