About The United Church Of Christ
Welcome to FCCGE, an Open & Affirming Church
First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn is part of a denomination called the United Church of Christ (UCC), founded in 1957, but made up of churches that have been around a lot longer than that, going back to the first Pilgrims in America in 1620.
The UCC is known for its welcoming stance toward all people. You can see that goes back a long way when you read the list of the things we did first. Ours was the first historically white denomination to ordain an African-American (in the 18th century), the first in the modern era to ordain a woman (in the 19th century), and the first to ordain an openly gay man (in the 20th century).
We were in the forefront of the anti-slavery movement. We founded the first institutions of higher learning in America (Harvard, Yale) and were among the first to establish schools and colleges for newly freed slaves (Fisk, Dillard). We were early leaders in the Social Gospel movement, taking seriously Jesus’ commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
We brought to North America the concept of freedom of the press; today, the Pilgrim Press is the oldest publishing house in the U.S. We published the first book in what would become the United States (The Bay Psalm Book) and the first (and only!) Christian hymnal that honors in equal measure both male and female images of God: The New Century Hymnal.
We are an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation. The ONA movement in the United Church of Christ (UCC) began on a national level in 1985 when the UCC adopted the resolution, “Calling on United Church of Christ Congregations to Declare Themselves Open and Affirming.” The central affirmation of an ONA congregation is that all people, regardless of persuasion or orientation, are welcome in the full life and ministry of the church. In light of the growing awareness of the interrelatedness of sexual orientation and gender identity, the UCC also encourages the inclusion of transgender persons. Read more here.
UCC churches become officially ONA by adopting an “Open and Affirming” statement expressing this welcome. On June 7, 2009, the First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn voted to endorse the following statement:
At First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, we rejoice in our community of faith, strengthened by diversity, including diversity of culture, economic status, age, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and physical or mental abilities. We affirm that God is glorified when we welcome all people to our spiritual community, as Jesus did. Wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.