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.

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."

Unity Vigil & March

On August 22nd, First Church UCC hosted a peaceful prayer vigil and march to St. Mary's Basilica around the corner from the Phoenix Convention center where President Trump was holding a rally. Well over 500 people attended the prayer vigil and approximately 700 people participated in the march through downtown Phoenix!

"Open & Affirming" Declaration

Following guidelines of the United Church of Christ to attract and accept expansion of membership from the Phoenix L.G.B.T.Q. community, First Church became an "Open & Affirming" congregation.

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.

God and Freedom Medal

A highlight in 1951 was our God and Freedom Medal, sent world-wide, which earned the men’s Club the First Place Freedom Award in 1954 and national recognition. The Medal was carried by many famous personalities over the years.

Arizona School for the Arts Location

First Congregational Church of Christ Phoenix becomes the primary location for the Arizona School for the Arts, the premier performing arts high school in Arizona.

Radically Inclusive "Open & Affirming" Declaration

First Congregational UCC Phoenix amends it's original "Open & Affirming" Statement adopted in 2003 to make a bolder statement in welcoming all.

Final Additions to First Church Campus

Following the completion of the sanctuary, the Church was entering another phase of growth, both in membership, and in the related programming and social activities. Until this time, these functions were housed in the original church building from 1923. Another Phoenix architectural firm, Weaver and Drover conceived the master plan, which located buildings to the east of the main church and created a square shaped courtyard. The buildings are physically attached at the north end of the church. Two buildings were completed, one in 1956 and the other 1958. They were designed by Richard Drover of the firm of Weaver and Drover. Both are one story, blonde-brick buildings with a gable roof. They have very modest Classical detailing. The final building, designed by Pierson, Miller, Ware and Associates essentially matches the prior buildings. The final structure was completed and ready for occupancy in 1968.

Became First Congregational United Church of Christ

First Congregational church was changed to the First Congregational United Church of Christ of Phoenix, Arizona, in 1960, when we joined the UCC.

Helped Start North Church

Our Church helped start North Church (now Church of the Beatitudes) in 1953.

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