Union Congregational Church is a covenantal church which means membership in the church is based on our relationship with God and one another rather than expressed belief in certain Christian creeds. It is our belief that people can have honest differences of opinion on theological and ethical questions of the day and still be equally sincere in their desire to follow Jesus Christ. We very much value freedom of religious conscience. The covenant that expresses our sense of church community was written by our Puritans ancestors who settled in Salem, MA in 1629.
“We covenant with the Lord and with one another, and do bind ourselves in the presence of God to walk together in all His ways, according as He is pleased to reveal Himself unto us in His Blessed Word of Truth.”
While we have great respect for other faith traditions, Union Congregational Church differs from many other religious traditions:
- We are not a hierarchical church which means there are no bishops or other higher powers that dictate what we must do and what we must believe. Even though we are in association with other United Church of Christ churches, all decisions are made by the members of the congregation.
- We are also a church that believes very strongly in what Martin Luther called “the priesthood of all believers.” We believe that both the pastor and the people in the pews are called to minister and share Christ’s love by using the gifts that God has given to them.
- We believe in salvation by faith. In the Catholic Church salvation is through your faith in Christ’s sacrificial love on the Cross and through your deeds here on earth. As Protestants we believe that it is through faith alone. Deeds do not earn God's love, rather, they are an expression of your gratitude for Christ’s sacrificial love and your desire to share that love with others.
Yes. Christian marriage is open to all regardless of their religious background. Couples planning to get married need to call the church office at least 3 months in advance of the date of the wedding. You will also be expected to meet with the minister for pre-marital counselling and to plan the service.
- Photographers are welcome to take pictures during the processional and the recessional, but not during the ceremony itself. The wedding ceremony is a service of worship and flash photography detracts from the sanctity of the occasion. The minister and others participating in the ceremony can pose for pictures following the service.
- Videotaping is permitted as long as the person doing the videotaping uses available light and sound and doesn’t move around during the ceremony.
Yes. Because baptism is a sacrament, it is a visible expression of God’s unconditional love. Therefore you don’t have to be a member of the church to have your child baptized.
The sacrament of baptism is first and foremost a visible expression of God’s unconditional love for the child. (The parents speak for the child, who will "confirm" this decision to be baptized when he or she is older.) At the baptism, the parents declare their faith and make solemn vows to raise their child in the Christian faith. If there are sponsors (god-parents) they pledge to assist the parents in raising the child in the Christian faith. Baptisms usually take place within the Sunday worship service, but on occasion may occur as a special service.
We celebrate an open table which means that anyone who wishes to know the risen Christ in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup is welcome to participate. When we break the bread and share the cup the risen Christ is with us in a very real and mysterious way. Our understanding is different from the doctrine of transubstantiation that believes the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ.