East Congregational Church: Heritage and Denomination
Our Heritage — Congregationalism
East Church has its roots in the rich tradition of Congregationalism. The Congregational Churches were organized when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony acknowledged their essential unity in the Cambridge Platform of 1648. The Cambridge Platform essentially established a doctrine in which each congregation, or local church, has free control of its own affairs. The underlying principle is that each local congregation has as its head Jesus alone and that the relations of the various congregations are those of fellow members in one common family of God.
Our Denomination — The United Church of Christ
That They May All Be One
The United Church of Christ (UCC) was founded in 1957 as the union of several different Christian traditions: from the beginning of our history, we were a church that affirmed the ideal that Christians did not always have to agree to live together in communion. Our motto - “that they may all be one” - is Jesus’ prayer for the unity of the church and part of our logo. The UCC is one of the most diverse Christian churches in the United States.
Theology: Testimonies, Not Tests of the Faith
The United Church of Christ embraces a theological heritage that affirms the Bible as the authoritative witness to the Word of God. We believe the creeds of the ecumenical councils and the confessions of the Reformation to be testimonies of faith as are the contemporary stories of God's action in the lives of the faithful. The UCC has roots in the “covenantal” tradition — meaning there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose any doctrine or form of worship on its members. Christ alone is Head of the church. We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith. The UCC therefore receives the historic creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith.
Our Faith Is 2000 Years Old, Our Thinking Is Not.
The United Church of Christ believes that the revelation of God is not locked in the past, but continues today. The God Is Still Speaking ad campaign, initiated during Advent of 2004, proclaims that belief.