heartIn The Heart of Riverside, With a Heart for Riverside

In 1620, the forbears of our denomination, the United Church of Christ, left Europe in search of spiritual freedom. Later generations would know them as the Pilgrims. As they departed for the new world, their pastor, John Robinson, urged them to always keep their minds and hearts open to new ways with these words: “God has yet more light and truth to break forth from his holy Word.”

In many ways that early history says a lot about who we continue to be. While we are people grounded in a faith that is 2000 years old, we are always searching for new ways of understanding and interpreting scripture in light of 21st century experience and knowledge. And we are a pilgrim people, called by God to serve as God’s ambassadors of reconciliation and peace, builders of God’s kingdom, and bearers of God’s light in places of darkness.

Ours is a proud heritage of seeking justice. We played an important role in the abolitionist movement and later in the civil rights movement in this country. We were the first protestant denomination in America to ordain an African American (1785, Lemuel Haynes), a woman (1853, Antoinette Brown), and an openly gay person (1972, William Johnson).

We celebrate our heritage, but we also seek to continue it. We are vigorously involved in our community; from our involvement with the neediest residents of this city to speaking up at City Council Meetings, our presence in our city is felt.

Written upon the walls of our building are these words from Micah: Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. It is to that calling that we seek to be faithful.