Our Vision

The United Congregational Church of Holyoke

Our church building may remind you of “Hogwarts,” with its foreboding stone towers and wrap of green vines.

While our congregation is open, friendly and forward-thinking, our buildings reveal the rather lofty architectural and cultural heritage of the early twentieth century.

In our present location, they proclaim a material vision of Christendom that once clothed itself in neo-gothic architecture adorned with stained glass windows and high altar far removed from the congregational seating. Our ancestors also also commissioned one of the finest pipe organs in the nation – an E.M. Skinner instrument still bringing beautiful music in the historic condition. A second, located in Skinner Memorial Chapel, is equally noteworthy. While our present congregation enjoys the shelter of these grand facilities, we are not limited in our vision by them. Our vision is to support the diverse life of our community by using our place as a resource. This house of worship – and also of music and the arts, of the theological and spiritual inquiry, and of support for people in need. It is a shelter for the human spirit where the love and justice of God is woven into a fabric of everyday life. We are blessed in the living presence of God. We say, “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” We mean it.

Open and Affirming

As followers of Jesus, the Christ, we, the people of the United Congregational Church of Holyoke, extend our whole-hearted welcome to all and declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ. We welcome and invite into our community persons of every age, gender, race, nationality and heritage, educational back-ground, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

We affirm that all people are created in the image of God and are invited to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellow-ship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, membership, blessings and joys of our church community as we follow in the way of Jesus Christ. Therefore, no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome in this United Church of Christ.

Open and Affirming

The term “Progressive” refers to a Christianity that emphasizes the way and teachings of Jesus, not just his person. Progressive Christianity identifies God’s presence in all creation—not just high and removed. It celebrates life here and now, not just an afterlife. It affirms the importance of community, not just individualism; of right actions, and not just right beliefs. It takes the Bible seriously, not necessarily literally. It embraces metaphor and parable for interpreting scripture. It affirms that while every religion is different, that each one can be an authentic and legitimate expression of faith. Through our Awakenings conferences and civic programs, we have hosted leading figures in progressive Christianity like Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Yvette Flunder, Diana Butler Bass, John Shelby Spong and many others. We have welcomed Buddhist, Jewish, and Islamic leaders to speak with us on several occasions.

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