Who are we?
|We conscientiously strive to follow Jesus Christ by being a friendly and welcoming community, not merely tolerant and inclusive, but actively caring about all people of all origins, customs, sexual orientation or family configuration. We advocate being keenly attentive to environmental and social justice issues. We take seriously the charge given us by God to love our planet earth, care for it and preserve its resources for generations to come. This starts with our own piece of land, where we worship outdoors in our garden during the summer months, maintain a memorial garden, and grow produce in plots open to the community.|
We are excited by our many outreach and volunteer programs. We partner with churches and helping organizations in the nearby cities of Detroit and Pontiac, with Congregational churches in Mexico, and participate in the UCC’s wider mission campaigns. Our members participate in Habitat for Humanity work locally every year, and work groups traveled to New Orleans to help rebuild after the hurricanes. We host the residents of a homeless shelter for a week every year and built shower facilities in part to serve them and other visitors in need.
We are family oriented and deeply committed to Christian education among both the children of our community as well as adults. We encourage all members to exercise their talents and special gifts for music, dance and other arts, recognizing that a receptive, loving audience not only builds confidence but also enriches our worship experience and our participation in our broader community, our creativity reflecting that of our maker.
While the church’s location and building do not define the congregation, they do significantly reflect decisions we’ve made and are factors determining who comes here to worship today. When we decided to move to this site and completed a new structure in 1966, there were among us those who felt we should have stayed in the small-town setting of Birmingham where it was easier to walk or bicycle to church. Instead, we moved to a site easily accessible by car off a major thoroughfare with ample private parking, which helped us to become a regional rather than a neighborhood church. Most members live within a 20-minute drive, but we have regular participating members who drive an hour or more to join our community. We’ve thus become a people who share in a point of view on faith and what it demands of us, rather than geographic proximity. That’s different from how it started.
Where it began
The Congregational Church of Birmingham was founded in 1953 and we still have among us people who remember the early days of worshipping in homes of the 41 signers of the original covenant, including a couple of those signers. In less than a year, though, they’d purchased a former Presbyterian church that became the congregation’s home for the next 13 years.
Groundbreaking for the church building, 1966.
When the United Church of Christ was formed in 1958, CCB was among the first to join, finalizing the relationship in 1960. Some members, firmly committed to strict Congregational principles, split away at this point to form a different church. Others went with them a few years later when our new building embraced non-traditional architectural elements, though it is rooted in Congregational principles.
A church almost inevitably faces challenging decisions: to embrace a wider definition of God’s family, when the congregation decided to relocate, again when it stood up for racial equality during the civil rights battles of the 1960s, again when we elected a female senior pastor, again when the congregation became the first in our area to embrace the Open and Affirming (ONA) initiative within UCC and reached out to welcome those of all sexual orientations. We haven’t always taken the safe or easy path, and that defines us, too.