The UCC, also known as the United Church of Christ, is a denomination of Christianity known for its belief in God speaking to Christians through new interpretations of scripture. This denomination also believes that God is the only governing body of the church. Each church affiliated with this denomination has a great amount of autonomy, and members do not have to follow any creed or doctrine. However, all UCC churches have statements of faith that include the same components.
As a denomination, the UCC believes that the sacrament of baptism connects all Christians to God and to one another. Anyone, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation is welcomed to be baptized in a UCC church. Baptisms typically involve sprinkling water on the forehead, but some UCC churches practice immersion baptisms. All baptisms are conducted during worship services in front of members of the church because of the belief that baptism includes the church community's promise of love, care and support.
Unlike other Christian denominations, the UCC encourages members of all faiths to participate in communion during worship services. This practice results from the belief that all people are God's children, and all of God's children should participate in communion to commemorate God's sacrifice. While breaking bread during communion, members of UCC churches believe that they are creating a "cloud of witness" that includes deceased members of the church. The act of communion creates unity among past and present church members.
In its statement of faith, the UCC quotes John 17:21, which states, "they may all be one," to reflect the belief in being united as a church and uniting others. The church uses extravagant welcome, which is the act of welcoming all people into the church community, to unite church members with people of other faiths. Within the church, members are united in a priesthood of believers, which is the belief that all congregation members are equal and united as servants of God.
Still-speaking ministry is a belief of the UCC that has several meanings. First, still-speaking ministry refers to the belief that Jesus still speaks to Christians through new interpretations of scripture. UCC members are encouraged to pray, study scripture and use personal reflection to hear God's word. Still-speaking ministry is also an identity campaign. This campaign encourages all UCC churches to be welcoming and justice-minded so that a collective identity is created.
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