Statement of Faith The Revision of 1981: A Doxology*
We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and our God, and to your deeds we testify:
You call the worlds into being,create persons in your own image,and set before each one the ways of life and death.
You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.
You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles. In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself.
You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit,creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.
You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be you servants in the service of others, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil,to share in Christ's baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.
You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace,courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing,and eternal life in your realm which has no end.Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you.
*Statement of Faith, Revised 1981 (in the form of a Doxology), affirmed by the Fourteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ.
The United Church of Christ came into being in 1957 with the union of two Protestant denominations: the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches. Each of these was, in turn, the result of a union on two earlier denominations. The Congregational Churches were organized when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation (1620) and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1629) acknowledged their essential unity in the Cambridge Platform of 1648. The Reformed Church in the United States traced its beginning to congregations of German settlers in Pennsylvania founded from 1725 on. Later, its ranks were swelled by Reformed folk from Switzerland and other countries.
The Christian Churches sprang up in the late 1700s and early 1800s in reactions to the theological and organizational rigidity of the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches of the time.
The Evangelical Synod of North America traced it's beginning to an association of German Evangelical pastors in Missouri. This association, founded in 1840, reflected the 1817 union of Lutheran and Reformed churches in Germany.
Through the years, member of other groups such as Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Volga Americans, Armenians, Hungarians, and Hispanic Americans have joined with the four earlier groups. Thus, the United Church of Christ celebrates and continues a wide variety of traditions in its common life.
The Congregation's Origins:
Elon Community Church, United Church of Christ began its life in 1891, two years after the founding of Elon College, an institution dedicated to the education and nurture of the youth of the Christian Church, a denomination begun in the 1790's by James O'Kelly and other Methodists rejecting the authority of bishops. The six cardinal principles of that denomination were: 1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Head of the Church. 2. Christian is a sufficient name for the Church. 3. The Holy Bible is a sufficient rule of faith and practice.4. Christian character is a sufficient test of fellowship and of church membership.5. The right of private judgment and the liberty of conscience is a right and a privilege that should be accorded and exercised by all. 6. The purposes of this Church will be consummated in the reformation of the world and the union of all Christians.From 1891 until 1959 the church met within buildings of the college. A significant proportion of the church remembers worshiping in Whitley Auditorium. Two of the congregation's ministers were also the presidents of the college.In 1959 the congregation moved off the campus of the college into the present facility. It has benefited from a mutual relationship with the University in a number of ways including its landscaping, snow clearance, lawn care and parking lot paving. Both church and university have benefited by sharing classroom and Parish House space.The church building is located on the West side of North Williamson Avenue, facing Elon University. Elon Community Church, United Church of Christ has historically been part of the Christian Church. That body united with the Congregationalists in 1931 to become the Congregational Christian Church. This denomination merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1957 to become the United Church of Christ.
You are welcome here! This church is open to all of God's people. Experience the presence of God through music, Scripture, prayer, preaching, listening, and just being with others who, like you, are on this faith journey. We invite you to worship with us. Join us anytime. Elon Community Church is the church where we are "Joyfully Sharing God's Generosity."
Open and Affirming Covenant:
We, the members of Elon Community Church United Church of Christ, believing that everyone is created by God and that we are called as Christians to be an inclusive fellowship, declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation. We are many members with the right of private judgment and the liberty of conscience, and we celebrate that we are one body in Christ. We believe that God's love, Christ's church, and the Holy Spirit's power are for all people, regardless of their color, gender, age, ability, economic situation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression - or any other distinction. We see these differences not as barriers, but as blessings, and we welcome all people into the full life and ministry of this church. We will, with God's help, live by this commitment in our actions as a faithful congregation.
Creation Justice Covenant:
We, the members of Elon Community Church United Church of Christ, cherish our connection with God, each other,
our local community, and all creation. Acknowledging that we humans are stewards, not owners, of the earth, this
Christian congregation commits itself to greater faithfulness in caring for creation. We are aware that the abuses of
creation cause human suffering. We also realize that factors of social structure – including race, class, and
nationality – cause some people to suffer more than others. We believe that caring for creation is the foundation of
caring for all people, now and in the future. We rejoice in nature's diversity and gifts, and in the interconnectedness
of all creation. We share deep sorrow for prior ignorance about how human activity was bringing about
environmental degradation. We grieve for the losses of human life and the accelerating losses of entire varieties of
plants and animals. We regret the callousness and denial with which we have sometimes viewed our impact. We
embrace the potential this church holds for leadership in environmental justice, both in our community and in the surrounding region. We want all dimensions of our congregation’s life to reflect our commitment to caring for creation. As humanity confronts the crisis of increasing damage to the earth and its climate, we covenant together to build on the creation care practices we have undertaken already. We pledge to provide opportunities for church and community members to increase understanding of issues regarding climate change and environmental justice; Inform ourselves and each other about local opportunities to lessen damage to the earth and its inhabitants; Practice, encourage, and advocate for sustainability; Deepen our awareness of the connections between public policies and the damage or healing of the earth; Join with others, who may or may not share our religious orientation, in caring for the earth. With God's help, we will do our best to fulfill these commitments, both as individuals and as a faithful congregation.
2021 ECC Goals: