Responses

UCC congregations shine!

Discover the vital ministries and prayerful hopes of United Church of Christ congregations across the denomination. How are UCC churches living out our historic commitments? What are the hopes and prayers of congregations for the broader UCC's future? Please click below to view responses.

We are a united and uniting church
What UCC congregations are doing
What UCC congregations hope for the future

We are a multiracial and multicultural church
What UCC congregations are doing
What UCC congregations hope for the future

We are a church accessible to all
What UCC congregations are doing
What UCC congregations hope for the future

We are an open and affirming church
What UCC congregations are doing
What UCC congregations hope for the future

We are a peace with justice church
What UCC congregations are doing
What UCC congregations hope for the future 

Responses

We are a united and uniting church

What UCC congregations are doing

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

United Church of Christ of La Mesa is active in the San Diego Ecumenical Council and in planning joint programs with other churches (an example is the 2007 Lenten Series conducted in conjunction with "East County Progressive Clergy Network," an inter-denominational group). The church also sponsors and supports other long term interfaith projects, among them the East County Interfaith Shelter for the homeless and the Crisis House, a service which offers counseling services to abused children. We see a special need to reach out and "to unite" youth and young families, especially those currently unchurched. Desiring to be the same loving, accepting congregation that we are for years to come, we want to share the love and justice that we live with our children and grandchildren and with the wider community. UCCLM has so much to offer to those who do not have a church home and we believe they have much to offer us in continuity, in sharing, in "Doing together what we can not do alone." Working toward this goal, we are currently planning a contemporary worship service and taking steps to implement those plans in the near future.

Norton, OH: Grace UCC of Loyal Oak

Our church reaches out to the community and opens its doors to all.

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

We formally adopted "United Church of Christ" as the official name of our church several years ago and have worked diligently to embrace our UCC identity through campaigns like "God is Still Speaking," becoming a "5 for 5" church, and using the UCC logo on all print media and on our website. While honoring our Congregational heritage, we are unashamedly a congregation of the United Church of Christ.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

We have four congregations of various denominations worshiping in our church every week. We have several local service agencies meeting in our church evenings in our church. Our church sponsored "Tent City" finding space for the homeless.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

Everyone was invited to participate in writing our vision statement and a majority of the congregation responded.

Exeter, NH: Congregational Church of Exeter UCC

Our church is Open and Affirming, became so in 1995. We have a sister church in Zimbabwe and bring members from the church here each year. Twice, people from our church have gone there. Our church mission trip this year is to Biloxi MS. We have had a six week worship series on other faiths that included music and hymns, sermons, bulletin inserts with take-home information. We are fully accessible with ramp, elevator, special bathroom, hearing devices, and large-print bulletins. We've had jazz, guitar, drums, and gospel in worship, have a praise choir and a classical choir.

Vernon, CT: First Congregational Church of Vernon

First Congregational Church of Vernon lives out the commitment to be a united and united church. We are an active and vital part of our diverse faith community in Vernon and we participate in numerous interfaith, ecumenical and community worship and program experiences which draw people together around our common belief in God, our desire to strengthen the community and to be in support of one another.

We team up with 3 other churches to run the town-wide week-long Vacation Bible School program which serves more than 110 children. The clergy, volunteers, aids and families come from the UCC, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church. We participate in the Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service, the Ecumenical Holy Thursday Service and the Interfaith Service of Remembrance, as well. The Interfaith services include those from Episcopal, Jewish, Sikh and Muslim traditions as well as those from neighboring towns. At each of these services our unity and our diversity are lifted up as gifts to be embraced.

Additionally, when our pastors hold New Member orientation sessions, the history of our local church and of our denomination are shared, and each new member is given the opportunity to tell where they’ve come from on the faith journey and what’s brought them to FCCV. As a congregation we value the importance of sharing our stories, gleaning wisdom from one another’s experiences, and gaining strength from each one’s presence at the table. As a local congregation we mirror what we value as a denomination – our united and uniting way.

