About Us

Welcome to the online home of First Church Congregational. We are glad you have found us here. Above you can find links that will tell you more about our faith family, our history, beliefs, and the United Church of Christ. We look forward to hearing from you, ministering to you, and going along with you on your spiritual journey.

First Church Congregational, United Church of Christ, has proudly and faithfully served the Rochester community for over 275 years. In fact, First Church literally was the "first" church in Rochester. Over its long history, pastors, members, and friends of First Church have covenanted to be a committed Christian community of faith, hope, and love in the name and spirit of Jesus.

Our History

When we speak of our church as First Church Congregational, instead of First Congregational Church, we are recognizing that it not only is the first (and only) Congregational Church in Rochester; it was, for many years, the only church in Rochester. Quite a number of Quakers had settled in Rochester, but it was not until 1781 that a Friend's Meeting House was built. This was built near Jonathan Dame's house, but later moved to Gonic. The first Methodist Church was built in 1825, and churches of other denominations followed rapidly.

Rochester was incorporated as a town in 1722, but it was not until 1728 that settlers started to clear the land and built primitive log cabins. It was voted by the town proprietors in April 1730 to build a church. The building was finished and dedicated on June 24, 1731. Because it was the only public building, it was used for town meetings and for any other meeting of importance to the townspeople. Read more about our history here

Open and Affirming

First Church is a friend to the LGBT community. Here is our Open and Affirming Statement approved at a meeting of the congregation March 17, 2002

Circle of Faith - Statement of Inclusion

First Church Congregational, U.C.C. is a diverse Christian faith community. We embrace, affirm, and celebrate this diversity with Christian love. We welcome and support all people equally, regardless of marital, social or economic status, race, ability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, age, or previous religious affiliation. We declare our openness and affirmation especially to all who have been diminished by prejudice, bigotry, and oppression.

We offer all sacraments and rites to all who enter our circle of faith, and extend all responsibilities and privileges to those who choose covenant membership.

We honor human relationships that are based on love, responsibility, mutual respect, trust, and fidelity. Knowing that this commitment poses a spiritual challenge, we gently encourage each other to remove all barriers. We are secure in the knowledge that God's love is for everyone.

Just Peace

First Church believes strongly in being a just-peace church, which is defined as "A congregation that engages in relevant issues and pursues meaningful action that can lead to the peace and justice vision that God reveals to us through the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ."

This ministry includes seeking nonviolence, solidarity with the poor, opposing oppression, conflict resolution, environmental stewardship, and many others.

Read our full Just-Peace proclamation.