United Church of Christ

United Church of Christ, American Protestant denomination formed in 1957 by a merger of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches (see Congregationalism) and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. The constitution for the new body was adopted in July, 1961, thus completing the union. The statement of faith promulgated in 1959 maintains the noncreedal position common to both religious bodies, holding only to baptism and communion as sacraments, ordination as an act of laying on of hands, and local autonomy in all matters of worship, doctrine, and congregational life. A general synod of the whole church meets biennially and establishes the various agencies through which its social action, ecumenical work, and missionary work are carried out. The church has about 1.4 million members (1997).

See L. Gunnemann, The Shaping of the United Church of Christ (1977).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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