About the UCC

This is who the United Church of Christ is: the oldest and largest Protestant denomination in Connecticut, with at least one church in nearly every town.

We are the people who ordained the first African American (Rev. Lemuel Haynes, Torrington, 1785), the first woman (1853), and the first openly gay minister (1972). We are the people who befriended and defended the captives of the Amistad (1839), and started 700 schools and colleges for the education of newly freed slaves immediately following the Civil War.

We founded (1970) and continue to support the largest nonprofit affordable housing corporation in Connecticut, New Samaritan Corporation. We have always been a people of energetic diversity in our backgrounds and theological positions, and a people who come early to advocacy for justice and peace concerns that others might not see so clearly in the same time period.

We are also a denomination that places a high value on both freedom and covenant, two endangered values on the landscape of the American religious scene. Among us, each church makes its own decisions about the calling of its pastor, the nature of its worship and church life, the theological values it most cherishes, and the control of its finances and property.

We have no hierarchy, except our common bond in covenant with God and with one another to strengthen our shared witness. No one dictates what a given local church will do, or what a member will believe. Indeed the Preamble to our national Constitution says the United Church of Christ “affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression and in purity of heart before God.” We believe that in each generation, God is still speaking....

By and large, we are people and churches who take the Bible too seriously to take it literally, who value the questions of the faith journey at least as much as the answers, who welcome people just as they are, who do not shy away from applying the faith to every aspect of our lives, from shopping to politics, from work to family. We are committed to creating and sustaining churches and programs that are safe and nurturing for all people, especially children and youth.

We believe that God is still speaking and we are still listening. In the words of Gracie Allen’s note, left for George Burns when she died, “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.”

by Davida Foy Crabtree, Conference Minister,  1996 - 2010
Published in the Hartford Courant Monday, June 14, 2004

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