This Sunday after worship you’re encouraged to attend the ‘State of the Church’ PowerPoint presentation to be given by Moderator Lorrie LeGrand and Trustees’ Chairperson Julio Balcells. This will take place during a potluck lunch in Kelsey Hall. I’ve had a chance to preview the program and promise you that you will find it very interesting and thought-provoking. Thanks in advance to Lorrie and Julio for the work they’ve invested in this meaningful project!
Something to think about in preparation is just what it means to be a congregational church. You know, of course, that the word congregational is part of the church name-Christ Congregational Church, UCC. But unless you’ve refreshed yourself lately on the origins of the United Christ of Christ, you may need to be reminded of the congregational part of our history. The UCC was born as a denomination in 1957 when two denominations, the Evangelical and Reformed church and the Congregational Christian churches came together. Each of these churches was formed by a union of other denominations.
Congregationalism began in England at the end of the sixteenth century. Some members of the Church of England wanted to be part of a church like the early church described in Bible. In that church all of the members shared equally in decisions made in the life of the church. Their vision of church was one in which everyone had a voice. And so, that idea has been a very important of the fabric of the church since its inception in 1620 when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
I have served both in churches out of the Evangelical and Reformed side and from the Congregational side. What I have noticed is that in churches with Congregational roots there is a definite sense of wanting to make decisions as independent thinkers. There is no room for top-down hierarchy. Everyone has a right to share her/his ideas, then to decide as a group, with God’s help, what is best for the church.
You are the church, and your attention, wisdom, and voice are important to its future. I look forward to seeing you Sunday and to hearing your thoughts!
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Candy Thomas
Christ Congregational United Church of Christ