Albuquerque, NM: Church of the Good Shepherd UCC

We are an Open and Affirming congregation with plans beginning to develop to become accessible to all. We tell the story again and again and use the image of a circle of belonging with an open door. Our pastor chairs the NM Council of Churches, and we participate in many hunger action projects. Last year we collected 7500 cans of tomatoes in one month for the local food bank. This year the goal will be 10,000. In New Mexico, tomatoes are a staple!

College Station, TX: Friends Congregational UCC

We are an oasis to our community, as we reside in a highly conservative, relatively uniform town. We are an open and affirming congregation that is devoted to the progressive authenticity of Jesus' teachings. Our vision is to offer God's extravagant welcome to all, and our mission is to seek a deeper spirituality, and to transform God's world one act of love at a time.

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

Cathedral of Hope is an ecumenical body under one roof. Individuals from the Roman Catholic, Buddhist, Protestant, and other faith traditions gather to lift one another up in the spirit of community and the spirit of God's divine love. It is clear that ours is a church of extravagant welcome to all people, no matter where they are on life's journey.

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

We have a potluck and movie the first Friday of the month that is about an issue that affects the whole community. This is open to the public. We unite with people who are not members but come to the services and Sunday School. We participate in open exchanges with other local churches. We also express being united by being open and affirming, allowing groups to use our building and not pressuring them to join our church. We make a special effort for our Lenten studies to be open to the public.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

Our congregation actively participates in the functions of the Philadelphia Association and the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ, and members of our congregation have attended General Synod. In addition, we are active in the Old Philadelphia Congregations, an interdenominational, interfaith ministerium composed of the clergy of the churches in Old City Philadelphia. We provide financial support to the Metropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia, and one of our clergy members had served until his retirement as Executive Director of that body.

We have a partner church relationship with an EKU congregation in Bielefeld, Germany, and through the efforts of one of our clergy members, are in the process of forming a partnership with two congregations in Cuba. On a day-to-day basis, perhaps the most tangible way in which we live out this commitment is through our community ministries.

We partner, on an interdenominational, interfaith basis with numerous city and suburban congregations in providing direct assistance and social justice advocacy for the poor and vulnerable of Philadelphia. Opportunities for future growth would include expanding our partnership network and seeking opportunities to share worship facilities when desirable. In the Philadelphia area, such a network could cooperate to provide for greater efficiency of food distribution, so that donated food is not wasted, but reaches those in need.

Arlington Heights, IL: Congregational UCC

Our congregation is involved in united and uniting in the following ways:

• Discussion of becoming ONA
• Participation in ecumenical studies since the Ecumenical Institute in 1965
• Field trips to churches we supported in inner city of Chicago
• Our congregation’s membership is made up of persons from all kinds of faith background
• The work of our social action committee which includes: an inter-racial pulpit exchange; sponsorship of Cuban and Vietnamese refugees; summer vacation Bible camp open to everyone (had 26 different churches represented last year)
• Our OCWM budget includes diverse social ministries as well as UCC
• Our youth group is made of several churches together from the northwest suburbs of Chicago

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

We hope to participate in ecumenical efforts for justice and peace particularly regarding the war in Iraq, immigration issues, affordable housing and health care for all. We will continue to participate in ecumenical worship in our community.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

For the past 12 years, we have been a part of an ecumenical sharing of services and meetings.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

We believe the UCC looks at what binds us as human beings and as people of God. These qualities that religions have in common include: forgiveness, justice, peace. We can be a shining example.

Exeter, NH: Congregational Church of Exeter UCC

We hope the UCC will work out with Episcopalians the mutual regard the UCC has with Lutherans. Our good neighbors here are Episcopalians, who join us in social commitments, etc. But we are separated by the lack of ability to join in liturgies. In New England there aren't a lot of Lutherans, and for Congregationalists, the cradle was Episcopalian, so this re-uniting means much more than with Lutherans. The bent is so very far towards E&R traditions, and ignores Congregational roots. Fervent wish that you correct this. Congregationalists also come from same cradle as Quakers, how about movement there? We have a shared history of abolition, and at times, peace.

