The United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ (UCC), a mainline Protestant Christian denomination, was formed out of a combination of four groups. Two of these were the Congregational Churches of the English Reformation with Puritan New England roots in America, and the Christian Church with American frontier beginnings. The other two denominations were the Evangelical Synod of North America, a 19th-century German-American church of the frontier Mississippi Valley, and the Reformed Church in the United States.
The Congregational Church and Christian Church merged in 1931 to form the Congregational Christian Church. The (German) Reformed Church and (German) Evangelical Synod of North America merged in 1934 to form the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
The Congregational Church was first established during the 16th-century English Reformation by Separatists who disagreed with the Church of England over issues of worship and church government. The denomination was brought to America by the Pilgrims in 1620.
The church broke ground with an early stand against slavery (1700) and having the first ordained African American (1785).
The Reformed Church has its roots in the Protestant reformation in Switzerland and Germany and was Calvinist in theology. The denomination was established in America in 1747 by German-speaking immigrants and was strongest in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Ohio.
The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957.
The UCC gives autonomy to its local churches, many of which are progressive. There is no UCC body that can impose any doctrine or worship format onto the individual congregations within the UCC.
According to its 2008 annual report, the United Church of Christ has about 1.1 million members in about 5,300 local congregations. However the 2010 annual report showed a decline of 31,000 members and a loss of 33 congregations since then.