OPEN AND AFFIRMING Welcome Statement
We at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Charlotte, commit to loving all people equally, just as Jesus did, to see beyond our differences, extending the hand of peace to all.
We actively resist socially exclusive behaviors, relying on the healing and unconditional nature of God’s love and grace as our guide.
We strive to grow in God’s wisdom, generosity, and compassion, allowing everyone to experience the wholeness of being their authentic selves. Progressive in our belief that God is still speaking, we renounce any discrimination or judgment, and declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming church.
We invite anyone, regardless of race, ancestry, age, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic circumstance, marital standing, family structure, faith background, culture, physical or mental prowess or limitation, to full participation in the common life of the church.
No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!
Welcome to the website of First Congregational Church, a United Church of Christ congregation located just west of downtown in the small town of Charlotte, Michigan, the county seat of Eaton County. The UCC is a unique denomination. Go HERE for our theology.
The church is a mix of old and new. Our main church structure is an imposing, red brick building constructed in the 1880s. It houses our beautiful sanctuary, a chapel/lounge, a nursery and toddler room, several classrooms and a counseling room. Worship features our recently refurbished Meoller pipe organ.
Below the sanctuary, the congregation had the church’s rubble basement dug out in the 1950s to construct our primary fellowship gathering space, named after Bess Fulton, who spearheaded the idea for such a generous space and kitchen.
Our offices, as well as some more classrooms, meeting rooms and library, are housed in The Annex, a Bell Telephone building from the 1920s, recently completely remodeled, located on Bostwick St. just south of the main church building.
Both of our buildings are handicap accessible. The main building has a newly remodeled ramp on its northwest corner, and features an elevator inside the building.
Parking for the church is available just west of the church main building in a small gravel lot, or across the street at the city parking lot. A handicap access is available on the north west corner of the sanctuary.
Our newest gem is the Congregational Commons, a converted piece of property that was once a Bank drive-thru facility and now hosts Church and community events alike. A Labyrinth was designed with glow in the dark stones and is available for prayer and meditation in the middle of this property. Read more Here:
First Time Visitor Questions
What should I wear to church?
We want you to feel comfortable when you visit First Congregational Church. You will find a mix of styles, from casual, to business casual, to suit and tie.
How is Communion celebrated? Should I take part in Communion if I am not a member of First Congregational Church?
At First Congregational Church, we alternate between two methods of receiving Communion: passing trays containing the bread and cup among the congregation while we all remain seated, and coming forward to receive by intinction, where we take a piece of bread (or rice cake) and dip in the cup (unfermented grape juice) and received both elements together.
We use unfermented grape juice in the cup, and rice cakes are available for those for whom wheat or gluten is a problem.
Communion at First Congregational Church is open to all who wish to follow Jesus, who desire to better know him as the Christ. More information is available here.
What is worship like at First Congregational Church?
Sunday morning worship begins at 10 am.
While we probably fit what some people call blended worship, we draw on the broad range of Christian worship traditions. We follow the Revised Common Lectionary for our scripture readings on Sunday morning, and the sermons are intentionally designed to draw our stories closer to the stories of our first witnesses in the Bible.
Our music also draws from many Christian sources, from familiar hymns and pipe organ arrangements, to Gospel and songs from the world church, as well as such intentional communities as Taize and Iona.
More about worship can be found here.
Visiting with Children?
We welcome children in worship! They make a joyful noise and remind us that “unless we turn and become like children, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”
Most Sundays there is a special time with children during worship, after which many of them go to Sunday School.
Some thoughts about children in worship (borrowed from First Congregational Church, UCC of Grand Ledge):
- Relax! God put the wiggle in children. Don’t feel you have to suppress it in God’s House.
- Use gentle touch: an arm around your child’s shoulder, your hands in his/hers to give reassurance and appropriate attention.
- Explain quietly parts of the service.
- Help you child find the pages in the Bible and Hymnal. (Don’t be distressed if they don’t find the proper page!)
- Sing the hymns, pray, voice the responses. Children learn liturgical behavior by copying you.
A Nursery and Toddler room are available for children too young to enjoy worship.
Who may receive Baptism at First Congregational Church?
There is no “right age” for Baptism. We baptize infants, children and adults. More information is available here.