The United Church of Christ acknowledges as its sole head, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour. It acknowledges as kindred in Christ all who share in this confession. It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. It claims as its own the faith of the historic Church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation to make this faith its own in reality of worship, honesty of thoughts and expression, and in purity of heart before God. In accordance with the teaching of our Lord and the practice prevailing among evangelical Christians, it recognizes two sacraments: Baptism and the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion.
-from the Preamble to the Constitution of the United Church of Christ
what we believe
- That they may all be one (John 17:21). This motto of the UCC reflects the spirit of unity on which the church is based and points toward future efforts to heal the divisions in the boy of Christ. We are uniting church as well as a united church.
- In essentials unity, in nonessentials diversity, in all things charity. The unity that we seek requires neither an uncritical acceptance of any point of view nor a rigid formulation of doctrine. It does require mutual understanding and agreement as to which aspects of the Christian faith and life are essential. The unity of the church is not of its own making. It is a gift from God. But expressions of that unity are as diverse as there are 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 UCC has no formula that is a test of faith. Down through the centuries, however, Christians have shared their faith with one another through creeds, confessions, catechisms, and other statements of faith. Historic statements such as the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Heidleberg Catechism, the Evangelical Catechism, the Augsburg Confession, the Cambridge Platform, and the Kansas City Statement of Faith are valued as authentic testimonies of faith.
- There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God's Holy Word. This classic statement assumes the primacy of the Bible as our source for understanding the good news and as foundation for all statements of faith. It recognizes that the Bible, though written in specific historical times and places, still speaks to us in our present condition because God is a still speaking God. It declares that the study of Scripture is not limited by past interpretations, but is to be pursue with expectancy for new insights and help for living today.
- The priesthood of all believers. All members of the UCC 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. Recognition is given to those among us who have received special training in pastoral, priestly, educational, and administrative functions, but these persons are regarded as ministers - servants - rather than as persons in authority. Their task is to guide, to instruct, and to enable all Christians to do the work of ministry rather than to do the work of ministry for us.
- Responsible freedom. As individual members, we are free to believe and act in accordance with our perception of God's will for out lives. But we are called to live in loving covenantal relationship with one another - gathering in communities of faith, congregations of believers, and local churches. Each congregation or local church 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 is also called to live in a covenantal relationship with other congregations for the sharing of insights and for cooperative action.