Vernon, CT: First Congregational Church of Vernon

It is our hope that there is a future for ecumenical and interfaith relations. We hope that there remains a middle ground, a meeting place, a welcoming forum for people, denominations, traditions and religions to meet and share what we hold in common – and to learn about what is unique for each of us. Can we do this without rigid walls, name calling, going to war? As Christians, is it possible to still remain faithful to our call, and yet celebrate how the Divine One moves among all the peoples of the earth in differing ways? In our own community we find great inspiration and hope when we get together ecumenically and on an interfaith basis; our hope is for renewed energy and focus for this kind of work and worship at the national setting.

Seattle, WA: Fauntleroy Church UCC

We hope that the national church can continue to work ecumenically with others through Church World Service (CSW) and perhaps other venues. Ecumenical conversations need to continue and we need to be sensitive listeners to the needs of others – as well as to witness to our own strengths. We believe denominational alignments are shifting these days and we need to be open to new possible configurations.

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

We have opened our door to a Hispanic congregation to share use our building.


North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

We engage in outreach to the American Indian population in our community. We also welcome people of all religious backgrounds. Our congregation is composed of many religious faiths.

What UCC congregations hope for the future

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

With our commitment to being united and uniting, we believe we need, to quote Romans, to "be inventive in hospitality." When people visit us, they like us. Many stay. We have talked about the need for growth for a long time and have started down that path with our new Director of Youth, Young Families Christian Education, but lots more needs to be done. We need to think "outside the box," strategically, to let the people of our community know we are here and that they are welcome and needed. This same "outside the box" thinking will, we believe, guide us in establishing and participating in additional ecumenical programs.

Norton, OH: Grace UCC of Loyal Oak

That our society would become more open and affirming and less sanctimonious and judgmental.

College Station, TX: Friends Congregational UCC

We have a relationship with the Institute for Interfaith Dialog in College Station, which is primarily founded on the intent to remove hateful stereotypes of Muslim people post-9/11 in our culture. This is one example of the intentional hope that our congregation lives into, as we seek to learn more about ourselves by learning more about others in the richness of God's diverse world. We stand by the African Proverb, in this respect, that boasts, "If you want to go quick, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

We hope the world will come and see that it is possible to be ecumenical and still honor the teachings of Jesus and the Word of God. For the world to see that it is possible for us to truly live as one.

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

We hope the denomination will continue discussions about “united and uniting.” We desire opportunities to hear from missionaries and participate in the Heifer Project. We encourage members of our church to visit other churches and report back. Let’s stay involved.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

By partnering with other settings of the UCC, and with congregations of other denominations and other faiths, we can serve God and our neighbor in acts of community service and social justice advocacy, in ways far beyond what any one congregation can accomplish. Together we testify that we can cooperate across the boundaries of divergent faith traditions and understandings of God.

Arlington Heights, IL: Congregational UCC

Our congregation hopes that the wider UCC will:

• Reach a spirit of one-ness (Our own church should take a lead among others in our own community in joining together in such a spirit.)
• Reach out to 20-something
• Start a U-2 ministry on a website aimed at young adults in their 20's

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

We continue to emphasize the oneness in Christ. We lift up the denomination by putting Christ and the people of the church first.

North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

We would like to be able to work with the other churches in our town so that we could help more. Our denominational stance on some issues makes us seem untouchable to them.

We are a multiracial and multicultural church

What UCC congregations are doing

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

Although La Mesa's congregation reflects the basically Caucasian demographics of its location, its membership and its leadership include people of various ethnicities. Perhaps the best expression of that inclusiveness is its Puerto Rican pastor. Recent months have seen a steady move toward increased diversity, perhaps most noticeably in the Sunday school. Both our pastor and our Director of Youth, Young Families and Christian Education speak Spanish, as do many of our members – an ability especially valuable in our work with and support of Casa Hogar 29, an orphanage in San Antonio de las Minas, Baja California. Another special event along these lines is our youth group's upcoming mission trip to Puerto Rico.

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

We sponsor creative multicultural programs including singing groups from the Dominican Republic. Mission Hills experiments with worship that embraces cultures other than our majority Anglo culture.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

We have been an Open and Affirming church for several years and have followed through with our commitment by inviting minorities to come to our church.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

We welcome all races into our church. Our Youth Mission trips to Appalachia last summer and God's Katrina Kitchen this summer is supported by members both financially and physically.

