Our ONA Covenant adopted on September 20, 2020:
The Members of the Congregation of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Manistee, MI aspire to embrace the inclusive love of Jesus Christ, so we make this covenant with the help of the Holy Spirit. We believe that all persons are created in God’s image and are loved, valued, and blessed equally by God. This community of faith is an open and affirming congregation who seeks to welcome all persons, including those of all races, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, family structures, faith backgrounds, abilities, and economic circumstances. All persons are invited to fully share and participate in leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings, and joys of our church family. Therefore, no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome in this house of worship.
You may find the First Congregational Church of Manistee a fresh experience. Our congregation is diverse, accepting, and warm. Some of us have lived here and worshiped here for many years or even generations, while others have joined us more recently, but we are one faith family. This is a congregation where our elders are respected and loved, but our children are allowed to be children; running around, playing and laughing as they learn and worship together. We honor, love and care all of our friends regardless of who they, where they come from or wherever they are on life’s journey.
There is a place for everyone here!
We encourage thought and discussion and even though we don’t always agree, we support, care for, and respect one another nonetheless. It is through; discussion, learning, prayer, and sometimes debate that we are able to grow. One of our greatest values is being a community where all people, of all walks of life can find a safe, and comfortable place to grow and deepen their personal relationship with God, through the teachings of Jesus and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We extend a welcome beyond our walls and doors to anyone who might like to come and visit us, and possibly find a new spiritual home.
An inclusive congregation united in Jesus Christ, working together to serve the church and community.
Guided by the principles and beliefs of The First Congregational Church of Manistee, of the United Church of Christ, stands as a source of spiritual development and leadership for its congregation and community. United in Christ through worship and work, the Church reflects the presence of Christian fellowship, respects differences, and welcomes freedom of thought in the interpretation of scripture and the applications of Christian faith. Members of The First Congregational Church are active in the life of the community, providing responsible mission and ministry both locally and worldwide. The strength of the fellowship promotes growth, and the Church establishes goals for the expansion of its membership, church participation, and financial stability.
A hallmark of the Church is its strong heritage, manifested in a magnificent structure, as well as, a rich history of church members and leadership. While the ongoing preservation of the building presents a continuing financial challenge, the congregation accepts the commitment of maintaining the building as a spiritual center for the community, as well as, the architectural vision of its founders. Through a program of education and development, The First Congregational Church provides adult and youth learning opportunities, stewardship, and a spiritual environment in which relationships flourish and all people may grow together in serving God and others.
For more information about the United Church of Christ,
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Our Faith is 2000 years old...
our thinking is not.
We believe in God’s continuing testament. This is why we are committed to hearing God’s ancient story anew and afresh in our lives and in the world today. We try to remain attentive to God’s creative movement in the world. Religion and science are not mutually exclusive, and your head and heart are both welcomed into our places of worship. We prepare our members and leaders to be engaged in ministry and the present and future church, and we embrace all kinds of communities and new modes of thinking. Why?
Because God is still speaking.
What We Believe
We are a Christian congregation. We believe in God as the Creator and Giver of life. We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son and our Savior. We believe the Holy Spirit is God-with-us here and now, today, guiding and inspiring our lives. We take the Bible seriously, but not literally. It is the record of God’s work to redeem the world, the story of God’s effort to be in loving relationship with all life. And we believe the church is a human community of committed people trying to live with care and compassion for each other and for God. The meaning of those beliefs in your life, how they impact your faith, is for you to work out. No one is going to tell you exactly what, or how, to believe. However, as a faithful and loving community, we will walk together as we each make the journey.
Since this is a Congregational Church, authority rests with the congregation. It is the congregation, the members of the church gathered together, who make the decisions about the church’s priorities and future of the congregation. It is the congregation that sets the budget and financial priorities each year. It is the congregation that calls the church’s pastor and acts on the pastor’s resignation or dismissal. It is the congregation that has the final voice in all matters concerning the church. Between those times when the congregation meets, their authority is vested in the Governing Board, that oversees the ongoing ministry of the church. That ministry is organized around a number of Ministries, or Teams, that are responsible for carrying out the work of the church to the congregation, and its mission to the community and world.
We are also a Covenantal church: The minister and the congregation covenant or promise to work together to further the ministry of the church and the good news of the gospel in the world. We promise to love, care for, and support each other as we learn in grow in our own spiritual journeys.