North Dakota UCC
In 1957, the Evangelical and Reformed Church and Congregational Christian Churches came together to form what is now known as the United Church of Christ or UCC. This branch of Christianity sought to not only be united, but uniting, and today welcomes people of many backgrounds and ethnicities. They believe that while the scripture is 2,000 years old, it is not set in stone and can still shift. This sentiment is reflected in their most well-known saying, “God is still speaking.”
North Dakota has its own chapter of the UCC, which was established soon after the creation of the original chapter. On this date in 1963, 129 ministers and delegates came together in Jamestown, North Dakota, to begin the process of establishing the chapter. The idea had been discussed for three years, so they were well prepared when they finally held the convention.
First, they had to hold three separate meetings for the German Congregational Association, the Evangelical and Reformed Congregations, and the Congregational Conference. At each meeting, they created and approved bylaws for their congregations. At this point, the German Association was received into the organization. The next day, all delegates and ministers gathered again and finalized the by-laws. The Evangelical and Reformed Congregations were accepted as well, and interim staff were voted on, pending permanent appointments.
On Sunday October 13, these old congregations came together in worship to officially celebrate the legal creation of a North Dakota UCC chapter. The four groups had become legally bound. They were the North Dakota Congregation Conference, the German Congregational Association, churches of the Northern Synod in North Dakota, and churches of the Dakota Synod in North Dakota and Canada.
The Native American churches of the Fort Berthold Council of Congregation Churches were included because they were already members of the Congregational Conference. However, they had their own practices and beliefs that were separate from the ideas of UCC.
All-in-all, the merger was not perfect, and there was still some controversy, but ultimately the integration worked, and the North Dakota UCC chapter is still alive and strong today.
Dakota Datebook by Lucid Thomas