As individual members, we are free to believe and act in accordance with our perception of God's will for our lives. But we are called to live in a loving, covenantal relationship with one another -- gathering in communities of faith, congregations of believers, and local churches.
Each congregation or local church is free to act in accordance with the collective decisions of its members, guided by the working of the Spirit in the light of the Scriptures. But it is also called to live in the covenantal relationship with other congregations for the sharing of insights and cooperative action.
Likewise, associations of churches, conferences, the General Synod, and national boards and agencies of the United Church of Christ are free to act in their particular spheres of responsibility. Yet all are constrained by love to live in a covenantal relationship with one another and with the local churches in order to make manifest the unity of the body of Christ and thus to carry out God's mission in the world more effectively.
The members, congregations, associations, conferences, General Synod, and national instrumentalities are free in relation to the world. We affirm that the authority of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and interpreted with the aid of the Holy Spirit, stands above and judges all human culture, institutions, and laws. But we recognize our calling both as individuals and as the church to live in the world:
- ministering to its needs
- contributing to the welfare of all
- being enriched by those aspects of culture that help to make human life more human
- working through institutions and supporting laws that reflect God's just and loving purposes for the world
- seeking justice and liberation for all
This is the challenge of the United Church of Christ.
Reprint from United Church Press © 1980, 1991, 1993