Office of General Counsel

Welcome to the Office of General Counsel (OGC)! OGC serves the National Setting and the Conferences of the United Church of Christ.

The General Counsel also serves as the Secretary to the United Church of Christ Board. OGC provides legal counsel and training on a variety of matters including governance, contracts, abuse prevention policies, and intellectual property compliance.  OGC also oversees the United Church of Christ federal group tax exemption and provides proof of tax-exempt status to Local Churches and Conferences.  If your Local Church needs proof of tax-exempt status, please scroll down to request a letter.


We have included information here that is helpful to some of the most common legal-related inquiries that we receive.  Under Church Resources, you will find information on Local Church bylaws, as well as information on copyright compliance for Local Church worship services, whether in-person or online.

The blog below will be updated periodically, so please check back to read more.

Thoughts from General Counsel

Can Churches Require COVID-19 Vaccinations?

Like many United Church of Christ Local Churches, First Congregational Church has been holding…

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Leasing Church Property to a Tenant: What Churches Need to Know.

First Congregational Church United Church of Christ has a large church building with a separate…

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Copyright Compliance Basics for Churches

Pilgrim Church, UCC is a small church.  Before the pandemic, Pilgrim had a weekly in-person…

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Local Church Tax Exempt Letter Requests

The United Church of Christ maintains a group federal tax exemption for Local Churches, Associations, and Conferences.

If your Local Church needs proof of its tax-exempt status under IRC 501(c)(3), please email us your request with your church’s name and contact information.  We will provide you with a letter and documentation stating that your church is tax-exempt under the denomination’s group ruling.  Most third-party organizations will accept this letter as proof of tax-exempt status. Please use the link below and provide your church’s name and contact information

Meet Our General Counsel Staff

Heather E. Kimmel, General Counsel

Heather E. Kimmel is the General Counsel of the United Church of Christ.  She has been serving in that capacity since December 1, 2015.  She joined the Office of General Counsel as Associate General Counsel in 2013.  Before joining the National Setting of the United Church of Christ, she was an attorney at two large law firms and served as a federal judicial clerk.

Cindy Gaffney, Paralegal

Cindy Gaffney joined the Office of General Counsel of the United Church of Christ as a paralegal in 2018 after having worked over 20 years as an Intellectual Property Paralegal.  Prior to working in Intellectual Property, Cindy worked in the areas of probate law and litigation.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and an Associate of Applied Science degree.  She earned her paralegal certificate from Lakeland Community College.

Information Disclaimer

OGC writes and compiles information with United Church of Christ settings specifically in mind.  Information on these pages should not be relied upon as legal advice, and your access to this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship.   Local Churches and United Church of Christ pastors in need of legal advice may contact their Conference for assistance with a referral to an attorney.