First Congregational Church of Alexandria is part of a national Denomination called the UCC; (The United Church of Christ.) The UCC is unique in that it is the result of the merger of four very different church bodies. We trace our roots to the Pilgrims, (Congregationalists) who, seeking religious freedom, first set foot on Plymouth Rock in 1620.
The United Church of Christ is known for many “firsts,” in America. With a high regard for education, we built the first colleges and Universities on American soil. With a long held belief that all people are created equal in the image of God, our churches ordained the first women, people of color, and gay and lesbian pastors. In August 2015, when MN state statutes allowed it, we celebrated the first marriage of a same sex couple in Alexandria.
It is noteworthy that in July 2017, First Congregational Church celebrated 150 years of ongoing ministry here, on the exact spot where the church has stood since 1867. We take pride in the fact that God has used us to communicate love, grace and hope to a hurting world for fifteen decades! By God’s grace, we are faithfully committed to pass that legacy of love on to the next generation.
United Church of Christ: Statement of Faith
Adapted by Robert V. Moss
We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, who is made known to us in Jesus our brother, and to whose deeds we testify: God calls the worlds into being, creates humankind in the divine image, and sets before us the ways of life and death. God seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin. God judges all humanity and all nations by that will of righteousness declared through prophets and apostles. In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, God has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the whole creation to its Creator. God bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.
God calls us into the church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be servants in the service of the whole human family, 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. God promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in that kingdom which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto God.
A feature of our church life that we particularly cherish is that we do not demand conformity in thought and belief among our members. Rather we encourage individuals to ask questions and to explore their faith believing that,
“No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”
In addition we strongly believe that service to the community and world in the name of Jesus Christ, is of paramount importance.
About the UCC Denomination
The United Church of Christ (UCC) brings together many Christian traditions.
Instead of focusing upon unchanging truths, it strives to unite diverse understandings of Christianity by treating historic creeds and confessions as testimonies, not tests of faith. We say, “whoever you are and wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” We assert that “God is still speaking.”
In the United Church of Christ there is no central authority or hierarchy. Christ alone is Head of the church. Each congregation is autonomous and local churches are governed by their members guided by the Holy Spirit. Local church members covenant together to be a faithful community in a particular place, and at the same time each congregation relates to the wider church family (denomination) through voluntary covenants. Sometimes people confuse the “United Church of Christ” with the “Churches of Christ.” That denomination is quite different and does not embrace the progressive social witness characterized by the UCC.