The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant denomination formed in 1957. This came about as the result of a merger between the Evangelical & Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian tradition. Our rich heritage upholds local church autonomy (i.e. the freedom of faith and practice), places a high emphasis on educated clergy and laity, and strives toward social justice and community outreach. Thus, the UCC is a progressive expression of Christianity in a complex world.
For decades, the UCC has developed close partnerships with other denominations in an effort “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). These relationships extend to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Presbyterians USA, the United Methodist Church, the American Baptist Church USA, as well as brothers and sisters of other faith traditions. The UCC is a non-creedal tradition that seeks to make Christianity a testimony of faith, not a test of faith. Our intent is to be an open and inclusive religious community to all God’s children.
We gather for worship on Sunday mornings at 8:45am and 10:00am. Our format is rooted in the Reformed tradition of worship (i.e. hymns, liturgy, responses, scripture reading, etc.). There are creative and thematic elements that occasionally transcend the traditional experience.
We usually sing hymns from the Chalice Hymnal (Christian Church – Disciples of Christ). On some instances, we infuse praise songs, contemporary music or non-religious pieces into the service – when appropriate. We have a sanctuary choir that sings most Sundays, as well as a contemporary group – Joyful Noise – that sings on the third Sunday of each month. The choir will share cantatas on high holy days and individuals will contribute their musical talents throughout the year.
Baptisms are performed when an agreeable date is reached between the family and the church. Only one baptism is conducted at a worship service. We typically baptize infants, but adults have also received this gracious gift.
Communion is celebrated on the first Sunday of each month, except for the months of Christmas and Easter, when the sacrament is shared on that holy day. In addition, we gather for the Lord’s Supper on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday. For communion, we often partake all together while people are seated in the pews, but there are a few times when people come forward to participate by intinction (i.e. take a piece of bread off the common loaf and dip the bread into the cup of grape juice or wine).
We have roughly 800 people who claim membership in the church. Not all people who come are members, nor do all of our members come.
We average about 200 people in worship each Sunday. Some seasons, like summer, are a little lower, while Christmas and Easter times see much higher than the average figure.
Our Sunday School hour is at 10:00am; although, we do provide nursery care for our littlest ones at 8:45am. We have over 100 young people from birth to age 18 registered in our program. The average attendance on a given Sunday is around 50 children. (Please read more about our church school program in the….section.)
The pastors offer a prospective members class twice a year (once in the fall and once in the spring). This is typically held on a Sunday after the second worship service. People are welcomed to ask questions and gather information about the ministry and community of St. John. Should folk be interesting in talking with a pastor at a time other than class, please feel free to contact them. During worship on a Sunday morning, those who have attended a session and are interested will join the congregation through the reception of new members.
The annual budget of the church is over $400,000. This is supported strictly through voluntary donations on the part of generous contributors. In 2014, over 10% of the income was given to mission partners and outreach work.