Columbia Congregational Church
The avowed purpose of this church shall be to worship God, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to celebrate the Sacraments; to realize Christian fellowship and unity within this church and the Church Universal; to render loving service toward humanity; to strive for righteousness, justice and peace; and to commit ourselves to the Church’s educational mission.
The Columbia Congregational United Church of Christ as part of the United Church of Christ and the worldwide Christian Church is called by God to be disciples of Jesus, the Christ. Therefore, the mission of the Columbia Congregational United Church of Christ is to worship God and to preach and teach the Gospel of Christ; to promote Christian fellowship among our members and friends, and to live in Christian fellowship with the Church Universal and the whole creation; that we might live faithfully, serving God and humanity, and striving for righteousness, justice, and peace.
This church acknowledges as its sole Head, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of all people. It acknowledges as brothers and sisters, all who share this confession. It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world. It claims as its own, the faith of the historic Church, expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers. It affirms the responsibility of the church in each generation to make this faith its own. In accordance with the teaching of our Lord and the practice prevailing among evangelical Christians, it recognizes two Sacraments: Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.
We covenant one with another to seek and respond to the Word and the will of God. We purpose to walk together in the ways of the Lord, made known and to be made known to us. We hold it to be the mission of the church to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all the world, while worshiping God, and striving for truth, justice and peace. As did our forebears, we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us. We pray for the coming of the Kingdom of God, and we look with faith toward the triumph of righteousness and eternal life.
Our Heritage – Congregationalism
The Congregational Churches were organized when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony acknowledged their essential unity in the Cambridge Platform of 1648. The Cambridge Platform essentially established a doctrine in which each congregation, or local church, has free control of its own affairs. The underlying principle is that each local congregation has as its head Jesus alone and that the relations of the various congregations are those of fellow members in one common family of God.
Our Denomination – The United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ (UCC) was founded in 1957 as the union of several different Christian traditions: from the beginning of our history, we were a church that affirmed the ideal that Christians did not always have to agree to live together in communion. Our motto – “that they may all be one” – is Jesus’ prayer for the unity of the church and part of our logo. The UCC is one of the most diverse Christian churches in the United States.
Theology: Testimonies, Not Tests of the Faith
The United Church of Christ embraces a theological heritage that affirms the Bible as the authoritative witness to the Word of God, the creeds of the ecumenical councils, and the confessions of the Reformation. The UCC has roots in the “covenantal” tradition – meaning there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose any doctrine or form of worship on its members. Christ alone is Head of the church. We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith. The UCC therefore receives the historic creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith.
Our Faith Is 2000 Years Old, Our Thinking Is Not!
The United Church of Christ believes that the revelation of God is not locked in the past, but continues today. The God Is Still Speaking ad campaign, initiated during Advent of 2004, proclaims that belief.
Our Organizational Structure
Columbia Congregational Church belongs to the United Church of Christ denomination. Although we embrace the policies of and participate in many of the programs and initiatives of the UCC, as a church community we are largely self-governed. It takes many committed individuals and many committees to keep Columbia Church functioning. Following is a list of the Standing Committees at Columbia Church.
This is the group that oversees the business of the church. The church council is the executive and policy-making body of the church and is entrusted with promoting the Vision of the Church. The council meets once a month and provides oversight on the following: finances, budget planning, yearly calendar of events, committee reports, and addressing any old or new business items.
The individual committees that make up the overarching Church Council are listed and described below.
The Deacons support the Pastor in nurturing the spiritual life of the congregation through worship, sacrament, and pastoral care. They review and discuss all aspects of worship, coordinate ushers and greeters, prepare and serve communion and coordinate pastoral care.
Christian Education Committee
This committee oversees the church school, youth groups, and adult education.
The finance committee is responsible for most church financial matters from the weekly collection to operating budgets, auditing boards and committees, and approving funds for the day to day operation of the church.
The investment Committee is responsible for overseeing and protecting the long term future of the funds in our endowments.
The Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is a group of 5 individuals that provide for the care and management of all church property, equipment, and furnishings. They create and maintain an environment conducive to the spiritual, educational, and fellowship needs of the church in a manner reflecting effective stewardship of the church’s property. This includes the care, maintenance, improvement, and routine servicing of all buildings, grounds, furnishings, and equipment, and taking care of emergencies. The Board oversees the custodial care of the church’s facilities, including the hiring of custodians and management of service contracts. They oversee the use of and access to church facilities, and prepare necessary contracts for use of church facilities by outside parties. This Board acts on behalf of the church by entering into contracts for capital improvements that are approved by the membership during a church meeting. In addition the Trustees ensure proper insurance coverage for the church, create an annual budget and priority list, and work with other Boards and Committees to provide suggestions to those wishing to make donations to the church and to raise funds for large maintenance or improvement projects.
The Stewardship Committee shall promote the understanding of stewardship responsibilities throughout the year, and organize the annual canvas of the membership for pledges of time, talent, and money toward the program of the church for the coming year. This committee shall report to the Board of Finance.
Pastoral relations provide support for the pastor and a regular channel of communication between the pastor and the congregation.
The board of Christian Concern involves the church in local and world-wide missions. The Board stimulates interest in current social issues and problems so that our church may have some understanding about the relation of the Gospel to society.
The Flower Committee sees that appropriate floral arrangements are provided for the services of this church.
The Music Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Deacons regarding special events, publicizes special musical events, and maintain musical records, and much more as it relates to church music!
The Nominating Committee secures candidates for church officers, boards, and committees.
The Decorating Committee plans the appearance of church facilities for everyday and special occasions.
Our Minister and Leadership
- Rev. MaryAnne Purtill, Settled Pastor
- Alex Chiu, Organist/Choir Director
- Carmen Vance, Church Council President
- Tim Bassett, Head Deacon
- Wendy Tomlinson, Church School Coordinator
- Nancy Douton, Director – Bell and Chime Choirs
- Michele Labrec, Church Secretary
- David J Parmenter, Website Administrator