Who We Are & What We Do
United in Spirit
and inspired by God’s grace,
we welcome all, love all,
and seek justice for all.
The First Congregational Church is a United Church of Christ congregation where people from all races, genders, sexual orientations
and backgrounds come together to:
• worship an extravagantly loving God,
• to grow spiritually amidst a family of faith, and
• to work together to make this world more just and more loving for all.
We, at First Congregational Church of East Hartford, declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. We promise to welcome into our full life and ministry, children of God, people of every race, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ability and economic status.
We believe that we can all grow and practice a unity of faith that will transcend our differences and together be a living testimony of God’s steadfast love. We embrace the amazing diversity of God’s creation and believe everyone is created in God’s image.
Therefore, everyone is unique, valuable, and loved by God.
We believe every child of God deserves our respect and honor.
We practice warm, welcoming, extravagant hospitality, as we, together, continue to learn new things about God.
What We Believe
In the United Church of Christ we do not have tests of faith. We are all in this journey of faith together. This statement of faith is a testimony of what many believe.
United Church of Christ Statement of Faith (in the form of a doxology)
We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and our God, and to your deeds we testify:
You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image,and set before each one the ways of life and death.
You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.
You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.
In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself.
You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.
You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in the service of others, 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 victory.
You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you.
Our Denomination: The United Church of Christ
We are proud to be a part of the United Church of Christ. Some say the UCC is akin to hip pilgrims. The official descriptions are below. You can learn more about the UCC at www.ucc.org.
The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a distinct and diverse community of Christians that come together as one church to join faith and action. With over 5,000 churches and nearly one million members across the U.S., the UCC serves God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world. The UCC is a church of firsts, a church of extravagant welcome, and a church where “…they may all be one” (John 17:21).
The Church of Firsts
Since 1957, the United Church of Christ has been the church of firsts, weaving God’s message of hope and extravagant welcome with action for justice and peace. Together, we live out our faith in ways that effect change in our communities. The UCC’s many “firsts” mean that we have inherited a tradition of acting upon the demands of our faith. When we read in Galatians: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”—a demand is made upon us. And so we were the first historically white denomination to ordain an African-American, the first to ordain a woman, the first to ordain an openly gay man, and the first Christian church to affirm the right of same-gender couples to marry. We were in the forefront of the anti-slavery movement and the Civil Rights movement. Our response to the demands of our faith is woven into the history of our country.
A Church of Extravagant Welcome
Today, we continue to change lives throughout the world. We work alongside more than 200 mission partners. We labor ceaselessly to fight injustice, in the United States and abroad. We instill our vision into our youth and young adults, forging leaders who will imagine new dreams. And we sustain and develop church leaders, pastors, and our local churches to live their faith in exciting new ways. We believe in a God that is still speaking, a God that is all-loving and inclusive. We are a church that welcomes and accepts everyone as they are, where your mind is nourished as much as your soul.
We are a church where Jesus the healer meets Jesus the revolutionary, and where together, we grow a just and peaceful world.