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Who We Are > Our History > UCC History

UCC History and Polity Resources

A place for teachers, pastors, laity and students alike.

In 2004 the Teachers of UCC History, Theology and Polity, who meet annually to share materials and pedagogy, prepared a one page description of what a course should cover. The materials on this page are organized around that description. This page is designed to give teachers and others easy access to materials that are often difficult to find. Please choose what is useful and download for handouts, or send students here to read. This is a library, don't assign everything, that would be "too much."

There are five essential elements contained within a review of the United Church of Christ history and form of organization (i.e., "polity").  Links to each of these four elements are shown below:


  • Origins, development, significant documents, major events, important persons in the four primary constituent traditions (Congregational, Christian, Evangelical, Reformed)
  • Selected other traditions and/or groups within the United Church of Christ (especially, but not necessarily limited to, African American, American Indian, Pacific Islander/Asian American, Hispanic)
  • Founding of the United Church of Christ
  • Developments in the United Church of Christ from 1957 to the present


  • Theological documents and texts (e.g. Statement of Faith, Basis of Union, Prism articles, various working papers of the national setting, ecumenical documents, pronouncements of General Synod, etc.
  • Worship (including Book of Worship, New Century and other hymnals)
  • Ecclesiology (the nature of the church)
  • Creeds and confessions ("testimonies, not tests" of what is commonly held among us)


  • Constituent parts of the United Church of Christ—i.e., local church, conferences and associations, national setting, General Synod (Constitution and Bylaws)
  • Past and present structure of the United Church of Christ ("covenantal polity")
  • Patterns of accountability and autonomy in the various settings of the church

Ministry (Manual on Ministry)

  • Forms of ministry—licensed, commissioned, ordained; ministerial partners (CC/DoC); emerging patterns for authorized ministry; ministry of all the baptized
  • Structures and patterns of accountability—i.e., ordination, standing, discipline
  • Ministerial ethics (Ordained Minister's Code, in MOM; other ethics documents)
  • Understandings of ministry in the UCC: "embodiment" and "empowerment" models

The Ethos of the UCC

  • Diversity: commitment to be a multi-racial, multi-cultural church
  • Justice and witness concerns
  • Ecumenical commitments and partnerships (esp. partnership with Christian Church/Disciples of Christ)
  • Mission

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