Since 1866 the First Congregational Church of Webster Groves has been a community where differences can be celebrated and affirmed, and where the biblical values of faith and justice are extended to new generations.
Although we may look and feel traditional to many who worship with us the first time, it doesn’t take long before newcomers realize that underlying our conventional appearance is a vast array of opinions and experiences, beliefs and doubts making harmony amid a diverse group of people.
Congregationalism has a brilliantly colorful history in that regard. The Pilgrims and Puritans of New England were the earliest Congregationalists. They
- established the first university in the New World when they founded Harvard in 1636
- hosted the Boston Tea Party at Old South Church in 1773
- were active in missions, founding the first foreign mission society in America (American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission)
- after the Civil War, established more than 500 schools across the South and colleges for African Americans.
In every movement for justice and equality in our country, Christians in our tradition (now, the United Church of Christ) have stood with others struggling in Christ’s name to bring hope and change.
At First Church, we continue the spiritual legacy that has been extended to us from the Congregationalists and the UCC:
Therefore, we respond to God’s call by welcoming everyone regardless of ability, age, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. To proclaim in word and deed the love of Christ, we affirm that all may share in the full life, ministry, fellowship, responsibilities and blessings of our congregation. (Open and Affirming statement, 2008)
We are a gathering of Christian people where life-long friendships can be built and where we hope anyone can feel at home.
We are a caring community of dedicated and supportive volunteers and staff providing programs for spiritual nurture and societal change that engage young and old alike.
We are a covenantal church. By this, we mean that we value relationship over doctrine. We are usually less interested in what people believe than in how they act toward others. After all, if there is a sure indicator of one’s beliefs, it is in how they treat their neighbor.
As far as we’re concerned, Christians ought to be able to think differently about matters of religious belief and still worship and live harmoniously in their church.
No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.