Exeter, NH: Congregational Church of Exeter UCC

NH is pretty much a white state, so becoming multi-racial is tough. But there are Buddhist, Jewish, and Hindu temples near us. We take our confirmands to visit the temples. And we are, as a congregation, learning more about other faiths. Already there have been a couple of weddings between someone who grew up in our church and a Hindu or Buddhist from another nation. Also, our Mission Committee is a sponsor for Fresh Air, a program in which families take an inner city New York City child for a few weeks in the summer.

Seattle, WA: Fauntleroy Church UCC

We have developed partnership relations with congregations in Seoul, South Korea (actively participating in annual exchanges), and with a little community in the Oaxaca province of Mexico (where we will be sending a second mission group this summer).

Albuquerque, NM: Church of the Good Shepherd UCC

New Mexico is a growing and changing landscape of opportunities. We are a third Anglo, a third Native American, and a third Hispanic/Mexican American. Our congregation is reflective of our community so much that we hardly notice.

Norton, OH: Grace UCC of Loyal Oak

Our location has impeded our ability to draw people of other races and cultures due to its largely homogenized condition. However, we have often had visitors from other areas and have always welcomed them warmly.

College Station, TX: Friends Congregational UCC

We share a diverse mix of families in our flock that come together because of the love that is evident within our church walls. That same love resonates throughout our community. The word is out there that people can be family with and for one another in our church. We are delighted to have a group of families who have adopted Korean and Chinese children, single-parent families, same-sex parent families, interracial families and our intergenerational family of Friends.

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

Cathedral of Hope has outreach ministries to African American and Hispanic communities. ALL are welcome. With great vision for its future, those who helped to create the Cathedral in its present form included stained glass windows that incorporate "Hope" in English and Spanish. This past Sunday, the Hispanic ministry added a native Spanish-speaking minister. We also have a deaf ministry.

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

We express our multiracial and multicultural through being open and affirming, supporting members of other races, our Taize services, and our Sunday school for children.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

As a downtown urban congregation, our congregation's membership and lay leadership is multiracial and multicultural. In particular, in recent years we have welcomed immigrants from Liberia and Nigeria, who have gone on to take leadership roles in our congregation. In worship, we have attempted to incorporate music reflecting the racial and cultural diversity of our congregation. We hope our congregation's membership will continue to become more reflective of our city's demographics. One "growing edge" for our congregation would be greater inclusion in worship across economic lines; for example, greater opportunities for those served by our homeless shelter and cupboard ministries to participate in leading worship. Another area for future growth would be new opportunities for worship participation of children of all races and cultures.

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

Although we share our building with a Hispanic congregation, at this time we do not actually have multiracial or multiracial members.

North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

Through Christian Education, our mission focuses on American Indian children. We transport the children to church on Sunday and provide Sunday School as well as meals. We also have a Vacation Bible School in the summer and field trips through out the year.

What UCC congregations hope for the future

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

Outreach plans include translating our visitors' brochures and information packets into Spanish (other languages to follow) and submitting information about our activities to Spanish language publications. Flyers and posters in Spanish are also in the planning stage.

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

We hope that we might be more involved in the Hispanic community in our area and be more welcoming in our worship to other cultures.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

I think we have made some progress, but could do better.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

The youth are an important and vital part of our future. They are living in a multicultural world and adults can learn from them to look beyond race.

Exeter, NH: Congregational Church of Exeter UCC

Our main hope is that the UCC will grow to be more spiritually Christian, more interested in and educated about the traditions of prayer and peacefulness that exist in Christianity. We pray that the UCC will alter its model of being multiracial and justice-seeking from a confrontational model to a model of inner strength and clarity of soul – born of prayer and light and love. This means moving from demanding justice to becoming in ourselves the justice that we seek.

Norton, OH: Grace UCC of Loyal Oak

We hope that our denomination may grow stronger and have influence over the present day's trend toward inhibition and repression.

College Station, TX: Friends Congregational UCC

Our church is a pretty accurate microcosm of the nature of religion in our country at the turn of the century: less denominationalism and more ecumenism. To that degree, I pray that the diversity that we relish at Friends would be embraced in our congregations nationwide for the sake of so many coming together in ways that do not uplift only one group of people or one sect of society in thankful response to what God is doing in our churches and in our world in the name of that Divine love.

