This on demand course examines the historical development and structural polity of the United Church of Christ. This course also spends time focusing on the emerging UCC and gives students a chance to explore social justice, world missions, ecumenism, and new and renewing congregational ministry within the UCC. All course content is available on demand and quarterly Zoom gatherings are available for students to process their learning in a facilitated setting.

Units Covered in this Course


Origins, development, significant documents, major events, important persons in the four historic constituent traditions

Spiritual legacies that did not originate in one of the four historic constituencies of the UCC (i.e. African American, Pacific Islander/Asian American) pre- and post-missionary contact

Founding of the United Church of Christ

Developments in the UCC from 1957 to the present

Diverse UCC histories in the broader evolution of faith traditions

Relationship of local church histories to that of the national UCC


Ecclesiology and the implications of Jesus Christ as Head of the Church

Foundational theological documents and texts (i.e. Statement of Faith, pronouncements of General Synod, etc.)

Emphasis on “testimonies of the deeds of God rather than on tests of faith”

Worship resources (e.g., Book of Worship, New Century Hymnal, etc.)

Historic creeds and confessions in a progressive denomination

Ecumenism, stewardship and other theological perspectives


Covenantal polity as a reflection of God’s covenant of grace

Constituent expressions of the UCC as described in the national Constitution and By-Laws

Past and present structures of the United Church of Christ

The meaning of accountability and autonomy in our covenantal polity

Practical implications of ministry carried out in a covenantal polity

Financing our various ministries (Our Church’s Wider Mission, special offerings, local church, etc.)


Forms of authorized ministry and emerging patterns

Ministerial partnership with other denominations: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Presbyterian Church via the Formula of Agreement

Relationship of authorized ministry to ministry of all the baptized

Structures and patterns of accountability (i.e., ordination, discipline)

Ministerial ethics

Understandings of authorized ministry in the UCC (i.e., embodiment, empowerment models; authorized to represent)

The UCC Search-and-Call process


Core commitments of the UCC: multi-cultural, multi-racial, anti-racist, open and affirming, just peace, accessible to all

Core values: continuing testament, extravagant welcome, changing lives

Being a “United and Uniting Church” and our ecumenical vocation

The evolving shape of mission, local and global

Resources available from the national, conference and association settings of the UCC

Rev. Dr. Audrey Price

This on demand History & Polity course has been designed and facilitated by Rev. Dr. Audrey Price.

Dr. Price is the Associate Director of the Religion & Society Program at the Washington DC-based Aspen Institute.

Previously she served as the first Executive Minister for Strategic Operations of the Southern New England Conference.

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