What We Believe
There’s great diversity among those who call themselves Christians. There’s even diversity of belief within our own church. We consider ourselves progressive and called to a welcoming Gospel of inclusion. We are dually affiliated with both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ denominations, which while retaining their own traditions, share many core beliefs, which are reflected in our life together at All Pilgrims. They include:
- Rooted in Scripture – Both denominations reach past particular traditions and creeds to the biblical story and the New Testament churches to be informed about congregational and individual life. We draw from ancient tradition as we live into our present and future.
- Biblical Interpretation – Both traditions assert a “flattened” model of engaging scripture and discovering Truth, celebrating that each person is free to interpret scripture and not subject to being told what to believe by any person assuming higher authority. This freedom to interpret scripture expresses the churches’ belief in the value of the individual and the community. Each and all are equal in relating to God, and community is essential as each brings their limited view and understanding to gain a greater, clearer picture of Truth.
- Congregational Authority – Both denominations give authority to the local churches to discern their own path but to gather to make decisions together at all levels through a democratic process. For the UCC, the primary theme of “covenant” means that congregations are formed by individuals who freely choose to join in a faith community as people who are called and valued by God’s grace. Congregations are in covenant with one another, permitting each to discern their own way. The DOC also developed in the congregational way, based on seeking the Truth together, in community. This is more than saying, “You can’t tell me what to believe.” Rather, it is an admittance to our not having an adequate picture of the Truth alone and needing greater clarity that comes from others’ faith understanding and discernment. All are equal in this, and we need one another.
- Diverse and Ecumenical – The early development of the Christian Church (DOC) was to be a Christian Association in order to embrace the diversity of the Christian tradition within that umbrella. While traditions and congregations are different, it is in that diversity that the Church finds unity. The application of covenant applies beyond individuals and congregations to all traditions. While the Christian Church (DOC), along with the United Church of Christ, became formalized traditions, they remain open and inclusive in their relationships and understandings of God’s diverse Church. Each participates in dialogue, relationship building, and projects across denomination lines, as well as with other world religions.
- Sacraments – We hold the sacraments to be central to our community and individual faith, particularly the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Table, or Communion. We celebrate that the Table is open and welcoming to all who come to be served.
- Justice – Our attentiveness to God’s movement and call, along with our freedom to respond and change, allows us to continue honoring our ancient roots while putting in action a forward-thinking faith. The UCC celebrates that “God is still speaking,” and we are called to listen to that life-giving Word. This calls us to be a people seeking God’s way that is just and good for all God’s creation and human family.