Union sounds great! How do I join?
We join Union Church by affirming the covenant of the church. (We are based on relationships, not doctrine.) We receive new members during worship on a Sunday in October, and on Palm Sunday. Afterward we have a potluck salad luncheon to welcome our newest members!
How should I dress to attend service?
At Union you will meet people who wear dresses, suits, and ties...as well as more casual wardrobes. Dress as you are comfortable, and in a way you think is appropriate.
Where is the church?
We're at 716 South Madison Street in the Astor Park neighborhood of Green Bay's east side - just south of Mason Street, four blocks directly west of Bellin and St. Vincent Hospitals, and right across Madison Street from St. James Park.
When are services?
Worship is at 10 a.m. each Sunday morning. From September through May, Church School for all ages meets at 9 a.m.
Do you offer child care?
YES! Child care is offered in the church's nursery (accessed through the west covered entrance right off the parking lot).
Do I need to be baptized?
Baptism is the traditional way that new disciples of Jesus Christ are made. Members need to be baptized, but non-members may participate fully in the life of Union Church, except for voting and holding leadership positions.
Must I have had a confirmation to join Union?
NO! If you have not been confirmed and want to join, you will have an opportunity to confirm your faith when you do join.
Do I need to have had a first communion to join Union?
NO - though everyone has a "first" communion when they first commune. We believe that communion is truly the Lord's Supper... that Jesus Himself invites us to come to His feast...and that everyone who hears and answers that invitation is welcome at His table.
Does Union believe that Baptism and Communion are sacraments?
For Union, Baptism and Communion are sacraments, and sacrament simply means mystery. Though we do not hold any specific doctrinal definition of the transformation of the "Host" in communion, we do believe that the bread and the cup convey the love of God in a unique and precious way.
Can my children participate in the Lord's Supper?
YES, when you as parents think they are ready. We believe that the specialness of Communion is not restrictive. Thanksgiving dinner is special, but we do not forbid our children from participating in that feast! We have materials that you may use in your home to prepare your children for Communion, and one of our pastors would be glad to meet with you and your children.
Does Union believe in the Holy Trinity?
YES! The Trinity is a doctrine which says that God is a family (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer), and that it takes all three members of the family to be God. Just so, we can only be fully and faithfully Christian when we are together in community as God's family.
How do I get to Heaven? How can I be saved?
The short answer is you don't and you can't. There's nothing you can do to achieve that goal. But, God's love and grace are given to us freely in Jesus Christ. Our role is to simply receive these gifts in faith...to live a life of faith...and to trust that God will never let us go. Heaven and salvation really mean being with God. These are not things that we can earn or achieve. They are only something that we can receive and respond to by following Jesus in all that we do.
Is the Bible really the Word of God?
Not really. In the Gospel of John, John tells us that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God." In other words, the Word of God is Jesus Christ, to whom the words of the Bible bear faithful witness. We read and study the words of scripture so that we can know our God, our faith, and ourselves better.
What kind of Sunday School or religious classes does Union have?
Union has Church School classes for all ages (beginning at age 2) each Sunday morning. We have a youth program for grades 3-12 with Confirmation instruction for 7th and 8th graders each Wednesday evening from September-May. And we have several Bible Study groups during the week for adults.
What denomination is Union? Are you Protestant?
YES, we are mainline Protestant, tracing our roots to the great reformers Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli of the 16th Century. Our denomination is the United Church of Christ that was born in 1957 as a merger of four Protestant predecessor denominations that sought to affirm our oneness in Christ more than our particular traditions.
What does Congregational mean?
"Congregational" means that we believe the Holy Spirit is given to each of us to inspire in us talents and gifts for service to God. We each have unique talents and gifts, with none of those talents or gifts being more important than the other. It is only when we come together as a congregation, sharing these talents and gifts, that the church exists in all it's fullness. Because we are each so inspired, the church's full and final authority is the congregation meeting and making decisions together, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Why have I never heard of United Church of Christ before?
The United Church of Christ is a small denomination of about 1.2 million members. In our nation's history our Congregational roots are the best known. We are also a denomination that is much more interested in the unity of Christians than it is in our own denomination's identity. In recent years the UCC has worked to increase it's visibility. We are the denomination that believes "God is still speaking!"
Are you going to make me try to convert all my friends?
No, but we hope you will be excited enough about Union Church to share our story with your friends and neighbors.
Do I have to tithe at Union?
NO! As with so many aspects of active membership at Union, your financial support of the church's ministry is a personal decision based in the freedom of conscience. We trust our members to make faithful decisions regarding their support of Union Church.
What is a Moderator?
Our Moderator is the elected lay leader of the church. The Moderator is elected by the congregation to a term of two years, with the possibility of two terms. The Moderator presides at Congregational meetings and meetings of our Common Ministry - the governing board of the church between congregational meetings.
What do you mean by Open and Affirming
In 1999 Union Church became an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. That means ALL people are welcome in our church. Our Open and Affirming Statement is:
Union Congregational Church is an Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ. We are a Christian fellowship where diverse perspectives may live together in the Spirit of Christ and where all persons are precious children of God without qualification or discrimination because of ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, or sexual orientation.
Doesn't the Bible say homosexuality is a sin?
NO! The Bible speaks about certain homosexual behaviors, but not about homosexuality as a matter of human identity. This question requires a conversation rather than a sentence or two offered here. Come and visit with one of our pastors and they will be happy to engage in that conversation!