The United Church of Christ

Fort Myers United Church of Christ is a congregation proudly affiliated with the United Church of Christ, a “mainline” denomination with over 5,000 churches and nearly one million members across the country. The United Church of Christ was founded in 1957 by a merger of the Congregational and Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church (E&R). Congregationalists trace their roots back to 1620 with the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, and the E&R is of liberal German parentage.

The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a Christian denomination known for its commitment to inclusivity, social justice, and progressive theology.

  • Historically Rooted: The UCC has historical roots in the Congregational, Christian, Evangelical, and Reformed traditions, reflecting a rich history of theological development and diversity.
  • Diverse: The UCC encompasses diverse theological perspectives and worship styles, allowing for a broad spectrum of beliefs and practices.
  • Progressive: The UCC is often considered a progressive denomination, engaging with contemporary social and ethical issues and advocating for justice and equality.
  • Social Justice: The UCC has a strong tradition of social justice activism, advocating for issues such as civil rights, environmental justice, and economic equality.
  • Inclusive (“Open and Affirming”): The UCC is known for its open and affirming stance, welcoming people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and backgrounds.
  • Autonomous: Local congregations within the UCC have a high degree of autonomy, meaning they have significant control over their own affairs and decision-making.
  • Liturgical Diversity: UCC worship services can vary widely, with some congregations following more traditional liturgical practices while others adopt a more contemporary and informal approach.
  • Ecumenical: The UCC is involved in various ecumenical efforts, seeking unity and collaboration with other Christian denominations.
  • Congregational Polity: The UCC operates under a congregational polity, meaning that individual congregations have a high degree of authority and decision-making power.

The Church of Firsts

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 affect 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.

Some of the “firsts” in the UCC include:

  • 1620: Pilgrims seek spiritual freedom
  • 1700: An early stand against slavery
  • 1785: First ordained African American pastor
  • 1810: First foreign mission society
  • 1817: First school for the deaf
  • 1846: First integrated anti-slavery society
  • 1853: First woman pastor
  • 1972: Ordination of first openly gay minister
  • 1976: First African American leader elected
  • 2005: Marriage equality
  • 2023: First woman and first woman of African descent elected as General Minister and President

Learn more about all the ways the UCC has been at the forefront of a just world for all on the UCC website: ucc.org/ucc-firsts/

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. Our Faith is 2,000 Years Old. Our Thinking is Not.