Welcome to First Congregational United Church of Christ in Grand Junction! We are a member congregation of the United Church of Christ and participate in interfaith and ecumenical ministry within the Grand Valley and nationally. We are an Open and Affirming (ONA) and Accessible to All (A2A) congregation. We welcome all people regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender preference, ability, and disability.
Our congregation has been on the frontier of ministry and theology since our pioneer days. Officially formed in 1891, we are celebrating our 126th year.
Our church is rooted in the history of the Pilgrims and Puritans, the Congregational Christian Church, and the Evangelical and Reformed German Church. Our ancestry may be old, but our thinking is not. At our church you don't have to check your brain at the door. We believe that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. We worship a Still Speaking God of extravagant welcome. No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey: you're welcome here.
OUR FAITH AND COVENANT
As part of the United Church of Christ (UCC), we are rooted in the spirit of reform, and are committed to on-going learning about our faith and our world, to meaningful worship and spiritual growth, to social justice and to advocacy, to ecumenicity, and to mission and outreach. We are a community of faith that seeks to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in both word and deed.
Our denomination has sometimes been called the “early church” because we’re usually among the first in addressing important issues facing our society. For example:
– Our Congregational forebears were among the first to take a stand against slavery.
– We were the first Protestant denomination to ordain an African-American minister, as well as the first in this country to publish the works of an African American poet.
– We ordained the first woman since New Testament times as a minister (over 150 years ago!).
– We were leaders of the Social Gospel movement, and we formed the first united church in U.S. history.
– We were leaders in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s, and we were the first denomination to ordain an openly gay person.
We believe that “God is still speaking” in our world today, and calling us always to new ways of understanding and living out our faith. As members of our particular church, and of the United Church, we adhere to no specific formula that is a test of faith, but we do take seriously historic statements of faith, including the historic creeds of the Christian church. We believe in the authority of Holy Scripture, and believe that its study should not be limited solely to past understandings and interpretations, but that it should be pursued with hope for new insights and help for our living in today’s world. We believe, in the words of one of our early ministers, that “There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God’s Holy word.”
We believe in the priesthood of all believers – that is, that all church members are called to minister to others, and to participate as equals in the worship of God. And we believe in the importance o responsible freedom – that as individual members of the Body of Christ, we are free to believe and act in accordance with our perception of God’s will for our lives. But we are also called to live in a loving, covenantal relationship with one another.
Our members at First Congregational come from many different faith traditions, and from many life paths. Some of us grew up in the root denominations of the UCC, while others are newer to the United Church. Some of us are long-time residents of the Western Slope, and others are newly-arrived from elsewhere. We are young, we are old, we come from different educational and work backgrounds, we have different physical and mental abilities, we live in different types of families, we have widely-differing theological beliefs, we have different spiritual gifts and longings. And we believe that this diversity is a gift from God, and that it strengthens us as a faith community. We affirm the ideal that Christians do not always have to agree completely, to live and learn and worship together in communion. In all that we do here, we try to live out our belief that no matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.
OPEN AND AFFIRMING DESIGNATION
We, the members of First Congregational United Church of Christ, are an open, affirming and accessible community who strive to follow the teachings of Jesus. Our faith leads us to actively obey Jesus’ inclusive embrace by welcoming, honoring and respecting all people. We offer our hospitality to persons of every race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, family structure, ethnic origin, mental and physical ability, socio-economic status and any or no religious background.
We invite everyone to share in the life, leadership, ministry, responsibilities, fellowship, worship, sacraments, blessings, and joys of our congregation. God’s love is wondrous. We seek to reflect that love by celebrating diversity and by honoring the worth and dignity of every person.
ACCESSIBLE TO ALL DESIGNATION
We, as members of First Congregational Church United Church of Christ in Grand Junction, Colorado, in recognition of our human differences and various gifts, desire to become and A2A – Accessible To All – congregation. This Covenant expresses our intention to extend God’s extravagant welcome to all persons, seeking to understand, include, and empower people with all differing abilities and disabilities, apparent or unapparent.
The ancient practice of hospitality is presented in the Bible as a mandate for God’s people. This mandate requires that every body be included in the work and witness of God’s people on earth. The biblical vision of the Great Banquet is of all gathered at a table dedicated to serving all. Barriers that diminish the access of any diminish the wholeness of all.
We affirm the 2005 Disabilities Ministries resolution “Called To Wholeness in Christ” as adopted by the 25th General Synod of the United Church of Christ on July 4, 2005, honoring the Accessible to All mandate in the mission of the United Church of Christ. This resolution calls us to embody a philosophy of inclusion and interdependence and to support and implement the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.