Structure of First Congregational Church
First Congregational Church practices “congregational polity,” which is a fancy way of saying we make our own decisions about how to conduct our life together. Although we gratefully belong to the United Church of Christ, no person or office can dictate policy or procedure to us. Under the lordship of Christ, final authority for decision-making rests with the congregation as a whole. A meeting of the entire congregation is held on the fourth Sunday in January to review the year, elect leaders for the new year, and approve the annual budget. In between congregational meetings, the Church Council is charged with overseeing the operations of the church. The Council consists of the current church moderator, vice-moderator, treasurer, secretary, the pastors, administrative assistant, chairs of ministries and committees, and members at large. Any disciple who participates in the life of the congregation is welcome to attend Council meetings which are held on the third Tuesday of each month.
Structure of the United Church of Christ
The local congregation is the basic unit of the United Church of Christ. The denomination can speak to churches, but it cannot speak for them. Churches belong to a local association (ours is the Fox Valley Association) to provide oversight and authorization of ordained and other authorized ministers, to serve as the ecclesiastical link between the local congregation and the larger denomination, and to admit or remove local congregations from membership in the UCC. Local churches also belong to a conference made up of several associations (ours is the Illinois Conference). The purpose of a conference is to support churches in their selection of ordained leadership, as well as provide programming resources for their constituent churches. The denomination’s churchwide deliberative body is the General Synod, which meets every two years. The General Synod consists of delegates elected from the conferences, the members of the United Church of Christ Board, the officers of the denomination, and various other groups. The United Church of Christ is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.