The United Church of Christ acknowledges as its sole head, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour. It acknowledges as kindred in Christ all who share in this confession. It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. It claims as its own the faith of the historic Church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression, and in purity of heart before God. In accordance with the teaching of our Lord and the practice prevailing among evangelical Christians, it recognizes two sacraments; Baptism and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.
From the Preamble to the Constitution of the United Church of Christ
Oldtown Church is a Christian, Reformed Protestant church, and a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC). We live by the words of the UCC,
“Whoever you are, and wherever you are on life’s journey,
you are welcome here.”
We strive to foster a climate of purposeful inclusion, an environment where all can feel safe, valued, cared for, and given an opportunity to form meaningful connections with each other. We cherish the diversity of humanity, a diversity which includes differences in race, ethnicity, skin color, national origin, age, range of abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, financial means, upbringing, education, political perspective, and past personal experience. This welcome is extended without requiring adherence to any religious belief or creed, though our faith can generally be characterized by the following ideas.
We declare ourselves to be part of the body of Christ – the universal Christian Church. We continue the witness of the early disciples to the reality and power of the crucified and risen Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.
Our denomination arose from the tradition of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformers, and we are proud to have recently celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. We confess the authority of one triune God. We affirm the primacy of the Scriptures, the doctrine of justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the principle of Christian freedom.
We are a Congregational church, meaning that the congregation itself – all members including the pastor, is ultimately responsible to God for all the affairs of the church. The local church is the basic unit of our church denomination. Members of the congregation covenant with one another and with God as revealed in Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
THAT THEY MAY ALL BE ONE (John 17:20-21)
This motto of the UCC reflects the spirit of unity on which the church is based and points toward future efforts to heal the divisions in the body of Christ. We are a uniting church as well as a united church.
GOD IS STILL SPEAKING
This classic statement from the UCC assumes the primacy of the Bible as our source for understanding the good news, and as foundational for all statements of faith. It recognizes that the Bible, though written in specific historical times and places, still speaks to us in our present condition because God is a still-speaking God. It declares that the study of Scripture is not limited by past interpretations but is to be pursued with expectancy for new insights and help for living today. The Word is intended to have context, both the context in which it was originally written and directed to its original audience, and to be relevant in our lives in the context of today’s world.
THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS
All members are called to minister to others and to participate as equals in the common worship of God, each with direct access to the mercies of God through personal prayer and devotion. Recognition is given to those among us who have received special training in pastoral, priestly, educational, and administrative functions, but these persons are regarded as ministers – servants – rather than as persons in authority. Their task is to guide, to instruct, and to enable all Christians to do the work of ministry rather than to do the work of ministry for us.
As individual members, we are free to believe and act in accordance with our perception of God’ swill for our lives. But we are called to live in a loving covenental relationship with one another. All are encouraged to study the Word for themselves and to interpret it as it is revealed to them in their lives, whether that study happens individually or in groups. Our congregation acts in accordance with the collective decisions of its members, guided by the working of the Spirit in the light of the Scriptures, in relationship with our community and with other congregations for the sharing of insights and for cooperative action.
We affirm that the authority of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and interpreted with the aid of the Holy Spirit, stands above and judges all human culture, institutions, and laws. But we recognize our calling both as individuals and as the church to live in the world:
- ministering to its needs,
- contributing to the welfare of all,
- being enriched by those aspects of culture that help to make human life more human,
- working through institutions and supporting laws that reflect God’s just and loving purposes for the world, and
- seeking justice and liberation for all.
UCC STATEMENT OF FAITH
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, to 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. Amen.