June 25, 2017, will mark the 60th anniversary of the merging of The General Council of Congregational Christian Churches and The Evangelical and Reformed Church at the first General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio in 1957.
Actually, the 1957 union was preceded by the union of The Congregational Church and some members of The Christian Church in 1931 and by the union of The Evangelical Church and The Reformed Church in 1937. So, the United Church of Christ is the final merger among four historic Christian traditions.
To the union that became the United Church of Christ, Congregationalists brought the fruit of education by establishing Harvard, Yale, Pomona College, and lots of other colleges and seminaries and by insisting that the Bible be read with the best of our scholarly tools. The Reformed churches brought fruit of orderly living and orderly worship through ongoing liturgical reform. (It was also a Reformed congregation in Philadelphia that hid the Liberty Bell throughout the Revolutionary War.) The Christian churches brought the fruit of revival, making Christ central through the motto “No creed but Christ” and encouraging unity among Christians through the slogan “In essentials, Unity; in non-essentials, Liberty; and in all things, Charity.” The Evangelical churches brought the fruit of piety and expressed their passion for service by establishing Emmaus Homes, Evangelical Children’s Homes, and Deaconess Foundation.
In the United Church of Christ, we still emphasize education, faithful worship, freedom and justice, unity among Christians, respect for individual conscience in matters of faith, and Christian service to the most vulnerable in communities throughout the world.
The United Church of Christ proclaims that “God is still speaking.” In response to God’s messages for our times, we practice extravagant hospitality to everyone. We work diligently for justice and peace. We combat ideologies that sow bias and hate. And we diligently spread the Word of God.
As a prayerful congregation, Covina Community Church is encouraged by the Statement of Faith of the United Church of Christ, which says in part: “God promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in that kingdom which has no end. Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto God. Amen.”