Elements of the UCC Institutes

Essential Elements
in a (one term) United Church of Christ Polity Class


  • Origins, development, significant documents, major events, important persons in the four primary constituent traditions (Congregational, Christian, Evangelical, Reformed)
  • Selected other traditions and/or groups within the United Church of Christ (especially, but not necessarily limited to, African American, American Indian, Pacific Islander/Asian American, Hispanic)
  • Founding of the United Church of Christ
  • Developments in the United Church of Christ from 1957 to the present


  • Theological documents and texts (e.g. Statement of Faith, Basis of Union, Prism articles, various working papers of the national setting, ecumenical documents, pronouncements of General Synod, etc.
  • Worship (including Book of Worship, New Century and other hymnals)
  • Ecclesiology (the nature of the church)
  • Creeds and confessions (“testimonies, not tests” of what is commonly held among us)


  • Constituent parts of the United Church of Christ?i.e., local church, conferences and associations, national setting, General Synod (Constitution and Bylaws)
  • Past and present structure of the United Church of Christ (“covenantal polity”)
  • Patterns of accountability and autonomy in the various settings of the church


  • Forms of ministry-licensed, commissioned, ordained; ministerial partners (Christian Church/Disciples of Christ); emerging patterns for authorized ministry; ministry of all the baptized
  • Structures and patterns of accountability?i.e., ordination, standing, discipline
  • Ministerial ethics (Ordained Minister’s Code, in MOM; other ethics documents)
  • Understandings of ministry in the UCC: “embodiment” and “empowerment” models

The Ethos of the UCC

  • Diversity: commitment to be a multi-racial, multi-cultural church
  • Justice and witness concerns
  • Ecumenical commitments and partnerships (esp. partnership with Christian Church/Disciples of Christ
  • Mission

ecn for polity teachers/March 2004