About Us

First Congregational Church, Rochester was established in 1827 as the first Congregational church in the state of Michigan. We are a local church of the United Church of Christ, established in 1957 upon the union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and the Congregational and Christian Church. Serving the Rochester area for more than 190 years, First’s voice mirrors its name – First.

In 1620, when our spiritual forebears prepared to leave Europe for the New World, their pastor, John Robinson, sent them off with this historic commission: “God has yet more light and truth to break forth out of his holy Word.”   In this powerful sentence, Robinson explained that God’s revelation could not be confined to scripture, to a creed, or to a catechism, neither could it be attributed exclusively to a pope, a particular religious body, or to a unique event or period in history. The word of God, Robinson argued, was more expansive than all of these.  And so here we are, First Congregational Church, Rochester. We hope you find a home here, among a “church of firsts.”

We are an Open and Affirming Church

This is our Open and Affirming (ONA) Statement of Purpose and Covenant:

First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Rochester, Michigan welcomes all to our services of worship and into the full life, leadership and ministry of this church.  We are an inclusive community that embraces all people regardless of race, ethnic background, age, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, social or economic situation, marital or family status, biblical interpretation or political persuasion.   We welcome you in love as Jesus Christ welcomes all of us.  We celebrate that we are all God’s beloved children with gifts to share for the just and peaceable reign that God intends.  We believe in living out our faith and ministry by loving, learning, giving and serving each other and the world and by being a place for everyone to meet God no matter who we are or where we are on life’s journey.

Church History

First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ is the oldest Congregational Church in Michigan and the first church in Rochester. It was founded August 1, 1827 when Reverend Isaac W. Ruggles of the Missionary Society of Connecticut met with ten people in a log building on South Rochester Road. The Congregational Church sailed to America in the Mayflower as the church of the Pilgrims.

The United Church of Christ was formed in 1957 as a merger of Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. It united traditions of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, England, Germany, and the United States in a Church Union which at once guarantees the autonomy of local congregations and facilitates responsible cooperation among churches and denominations in a relevant Christian ministry to the world.

First Congregational Church, UCC dedicated a new sanctuary and community space October 2008. The congregation has served the local Rochester area and residents for over 180 years and continually strives to meet the future needs of its growing community more effectively.

The Greater UCC (The Bigger Picture – & web links)

First Congregational Church, Rochester, United Church of Christ is a local church of the Detroit Metropolitan Association (association setting), of the Michigan Conference (regional setting), of the United Church of Christ(national denomination). Throughout our history and, more recently, our polity, we believe and hold close our covenantal relationship between all levels of our UCC structure, knowing the denomination is called to speak to, but not for, the local congregation. Each and every local church, like FCC, Rochester, remains locally autonomous – a rarity within Christian denominations today.