Welcoming All, Seeking Justice, Finding God

Mission & Beliefs

We are a congregation that for more than two hundred years has been dedicated to helping people in the Burlington, Vermont area worship and know God.

We are a congregation that has been and is guided by the following Church Covenant: “We covenant with the Lord and with one another to respond to God’s call that we be people of God in the name of Jesus Christ. We take this to be our Church, promising to walk with our fellow members in faithfulness and Christian love. We accept as our responsibility the worship of God, the fellowship of this community, and the witness of our church. We claim as our mission the promotion of justice, human dignity and peace, and participation in meeting the unfolding needs of God’s people. We bind ourselves to follow the leadings of God’s spirit as they are revealed to us.”

We are a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a denomination whose motto is Jesus’ prayer, “That they may all be one.” (John 17:21) Striving for unity, yet valuing diversity, we seek to be one in Spirit yet invite and welcome those with divergent beliefs, perspectives, and ways of life.

We are a congregation of extravagant welcome. We embrace a wide spectrum of theological perspectives. Our non-hierarchical governance structure means that any church member may be directly involved in this church’s ministry and mission. We support full participation of every person in the life of the church — no matter who they may be by virtue of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, social location, physical, or cognitive ability. We minister to and with all people, believing that all are beloved children of God. Read our Open and Affirming Declaration.

We are a congregation that believes faith is more about a way of life than adherence to a set of theological propositions, doctrines, or creeds. Though we value and seek to embody God’s beloved community, here the individual’s unique faith journey is honored, and acknowledged that all are in a process of deepening, development, and growth.

We are a congregation that puts its faith into action. Following Jesus’ call to care for the most vulnerable among us, we are a church in mission, reaching out beyond our walls to minister to those near and far who need to feel the extravagant love of God in real and tangible ways. We are also a church committed to seeking and doing justice, who believe that such love, is essential for addressing the roots of want and need as well as the deeper human needs of freedom, equality, and dignity.

We are a congregation that embraces the perspective that God’s Word is a Living Word. The Bible is our foundational source for understanding God’s good news and for living in community. We also affirm with our congregational ancestors, “There is yet more light to break forth from God’s Holy Word.” For this reason we seek to discern together the meaning of scripture and how best to respond to the Living Word as individuals and as a community of faith.

We are a congregation committed to the ministry of the whole people of God. We follow our faith tradition in the view that every person is called to minister to others. Every member of this family of faith has talents, abilities, and gifts that can and should be shared in the ministry to all persons. Though our church’s ministerial and program staff have been set apart by virtue of ordination or the positions they occupy to provide ministry in and through First Church, their primary task is to guide, instruct, and enable everyone in the congregation to do the work of ministry rather than to do the work of ministry for us.

We are a congregation with a lively awareness that God is calling us into a new future. We are, therefore, open to hearing God’s word for today, spoken to and for us, and desire to travel in fellowship with all others who wish to live faithfully into God’s unfolding future.

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