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About the UCC


The United Church of Christ was created in 1957 when the Congregational Christian Churches merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Churches. Tracing the roots of the UCC, we see that our history is intertwined with that of America itself. Among the many important names and events in our past, a few highlights are:

1630: John Winthrop founds the Congregational Church and prays that he and fellow Pilgrims will create a society that will "be as a city upon a hill. . . the eyes of all people upon us."

1700: Rev. Samuel Sewall, a Congregationalist minister, writes the first anti-slavery pamphlet in America.

1773: The Boston Tea Party is the nation's first act of civil disobedience, organized first at Old South Meeting House, a Congregational Church.

1773: Phillis Wheatley, a Congregationalist, becomes the first published African-American author.

1777: The British threaten to melt down the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, but members of the Zion Reformed Church secretly hide it under the floorboards of their church, saving the Liberty Bell.

1785: Lemuel Haynes is the first African-American minister ordained by a Protestant denomination.

1839: Congregationalists mount a legal defense of the escaped African slaves from the ship "Amistad," ultimately winning the case in the Supreme Court.

1853: Antoinette Brown becomes the first woman ordained as a minister since New Testament times.

1943: Evangelical and Reformed theologian Reinhold Niebuhr writes "The Serenity Prayer," now famous across the world.

1972: Rev. William R. Johnson becomes the first openly gay person ordained by a Protestant denomination.

What will the future bring for the UCC? Because we are a decentralized church--meaning that Christ, not any specific person or organization, is our head--we depend on each congregation to tackle the great issues of the 21st century. An example of an issue many in the UCC are speaking out on today is the relationship between faith and science. To read more about faith and science, click here.

To see the sources for the information listed above, or just to learn more about the history, theology, and structure of the United Church of Christ, visit

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