Our Denomination

UCC History

1620 – Pilgrims seek spiritual freedom

The United Church of Christ has a long history in this country and traces its origins to four churches:

  1. Congregational – born of the English Reformation with roots in New England, starting in 1620 with the arrival of the Pilgrims
  2. Christian – uniquely American, with early 19th century beginnings in the frontier states of Virginia and Kentucky
  3. Reformed – an 18th century Swiss-German church centered in Pennsylvania and neighboring colonies
  4. Evangelical – a 19th century German-American church of the frontier Mississippi Valley


1957 – The UCC is born

The first two churches united in 1931 to become the Congregational Christian Church, a denomination that valued congregational democracy and embraced diversity and freedom. The other two churches united in 1934 to become the Evangelical and Reformed Church, a denomination that remained faithful to liturgical tradition in worship and valued Christian education. The marriage of these two denominations in 1957 created the United Church of Christ, maintaining important aspects of European Protestantism with the democracy and diversity of the United States.

When you visit a UCC church today, you can often see which of the four “family” branches it owes its origin to, either by its appearance or its name.


UCC – an advocate for change

The UCC churches have always been at the forefront of social change and are known for many “firsts”. Here are just some of the ways the UCC and its predecessor churches have led the way through ministry.

For a more extensive list of “firsts”, click here.