In Jesus Christ, All Are One
First United Church is an open, welcoming, and affirming church. Following the faith traditions of the American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ, we believe that God’s spirit calls us to embrace diversity fully in our congregation and community and to affirm the dignity and worth of every person without regard to race, nationality, or ethnicity; age; sex, gender, or sexual orientation; faith; economic, social, or marital status; or physical, mental, or emotional ability. The congregation voted to become officially designated as Open, Welcoming, and Affirming on September 14, 2008.
We are guided by the spirit of Jesus, who reached out to everyone, just as he did when he encountered the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-26). Far from avoiding contact, as an “upright” rabbi of the time would have been expected to do, Jesus offered her – and everyone else, regardless of condition – the water of eternal life. We believe, as Paul affirmed in Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
As an inclusive community of Christian faith, First United Church has a rich history of welcoming into worship and fellowship those who may have been turned away by other churches. For example, our church embraced racial integration in the early 1950s – a time when few churches were willing to do so. Now we acknowledge the history of institutional condemnation and exclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, asexual, and intersex persons and are committed to work to end such discrimination. We welcome all into full membership and participation as children of God, and we affirm and celebrate all loving, committed relationships.
As we value diversity, we are united in our faith in Jesus Christ. That faith is central to our witness. Our purpose is to help each other live out this Christian commitment through worship, study, and service, as we are also committed to inviting others to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Helpful Books and Films:
Finishing the Journey (online book)
For the Bible Tells Me So (documentary)
The Children Are Free (book)