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

We hope the UCC will reach out to the various cultures and peoples within our community and our world to say there is a place for you in our family and in the family of God.

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

We hope our denomination will continue to support issues that are multiracial and multicultural.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

Our diverse membership can testify as to how we've experienced God's love and grace – along with the challenges of Christian discipleship – in a wide variety of settings and circumstances, far beyond what could be experienced in a less diverse congregation. We have been blessed by our experiencing a wide range of worship styles. We are constantly challenged to rethink our faith journeys in light of the varied life experiences of fellow congregants.

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

Our town is multicultural and multiracial and will continue to reach out and hope for greater diversity in our congregation.

North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

Our area is primarily made up of Caucasian people and a large number are retired. We also have a large American Indian population. We have some lesbian women in our church, but not aware of any other racial or cultural people.

We are a church accessible to all

What UCC congregations are doing

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

Access to almost all areas of the church is easy for those in wheelchairs or requiring walkers and our people are ever ready to offer assistance, where needed. The entries to the church, sanctuary, fellowship hall, and restrooms are level and ramps lead to the Christian Education rooms, AA Meeting Room, Youth Room and kitchen. Designated space for wheelchairs and chairs for those with wheelchair-bound worshipers is provided at all services. Special earphones (part of our new sound system) for the hard of hearing are available and we have a member who knows Sign Language and is available to translate the service upon request. The men's women's and "family" restrooms are equipped with infant changing tables.

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

We made our restrooms accessible and the entire first floor - including the chancel accessible. All areas of our sanctuary are accessible. We have sponsored a variety of forums on this topic.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

We try to make all visitors welcome and explain to them what our church stands for and invite them to come back.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

Our church continues to improve the accessibility of our church to those with disabilities – as those with hearing disabilities and those in wheel chairs.

Exeter, NH: Congregational Church of Exeter UCC

We are fully accessible with a ramp, elevator, special bathroom, pew sections, hearing devices, and large print bulletins. We have several members who are in wheelchairs and many who need hearing assistance. We are O&A and have several gay and lesbian couples.

Seattle, WA: Fauntleroy Church UCC

We use a golf cart to bring folks who have difficulty walking from our parking lot to our front door. In April we voted to proceed with a capital improvement project that includes installing an elevator. We have listening devices and large print bulletins each Sunday.

Albuquerque, NM: Church of the Good Shepherd UCC

We are in the middle of developing plans to become accessible to all. Our older members are beginning to feel the need. We have a signer for the hearing impaired, a good sound system that people are encouraged to use, and large print bulletins available for those who need them. We still need to put in an elevator or change the building around to have an alternative to stairs.

Norton, OH: Grace UCC of Loyal Oak

We have made sure that we have ramps available for handicapped persons and helpers to assist with parking cars and accessing the building. We are an active part of the area's interfaith community.

College Station, TX: Friends Congregational UCC

Our extravagant welcome is intended for all, and we try to revisit how we are or are not providing that extravagant welcome frequently. Within the last year, we have begun using large print bulletins for those with visual restrictions and a new portable annex outside our sanctuary that is used for committee meetings. Our Sunday school has handicap accessible bathrooms. Even our sound system strives to provide articulate resonance of the message in our worship services so that all will hear what is being read, taught, and preached.

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

We have interpreters available for our deaf members. We have a designated Spanish speaking worship service. Our building is accessible to our members who utilize wheelchairs.

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

Members help others who have walkers come to church. Our Choir accommodates members who have walkers. We provide large print Sunday worship bulletins.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

Our church building has a front door ramp and an elevator to our 2nd floor sanctuary. Our most recent capital campaign included funds to make our rest rooms wheelchair-accessible, and we have also created spaces in our pew layout for wheelchairs. Areas for future growth would include Braille or large-print Bibles, hymnals, and other worship materials, TTD or signing services for those who are hearing-challenged, along with improved access to worship leadership opportunities for those who are differently-abled.

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

We removed all steps into the building and any restrictive railings. We are remodeling the kitchen to make it more accessible.

