Gables UCC is part of the United Church of Christ (UCC). The UCC came into being in 1957 with the union of two Protestant denominations: the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches. Each of these was, in turn, the result of a union of two earlier traditions. Our roots are in the great Reformation movement, as well as with the Pilgrims who came to the United States searching for religious freedom.
As far as our beliefs, this is a challenge to answer as the UCC has no overarching governing body that determines the specifics of faith and practice. There is a great deal of theological diversity within the UCC, and within Gables UCC. Perhaps the best way to tell you about the UCC is with the help of seven phrases from scripture and tradition which express our commitments.
- That they may all be one. [John 17:21] This motto of the United Church of Christ reflects the spirit of unity upon which the church is based, and points toward future efforts to heal the divisions in the body of Christ. We are a uniting church as well as a united church.
- In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things charity. The unity that we seek is based on mutual understanding as to which aspects of the Christian faith and life are essential.
- The unity of the church is not of its own making. Unity is a gift of God. But expressions of that unity are as diverse as we are as individuals. The common thread that runs through all is love.
- Testimonies of faith rather than tests of faith. Because faith can be expressed in many different ways, the United Church of Christ has no formula that is a test of faith. Historic statements such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and others, are valued as authentic testimonies of faith.
- There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God’s holy word. This affirmation recognizes that the Bible, though written in specific historical times and places, still speaks to us in our present condition. It declares that the study of the scriptures is not limited by past interpretations, but is pursued with the expectation of new insights and God’s help for living today.
- The Priesthood of All Believers. All members of the United Church of Christ are called to minister to others, and to participate as equals in the common worship of God, each with direct access to the mercies of God through personal prayer and devotion. Ordained clergy and other leaders in our church serve to guide, instruct, and enable the ministry of all Christians, rather than to do the work of ministry for us.
- Responsible Freedom. As individual members of the Body of Christ, we are free to believe and act in accordance with our perception of God’s will for our lives. But we are called to live in a loving, covenantal relationship with one another.
Each United Church of Christ congregation is free to act in accordance with the collective decisions of its members, guided by the working of the Spirit in the light of the scriptures. But it also is called to live in a covenantal relationship with other congregations for the sharing of insights and for cooperative action under the authority of Christ.