First Congregational United Church of Christ
131 6th Avenue at Broadway
An Open and Affirming Congregation…and so much more!
In 1847, in the small frontier town of Baraboo,Wisconsin, the building blocks of First Congregational United Church of Christ were laid. It would be very telling that, on the second day of its history, women of the congregation were guaranteed equal voting status with men. History would be repeated in similar ways…a progressive Christian gathering, always ahead of its time and helping to blaze a trail for the community’s other faith groups.
In the 1850s, the congregation made clear its anger at the participation in slave trade of the denominational missionary arm that founded it, and for the sake of abolition, left it. Throughout the 1800s and 1900s, First Congregational members were active leaders in the social gospel movements of the time like temperance and suffrage. In the 1960s, the congregation became the first in Baraboo to call an African American minister. In the 1970s, strong feelings on all sides of the Viet Nam War took their toll on the numbers of the congregation, but not its spirit. Down to 11 members, the small core voted to remain open rather than merge with another congregation. In that decision, the congregation re-emerged and began to grow again.
In the 1980s, the congregation became the first in Baraboo to call a woman as its minister. But not the last. Some said it should never happen, but eventually it did in other congregations. In 2003, the congregation became the first in Baraboo to call an openly gay minister. Some say it should never happen, but if history is any indicator, eventually it will in other congregations–or at least be given consideration.
You see, each time this congregation took the next step that would seem strange to others, it was responding to the call of a God who includes and does not exclude. The saints of First Congregational Church often risked pride and reputation to follow Christ and honor God.
We hope, if you have ever known exclusion in another congregation or ever questioned how dogma and doctrine can be so hurtful or just want for yourself–and maybe your children and your family–a church home that values diversity and welcomes the outcast into full life and leadership–that you will visit us, drop us an email or call.