Woodside Village Church includes people raised in all denominations (Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ, to name a few). We also welcome those raised without a spiritual upbringing, and those raised in other religious traditions who have come to faith as adults. We cherish the fellowship of all Christians, and welcome all who are exploring what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ.
We are officially affiliated with the United Church of Christ, which has as its cornerstone the prayer of Jesus for his disciples: “That they may all be one.” Whatever your heritage, you are welcome here!
Our denomination: the United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ (UCC) came into being in 1957 with the union of two Protestant denominations: the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and the Congregational Christian Churches. Both of those denominations were the result of a union of two earlier denominations.
The Congregational Churches were organized when the pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation (1620) and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1629) acknowledged their essential unity in the Cambridge Platform of 1648. The Reformed Church in the United States began with congregations of German settlers in Pennsylvania starting in 1725. Later, its ranks were swelled by Reformed folk from Switzerland and other countries. The Christian Churches sprang up in the late 1700s and early 1800s in reaction to the theological and organizational rigidity of the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches of the time. The Evangelical Synod of North America traced its beginnings to an association of German Evangelical pastors in Missouri. This association, founded in 1840, reflected the 1817 union of Lutheran and Reformed churches in Germany.
Through the years, members of other groups such as Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Volga Germans, Armenians, Hungarians, and Hispanic Americans have joined with the four earlier groups. Thus the United Church of Christ celebrates and continues a wide variety of traditions in its common life.
The characteristics of the UCC are reflected in the key words in the names of the four denominations that formed our union: Christian, Reformed, Congregational, and Evangelical.
Christian: By our very name, the United Church of Christ, we declare ourselves to be part of the body of Christ. We continue the witness of the early disciples to the reality and power of the crucified and risen Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.
Reformed: All four denominations arose from the tradition of the 16th-century Protestant reformers. We confess the authority of one God. We affirm the primacy of the scriptures, the doctrine of justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the principle of Christian freedom. We celebrate two sacraments: baptism and Holy Communion.
Congregational: The basic unit of the UCC is the congregation. Members covenant with one another and with God, as revealed in Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. These congregations, in turn, exist in covenantal relationships with one another to form larger structures for more effective work. Our covenanting emphasizes trustful relationships rather than legal agreements.
Evangelical: The primary task of the church is the proclamation of the Gospel, or evangel: the good news of God’s love revealed with power in Jesus Christ. We proclaim the Gospel by word and deed to individual persons and to society. This proclamation is the heart of the liturgia—the work of the people. We gather each Sunday for the worship of God. Through each week, we engage in the service of humankind.
—Excerpted from “United Church of Christ: Who We Are, What We Believe.” Find more information on the UCC website.