North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

We have ramps at our entrances. Our restrooms are handicapped accessible.

What UCC congregations hope for the future

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

One need still to be addressed is for Braille materials. We are talking about how to provide assistance to our hearing-impaired sisters and brothers on a more permanent basis. Our hope is to continue to be a welcoming church home for all and one where special needs are recognized and met.

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

At Mission Hills, we plan to install an elevator so that the second floor is accessible to all. This is planned as an aspect of building improvement for our 100th anniversary. We will also put up many more signs to indicate accessible entrances, etc.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

We have a web site where we lay out our services and programs and some pictures of past happenings.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

The Still Speaking campaign resonates in our hearts and in our church. We supported it through our church and individually. May the wider UCC continue to initiate, so we can support, this type of media campaign.

Norton, OH: Grace UCC of Loyal Oak

The congregation of Grace UCC of Loyal Oak considers every member a minister and our pastor is our staff to lean on. We would like to see more open and affirming churches in the area.

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

Our church is seeking to evangelize to those who have physical and/or cognitive differences and to provide worship services and opportunities that best meet their needs.

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

The UCC should keep looking for ways to make our church accessible for all.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

By providing access, we are truly able to welcome people throughout the full course of their lives, from infancy through old age. We can say, with integrity, "neither height, nor depth, nor any other circumstance can separate our members from the love of God – or from the gathered community of the church."

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

We continue to speak of accessibility.

North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

I think that we are the hope for people who are looking for accessibility. Many churches say "no" to any one who is different.

We are an open and affirming church

What UCC congregations are doing

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

The following press release celebrates what we, as a church, have accomplished in this area: The United Church of Christ (UCC) Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns conferred its 2007 Eleonore & Oliver Powell Award on the United Church of Christ of La Mesa (UCCLM) at the UCC Southern California Nevada Conference's Annual Gathering. The award was presented for demonstrating a vision of inclusiveness in living out our mission in the local community and commended our congregation for believing in, welcoming, loving and empowering all of God's children and for living our motto "Doing together what we cannot do alone." This award was a surprise to our congregation. Our pastor expresses our hope about who are welcome in our church. He says, "All people young, old, male, female, black, white, brown, yellow, single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, straight, conservative, liberal, moderate from all walks of life, for we are all created in God's own image. We are a truly diverse congregation who strive to love one another as God loves us. Our members live their faith and their commitment to God and extend God's extravagant welcome to everyone." Though not officially an Open and Affirming Church (yet!), our congregation's commitment to inclusiveness is reflected in its makeup. Among our members are gay and lesbian individuals, couples and families -- all fully involved in our programs and activities.

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

We voted to become an Open and Affirming congregation one year ago. Since then our membership has grown substantially. We have celebrated Pride Sunday, Coming Out Day, and National AIDS Day. We have instituted the Open and Affirming task force as a standing committee in our by-laws.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

By trying to live up to the open and affirming concept by trying to live by our oath.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

We are an open and affirming church to all God's people. We embrace diversity including gay and lesbian members.

Exeter, NH: Congregational Church of Exeter UCC

We have been an Open and Affirming congregation since 1995.

Seattle, WA: Fauntleroy Church UCC

We became an Open and Affirming congregation in 1996. We reaffirmed that stance in 1997. We perform same-gender covenant services. We participate in the Religious Coalition for Equality and have had a delegation for the last several years visiting our legislature on Equality Day.

Albuquerque, NM: Church of the Good Shepherd UCC

We have been Open and Affirming for several years. We are clearly one of the most welcoming and friendly congregations in the city. We are enthusiastic and exuberant in our welcome and have a good system for follow-up and assimilation. The key thing, however, is that our welcome is extravagant.

Norton, OH: Grace UCC of Loyal Oak

We have donated use of our Fellowship Hall and classrooms to organizations with members who are not necessarily members of our church, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Girl Scouts, Interfaith Hospitality Network (we house homeless families for a week at a time), the Norton-Barberton-Wadsworth Peace Group.

College Station, TX: Friends Congregational UCC

Through two years of purposeful dialog, education, prayer and worship, our church came to the shared decision to become an open and affirming congregation.

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

We are considered the world's largest LGBT faith community.

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

We support those who are gay. lesbian, bisexual or transgendered (GLBT). We have become an open and affirming church.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

Since our congregation's 1995 vote to become an Open and Affirming congregation, we have welcomed many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to membership and leadership in our congregation. Our church has hosted a number of commitment ceremonies for committed same-gender couples. For years, we have had displays at Philadelphia's three annual LGBT festivals. Most recently, in response both to the 2005 General Synod marriage resolution and a proposed amendment to Pennsylvania's constitution to bar same-gender marriage, our Official Board approved a resolution supportive of same-gender marriage, and participated in a successful advocacy campaign to stop the anti-marriage constitutional amendment. We are currently drafting a wedding policy which we intend to be inclusive of same-gender couples. Future goals may include worship and support group gatherings for nontraditional families and partnerships with other LGBT-supportive congregations.

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

We are always open and affirming, at present we have no known gay or lesbian members.

North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

Our mission statement says that we welcome all...and we do and have for a long time. We are in the process of putting together a class on Open and Affirming.

What UCC congregations hope for the future

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

We want to do more of what we are doing! We are proud of and enriched by our diversity.

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

Mission Hills hopes for more outreach to the local GLBT community which is right next to us – to establish support groups for GLBT persons and to continue to advocate for equal rights in marriage for all.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

We have hope about our future – hope to find more people to get excited by the growth of our congregation and our history as the oldest church in Kirkland.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

Our vision statement was crafted in 2005 by church members. The first lines speak to a welcoming inclusive family of faith. The process of becoming O&A was filled with hope.

Seattle, WA: Fauntleroy Church UCC

We hope the national church will continue to be a beacon of light in the ongoing conversations – both ecumenically and politically – in the days and years ahead.

Norton, OH: Grace UCC of Loyal Oak

I would like for more of the UCC churches in my area of Ohio do the same types of things which Grace does.

College Station, TX: Friends Congregational UCC

We hope that all UCC churches, and all of God's churches, would become open and affirming – so that the term “open and affirming” need not be used for the sake of this issue being stripped of its negative power. Our GLBT children, after all, are not issues. They are children of God, people of faith, and members of our shared human family.

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

To help our heterosexual sisters and brothers feel welcome. Also to provide education and resources to help those supportive of the LGBT community better express how their belief and support are congruent with the Word of God.

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

We hope the UCC will further educate people about the GLBT community.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

Our congregation has welcomed numerous LGBT people, some of whom have experienced considerable hostility in other faith communities. Our congregation has been enriched by their gifts and their testimonies of faith. Together we have seen that "God is still speaking," and that we can move beyond static understandings of Scripture and tradition to experience the love of God who constantly moves to embrace those who have previously been marginalized.

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

We believe the church should truly be open to all.

North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

We think that open and affirming issues are becoming more and more significant, not just in the church, but throughout our country. We think that we as a church can be an example of that.

We are a peace with justice church

What UCC congregations are doing

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

UCC of La Mesa members with special interest/involvement in peace and justice issues conduct programs at the church and provide information about them to all. Recent examples of these programs have included a showing and discussion of "The Ground Truth " and a presentation discussing the United State's policy toward the Middle East (included the speaker's experiences in Lebanon). Among the programs supported by UCCLM and in which members are actively involved are Habitat for Humanity, The UCC Coffee Project, Heartland Human Relations, Crisis House, Interfaith Committee for Workers Justice, Interfaith Shelter Network, Winter Shelter Program, El Nido Transitional Housing, International Relief Teams, Hesperian Foundation, Special Delivery, Planned Parenthood, Neighbors in Need, One Great Hour of Sharing and Heifer International.

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

We express the commitment through Bible study, preaching, and participating in social service agencies that advocate for justice and peace.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

Our worship services have stressed the peace with justice theme.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

Striving to live peace individually and collectively is our gift to each other and to the world. We have developed an Exploring Contemporary Values Forum where we strive to educate our congregation and visitors to injustices/issues in our country and around the world, such as Darfur, Wal-Mart, and Immigration issues.

