A Church of
Vision and Action
Our church leans into the future with a vision of where and how we might best serve God’s people. We treasure our historic sanctuary and our beautiful modern FAITH Center. Both are used by hundreds of people all week in the vibrant city center that did not exist when our founding pioneers built the first church. We build spaces for people yet to come and ministries yet to be conceived, as we step out in bold, progressive Christianity.
In 1864, fourteen spirited souls founded our church in a cottonwood grove east of Boulder near Valmont Butte. Shortly thereafter, when they recognized that the fledgling community of Boulder was destined to become the county seat and the center of education, they moved the new church into the city’s heart. By 1870, they had built the first church building on a hillside above the creek, where the tower was a visible sign of hope for miles down the valley. Within a generation, the congregation outgrew the first building, where Carnegie Library now sits, and a new sanctuary was constructed across the street, on the corner of Pine Street and Broadway. It was completed and dedicated in 1907. While other parts of our campus are new, we continue to worship in our historic sanctuary.
Our first building was the first church built in the city of Boulder. Members of our church, including our first pastor, were instrumental in the founding of the University of Colorado. We are the oldest Congregational Church in the state of Colorado.
Growth for a New Century
To make room for a growing membership of 900, and provide greater outreach to the Boulder community, the congregation voted in 2001 to expand and renovate our campus with an ambitious building plan that included the building of the three-story FAITH Center, renovation of our historic sanctuary, and the creation of a link between the two buildings. From initial dreams through three capital campaigns and countless building committee meetings, the church journeyed 12 years to arrive at the beautiful church campus that buzzes with activity today.
In addition to serving as the center of our congregation’s life and our many ministries, we joyfully and generously share our facilities with the wider community. We serve as the home for some 40 organizations – several Twelve Step programs, social service organizations, community groups, arts initiatives, and music ensembles. To see the church calendar click here.
Inclusion and Welcome
Our congregation became part of the newly formed United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1957, a merger of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. The history of the UCC reveals early members as abolitionists and human rights advocates. In 1700, Samuel Sewell, a Congregationalist, wrote the first anti-slavery tract on American soil, launching the abolitionist movement. In 1785, Lemuel Hayes become the first African American ordained by any Protestant denomination. In 1865, Antoinette Brown became the first woman ordained to Christian ministry. In 1972, William Johnson became the first openly gay man to be ordained in the UCC, and on July 4, 2005, the United Church of Christ became the first denominational body to support equal marriage rights for same gender couples.
That same spirit of openness to transformation and innovation is in the DNA of First Congregational Church. In 1987, we became the first “Open and Affirming” UCC church in Colorado and the 16th in the nation, declaring our affirmation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. In 2010, we became the first church in the Rocky Mountain Conference of the UCC to become Accessible to All (or A2A), making explicit our commitment to the inclusion and welcome of people who live with disability. In 2014, our church pioneered the WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged) Covenant for all with mental health challenges and their families. Today mental health ministry is spreading throughout the United Church of Christ as more churches vote to become WISE congregations.