Historical View of First Church & UCC

Please take a moment and view the storied history of First Church and United Church of Christ

The United Church of Christ is a blend of four principal traditions—Congregational, Christian, Evangelical, and Reformed. Each of these traditions has left a mark on U.S. religious and political history. ;xNLx;;xNLx;First Church UCC located in Downtown Phoenix has boldly embraced these rich traditions since 1917, when the church was founded.

1700-01-01 00:00:00

An Early Stand Against Slavery

Congregationalists are among the first Americans to take a stand against slavery. The Rev. Samuel Sewall writes the first anti-slavery pamphlet in America, "The Selling of Joseph." Sewall lays the foundation for the abolitionist movement that comes more than a century later.

1773-09-01 00:00:00

First Published African American Poet

A young member of the Old South congregation, Phillis Wheatley, becomes the first published African American author. "Poems on Various Subjects" is a sensation, and Wheatley gains her freedom from slavery soon after. Modern African American poet Alice Walker says of her: "[She] kept alive, in so many of our ancestors, the notion of song."

1785-01-01 00:00:00

First Ordained African American Pastor

Lemuel Haynes is the first African American ordained by a Protestant denomination. He becomes a world-renowned preacher and writer.

1810-04-16 21:33:11

First Foreign Mission Society

America's first foreign mission society, the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM) is formed by Congregationalists in Massachusetts

1839-04-16 21:33:11

A Defining Moment for the Abolitionist Movement

Enslaved Africans break their chains and seize control of the schooner Amistad. Their freedom is short-lived, and they are held in a Connecticut jail while the ship's owners sue to have them returned as property. The case becomes a defining moment for the movement to abolish slavery. Congregationalists and other Christians organize a campaign to free the captives. The Supreme Court rules the captives are not property, and the Africans regain their freedom.

1840-04-16 21:33:11

First United Church in U.S. History

A meeting of pastors in Missouri forms the first united church in U.S. history—the Evangelical Synod. It unites two Protestant traditions that have been separated for centuries: Lutheran and Reformed. The Evangelicals believe in the power of tradition, but also in spiritual freedom. "Rigid ceremony and strong condemnation of others are terrible things to me," one of them writes.

1846-04-16 21:33:11

First Integrated Anti-Slavery Society

The Amistad case is a spur to the conscience of Congregationalists who believe no human being should be a slave. In 1846 Lewis Tappan, one of the Amistad organizers, organizes the American Missionary Association—the first anti-slavery society in the U.S. with multiracial leadership.

1853-04-16 21:33:11

First Woman Pastor

Antoinette Brown is the first woman since New Testament times ordained as a Christian minister, and perhaps the first woman in history elected to serve a Christian congregation as pastor. At her ordination a friend, Methodist minister Luther Lee, defends "a woman's right to preach the Gospel." He quotes the New Testament: "There is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

1917-07-01 00:00:00

First Congregational Church Formation

The membership formally established the First Congregational Church of Phoenix AZ, on July 1, 1917.

1923-04-16 21:33:11

Initial Church Construction

This initial church was constructed ca. 1923. It was a modest Mission Revival building, consistent with the architectural styles prevalent in Phoenix at the time. This church would serve for the next 20 years, but there was ongoing discussion to expand the building during the 1930’s. The congregation grew in membership, but there was never adequate funding to expand the building.

Historical View of First Church & UCC

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