Exeter, NH: Congregational Church of Exeter UCC

Having a sister church in Zimbabwe is a part of this commitment for us. Mission trips are part of this commitment. Our concern for Darfur is part of this commitment.

Seattle, WA: Fauntleroy Church UCC

Many members of Fauntleroy participate in the peace and justice network of the UCC. We are re-starting a Peace & World Affairs Task Force. We have had a number of study groups on various issues. Each month we send letters for Amnesty International.

Albuquerque, NM: Church of the Good Shepherd UCC

We keep the conversation open. Last Sunday we celebrated Memorial Day with the Justice and Peace theme. We made quilts for the vets, brought tons of underwear, t-shirts, and personal items, sang "Bring Him Home" from the musical Les Misérables. We sang about peace throughout the land! We seem to have struck a thoughtful balance between the warriors and the peaceniks.

Norton, OH: Grace UCC of Loyal Oak

Janet Dailey, our Social Justice chair for Grace, spends a lot of time each week helping the members get information and tools to respond to various causes that the UCC wishes to address. We have a Social Justice room and provide letters, addresses, information, and envelopes to make it easy for congregation members to take an active part in the activities recommended by the UCC. Our congregation has been very receptive.

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

We have an active peace with justice ministry that seeks to promote a world of peace, to call into account our politicians for decisions which exclude and continue to oppress, and to speak out against the current war and/or future wars.

Our church is also seeking to begin construction on a Peace Chapel that will be opened to individuals of ALL faiths and abilities. The chapel is designed to further bring together the body of Christ and the kin-dom of God such that we are one.

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

On the first Friday of the month, we support our troops in a local peace march. We help our missionaries, and support natural disaster victims.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

We have not officially taken action to declare ourselves a peace with justice congregation, but we have taken some steps. Our congregation took down a longstanding flag pole (mostly due to structural deterioration) and replaced it with a peace pole. Members of our congregation have participated in peace vigils and other advocacy against the Iraq war. Locally, some of our members are involved in efforts to reduce the level of gun violence in the city of Philadelphia, particularly among youth.

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

We have held prayer meetings and supported the Hispanic community around the closing of Tyson and people have stayed in town.

North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

We are affiliated with a group that donates books to mothers in prison. They tape the books and give them to their children so that the children can hear their mothers' voices. We have a member who visits people in prison. We donate to rescue missions who help the homeless.

What UCC congregations hope for the future

La Mesa, CA: United Church of Christ of La Mesa

Our dream is to continue to provide relevant and inclusive ministry in our community and the world. It is our hope that those who come to visit experience what "true community" is all about and that they, in turn, teach others to build community. We would like to be a "beacon of hope" for those who have never experienced unconditional love. It is our dream that our love reaches out not only our community, but our city, our state, our nation and the world.

San Diego, CA: Mission Hills UCC

We hope the UCC will continue to be a leader in justice and peace issues. We cannot give up our leadership in this area and must rely on God's grace to guide and empower.

Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational UCC

As a congregation, we feel that we can stress to the community how our faith offers peace and justice.

Dallas, TX: Central Congregational UCC

Many of us participate politically by voting, writing, emailing to our elected officials through the UCC's Peace and Justice program and other justice-oriented programs.

Seattle, WA: Fauntleroy Church UCC

We hope the National setting can provide not only a prophetic witness, but also new resources to help us move more coherently as a congregation.

Dallas, TX: Cathedral of Hope

The Dalles, OR: United Church of Christ Congregational

The UCC will continue to educate the community and support our country.

Philadelphia, PA: Old First Reformed UCC

While our members hold a variety of views on what "peace with justice" means, our congregation feels it is important to seek peace – in our neighborhoods as well as internationally – and to work for nonviolent ways to resolve conflict. A major growth opportunity for our congregation would be formally to declare ourselves a peace with justice church, and to set up mechanisms to embrace and support, through prayer and fellowship, those who work for peace.

West Point, NE: Trinity UCC

We continue to support peace with justice and realize that justice is different for many people depending on race and culture.

North Fork, CA: Grace Community UCC

It seems that UCC is always on the leading edge of peace and justice issues. It has a history clear back to early American times. We are like a conscience
 
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