United Church of Christ
Brookside Church is a local congregation in the United Church of Christ, a denomination sprung from the roots of the Congregational Churches of colonial America and later waves of largely German-immigrant churches in the mid-Atlantic and mid-western states. Formed in 1957, the United Church of Christ, (don’t miss United…), is a denomination with a progressive heritage that celebrates many firsts:
- The first to ordain a Native American, in the 1660’s: in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
- The first to ordain an African American, Lemuel Haynes in 1785.
- The first to ordain a woman, Antoinette Brown in 1853.
- We led in the accepting of scientific insights from the likes of Darwin; and undergirded the Social Gospel movement inspired by terrible economic disparities at the turn of the 20th century.
- We were champions of the ecumenical movement from the 1930’s forward: with successive mergers of four denominations culminating in 1957 with the formation of the United Church.
- The struggle for civil rights was strengthened by our participation, with leaders like Andrew Young counting themselves as ministers in the UCC.
- The United Church ordained the first openly gay person in 1972, Bill Johnson.
With its progressive heritage, the United Church of Christ links faith to action and social conscience. Not every member or church supports every first, but then it has always been risky going against the grain. It couldn’t have been easy to ordain the first Native American, African American or woman; or to lead the fight for the abolition of slavery.
There are choices: plenty of churches who won’t ordain women, who are slow to ordain minorities, and who condemn gays and lesbians. The fundamental question is one of identity, what kind of church we believe God is calling us to be. Brookside gratefully and proudly casts its lot with the United Church of Christ.
Visit the denomination website at www.ucc.org