All Pilgrims Christian Church is a wonderfully unique congregation that enjoys the fusion of two rich and vibrant traditions, the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
These denominational traditions fit so well together because of similarity, but they also fit because of their unique strengths. In 2003, Seattle First Christian Church (DOC) joined with Pilgrim Congregational Church (UCC), both bringing more than a hundred years of tradition to a melded, new beginning called All Pilgrims Christian Church. While this new venture was to some extent prompted by the damage of the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake to the building of First Christian, the product is a joyous congregation that is both blessed and a blessing to both traditions.
Denominations That Seek to Unite
The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (DOC) are both, largely, North American developments within Christian history. The UCC itself is a melding of four traditions, including the congregational tradition of Puritan New England and the Christian Church tradition of the early frontier. These two streams were later joined by the German Evangelical and Reformed traditions. Today, the UCC has 5,600 congregations and 1.2 million members, known for their extravagant welcome to all.
The Christian Church (DOC) also found itself maturing in the early United States. While the early 1800s were a time of great conflict and exclusivity in many church traditions, a few began breaking away to form a more welcoming expression that reached past particular traditions to the earlier life found in the New Testament. The DOC seeks an inclusive unity within a broken and too often fragmented world. Today, the DOC has 3646 congregations with 661,554 members.
In 1989, the DOC and UCC entered into a full partnership with one another. While maintaining both groups’ individual traditions, we share our ministries at various levels as sister churches. This partnering has been made easier because of our sharing primary elements of our belief and lives. See What We Believe
Strong Commitments to Social Justice
While some church traditions have yet to ordain women into ministry, which the Apostle Paul did over 1900 years ago, both of our traditions ordained women in the 1800s. Also, in the 1800s, both traditions adopted strong anti-slavery stances, including African-American people in the body and ministry. This faith response to God amidst contemporary context has continued within the two traditions as both continually accept the challenge to be faithful in representing God’s love in community and in our expression to the world. Both denominations have had movements to be open and affirming of people of diverse sexual orientation, including the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. In 1972, the UCC became the first Christian denomination to ordain an openly gay person, William R. Johnson.
Shared Global Ministry
Justice has called us to seek God’s will near and far. Our denominations are diverse and global. Our call to justice connects us in ways that move us to action that is anti-racist and pro-reconciling, economically just, peacemaking, and concretely responsive in loving people in their need. Our work knows no end as we are active in environmental justice ministries, community building, medical work in impoverished settings, eradicating hunger and water-related disease and illness, and more. We are a people called to live our faith out loud!
Both the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ share values of inclusivity and welcome that are depicted in the UCC’s popular video commercials, like this one:
Both of our denominations have regional offices and spiritual leaders:
The Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ is served by the Rev. Mike Denton. Website
The Northwest Regional Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is served by Rev. Sandy Messick. Website