Who We Are
Do you care about thoughtful worship experiences? So do we.
Do you care about asking difficult questions of faith and wrestling with the answers? So do we.
For 180 years, First Congregational United Church of Christ has been a progressive community of faith in Mount Vernon and Knox County. Our congregation is made up of people of all ages, walks of life, sexual orientations, and religious backgrounds.
Please visit us, attend a service, participate in an event or check us out further on this website.
We are a non-judgmental, Christ centered church that seeks to share and experience the transformative, inclusive and unconditional love of God through the teachings and experiential presence of Jesus.
History of Activism for Love
Our first pastor, Rev. B.W. Higbee was known as spiritual, evangelistic and militant for Christ’s love. So it should come as no surprise that we were founded as an anti-slavery church in 1834. Our present building was built in 1868 featuring two prominent stained glass windows depicting African Americans as Bible characters & dedicated to the anti-slavery movement. In our 180 year history, we have never shied away from doing what is right for Christ’s love. We’ve marched for civil rights. We’ve stood up for peace. We’ve fought for equality of women. We’ve been at the forefront of LGBT rights in the county. We’ve helped those in need. We take very seriously Jesus’ supreme commandments to love God and to love our neighbors.
Our church building is not only on the National Historic Register because it is old (built in 1868), but also because it is an architectural treasure. Stop by and visit our stunning sanctuary. From the high arch ceiling to the splendid stained glass windows, it is aesthetically pleasing. The Spirit’s presence is palpable, exuding a deep sense of peace and Sacredness. It is truly Holy ground. First Congregational has been filled with the Spirit from the start, and has been overflowing ever since.
Our denomination leads the nation in churches that are Open and Affirming (ONA), that is, we are welcoming and honoring of LGBT and all others just as they/you/we are. Here’s our ONA statement: We, at First Congregational United Church of Christ of Mount Vernon, celebrate that all are created in the image of God, that all are children of God. We acknowledge that we are called to be in covenant with people of every race, ethnicity, creed, socioeconomic group, age, gender, marital status, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation and gender identity as we journey together with our “Still Speaking God.” We invite all to join us in implementing our mission statement to seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God, by fully sharing in the worship, rites, sacraments and ministry of this congregation.
-Missions and Ministries-
Here’s a list of just some of the missions and ministries we provide with love through Christ at First Congregational UCC:
-Weekly Hot Meals for poor
-Financial help for the poor
-Mission work in Biloxi, Mississippi
-Habitat for Humanity
-Haitian aid & nursing scholarship
-Micah Project Home repairs
-Can-do, food pantry fund-raising
-Faith Community book club
-Weekly course in miracles
-Progressive sermons and worship -Weekly Faith Formation group
-Progressive youth group
-Progressive Sunday school
-House non-profit groups meetings
-Weekly Wise Woman Circle
-Music jam sessions
-Mission Work in Nicaragua
-Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)
-Safe & honoring place for LGBTQ