That they may all be one. We are a covenant people – held together even in our differences through the bond of unity. Jesus prayed, "that they may be one," and we walk as companions along a sacred path. We believe that when we come together with all of our particularities and gifts, we more fully express the body of Christ in the world.
Testimonies of faith rather than tests of faith. The unity that we seek does not require an uncritical acceptance of any point of view. Because faith can be expressed in many different ways, we have no formula that is a test of faith. Instead, we call forth stories, testimonies, songs, and artistic expressions that point to where we see God in the world, in our community, and in our lives.
Responsible freedom. As individual members, we are free to believe and act in accordance with our understanding of God's will for our lives. But we are called to live in a loving covenantal relationship with each other-gathering in communities of faith that nurture spiritual growth.
The priesthood of all believers. All members of the church are called to discern their gifts and listen for God's calling. We participate as equals in the common worship of God, each with direct access to the mercies of God through personal prayer. While our co-pastors have received special training in pastoral functions, they seek to serve, guide, facilitate, and empower all Christians to do the work of ministry rather than do the work of ministry for us.
We belong to Christ. "We belong to Christ" is a loaded phrase. It's loaded because it means different things to different people. It comforts some, and challenges others. Simply put, "we" means that you are not alone, you are part of a larger body that is both broken and blessed. "Belong" is more than belief, it's a vital relationship. "To Christ" means that we understand and encounter God's deep mystery and liberating salvation in Jesus Christ. We call ourselves part of the "United Church of Christ" because we seek to embrace the world as widely as Jesus' own arms.
We are a people of extravagant welcome. Jesus lived and breathed gracious hospitality. Although the political and religious authorities of his day opposed Jesus' extravagant welcome, he embraced those living on the edges of society. In gratitude, because God welcomes us, we are called to boldly stand in solidarity with those who suffer and remain alienated in our world.
There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God's Word. As a foundational source for understanding God's good news, we honor the Bible's persistent wisdom. Though written in a particular time and place, we believe the Bible still speaks to us because God is a still-speaking God. The study of Scripture is not limited by past interpretations but is to be pursued with expectancy for new insights and help for living today.
About the United Church of Christ. We are a part of the UCC denomination, a community of faith that seeks to respond in word and deed to the life and ministry of Jesus. The UCC was founded in 1957 when four traditions united to become one: Christians, Congregationalists, Evangelical, and Reformed. The formation of the UCC followed the prayer of Jesus for the church, "that they may all be one." The UCC is one of the most diverse denominations in the United States, and one of the most progressive. We are a denomination that values an open and affirming welcome of all persons, accessibility for all, creating community that is multiracial, multicultural, and commitment to a just peace. Our member churches are independent, with no official denominational hierarchy, yet we are in mutual, willing covenant with one another through regional associations and conferences, believing that we can live together in communion even when we disagree. Our congregation is a part of the Western North Carolina Association of the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. For more information about the UCC, please visit www.ucc.org.