Welcome to First Congregational Church of Webster Groves
United Church of Christ
First Church is a safe place to be yourself and to expand your heart and mind. We understand the importance of honoring our diversity as people – all our many colors, shapes, sizes, abilities, preferences, opinions, positions, backgrounds, and directions.
There aren’t many places in our world where that happens anymore, and we don’t do it perfectly here. We have our differences (and Oh! the differences we have!), but our Christ informs us that we are to love one another just as God loves us, even those we may consider unlovable.
So, we are a faith community determined to treasure everyone and the earth we share, and to be ready to have our hearts changed and our lives transformed by those we work with and serve.
We are a church of families and individuals bound together in a common promise, to seek to know the will of God, to experience the joy and struggle of discipleship, and to work for peace and justice among all people.
Seek Christ in each. Serve God in all.
Seeking Christ In Each
Every human being is a child of God. We take seriously the understanding that Christians should be able to differ in matters of belief or practice and still worship and live harmoniously.
Serving God In All
All people deserve the nurture and support of God’s abundant grace and eternal love. We recognize this grace and love through the life and witness of Jesus Christ and the ongoing activity of the Holy Spirit.
Open and Affirming
We unconditionally welcome all people of any age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, culture, ability, or sexual orientation into our community of faith and affirm the worth of all people as unique individuals made in God’s image.
The Sumi Cross and Circle Hanging (at top of page)
Sunday after the Epiphany is celebrated (second or third Sunday in January) through the last Sunday in Lent. This laser-cut aluminum sculpture honors our historical commitment to social justice, and particularly our participation during World War II in a 1943 program to relocate Japanese-Americans unjustly confined in internment camps. Chiura Obata, an art instructor at the University of California – Berkeley, was brought by First Church to St. Louis from a camp in Topaz, Utah. He and his family lived among us until the end of the War. Professor Obata has been credited with introducing Sumi painting to the U.S., a brushed ink medium. One of his instructional books notes how the three basic strokes of Sumi painting are the vertical (heaven and earth), the horizontal (time), and the circular (motion). In Christian symbolism, the intersecting beams of the cross remind us of God’s transcendence in the vertical and immanence in the horizontal, while the circle represents God’s eternity. Here we have conflated the meanings of the painter and the theologian.
The Sumi Cross and Circle was crafted by metal worker Kem Williams for our 150th anniversary, and dedicated on January 31, 2016. It was made possible by a generous grant from the Dr. Rodney M. Coe Memorial Fund.
Covenant of 1976
We who are called of God into this Christian community covenant together:
To seek to know the will of God,
To experience the joy and struggle of discipleship,
To proclaim in word and deed the love of Christ, and
To work for peace and justice among all people.
We trust God’s promise of grace and forgiveness,
and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our trials and rejoicing.