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First Congregational United Church of Christ, Baraboo, is a congregation of the United Church of Christ, a family of congregations unique in its openness to a variety of opinions, theology and approaches to Christian living.

No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey to new visitors and old friends, to people of all colors, cultures, classes, ages, abilities, gender, family type and sexual orientation …to all who have no church home, need strength, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe to believers and questioners and questioning believers…Welcome to this Just Peace, Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ.

Welcome from the Pastor

It is a privilege and joy to welcome you to First Congregational United Church of Christ in Baraboo.  It is my sincere hope that you will find a warm and welcoming congregation with an open spirit of hospitality, reflected in our worship hour and wider ministry.  While a few of our members and friends were born and raised in the United Church of Christ—some even in this very congregation—most of us came here from other churches, other faith traditions, or no religious background at all.  A few of us found ourselves here early in life.  But most of us wandered in, or researched thoroughly, or were invited by members or family, or left another tradition that in a sense left us, or came for a special occasion and never left…among many other paths.  A number of us came here because of the legacy of progressive Christianity, or because this is an Open and Affirming church, or in spite of those things.  Each journey has been unique, but often with common elements.  If I can help you by answering questions (or trying to), explaining aspects of worship and church life, or getting together to get to know one another, just let me know.  And you will find, in the stories of other members’ journeys to and in this place, words of inspiration, wisdom, hope, comfort and, yes, challenge.  We are not a perfect church and we have our quirks, but isn’t that true of all churches and, when it comes down to it, each of us?  I hope you’ll get to know us and let us get to know you.  Again, a warm welcome and thank you for honoring us with your presence!

Rev. Douglas Fauth
Pastor and Teacher

BECOMING a MEMBER

The benefits are not so much tangible as emotional and spiritual.  In becoming members, we take a step to publicly “covenant” with one another and with God, making promises to each other to be in relationship with one another, committing ourselves, in the words of baptism, to the “love, support and care” of one another as well as the church as a whole, and to the ministry of justice and peace in our community and world.

Let’s move on to “how?” 
The very first step is probably to let the pastor know of your interest, to talk about your interest, concerns, and questions. From there, it’s not a difficult process compared to many churches.  Here are the basics [with a few comments] from the church’s constitution and by-laws:

The church welcomes into membership any and all who…
…have been baptized at some point or receive baptism [if you’re uncertain if you have been or might want to be baptized, we can talk about that!]; and…

…freely subscribe to the Mission Statement…and Faith & Covenant [of the church]…and who will, to the best of their ability: attend regular worship services of the church; live a Christian life; share diligently in the life and work of this church; contribute to the church’s support and benevolence [that’s mission beyond the church]; seek continually the spiritual welfare of the church membership and the community; and

…meet the educational requirements established by the Pastor and Cabinet [usually an orientation session about the church, its history, connections to the wider United Church of Christ, its ministries and mission]; and…

…are received into membership during a Sunday morning worship service. 

There are three ways folks become members:

By Affirmation of Faith—if you’ve never joined a church.

By Re-Affirmation of Faith—if you’ve been a member of a church but are not currently.

By Letter of Transfer—if you’re currently a member, a request for this letter will be submitted on your behalf to transfer your membership to our congregation.

From the “Order for Reception of Members”

“…we rejoice in your pilgrimage of faith which has brought you to this time and place.  We give thanks for every community of faith that has been your spiritual home, and we celebrate your presence in this household of faith.”

What We Believe

Faith and Covenant

“We, as a diverse body of believers seeking to live in the light and image of God in Christ, do affirm:

  • That everyone has worth as a special and unique creation made in God’s Image.
  • That in the Spirit of love, openness and inclusiveness we welcome persons of every sexual orientation, race, nationality, ability, age and gender to participate fully in all aspects of our Church’s life and ministry;
  • That as agents of reconciliation an wholeness we embrace justice and seek to support all who suffer discrimination or who are disenfranchised from the religious community;
  • That in light of the Gospel we will continue to comprehend and appreciate more fully our differences and gifts;
  • That through grace our love for God and neighbor may flourish.”

*At a special congregational meeting held on July 14th, 2002 the vote of the membership was overwhelming to adopt the above statement.

*The First Congregational United Church of Christ in Baraboo has had a long history of commitments to issues of justice and social concern.  Organized December 18th, 1847, the congregation met again the next day to give women in its membership the right to vote.  In the 1800’s the church publicly supported women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery.  In the early 1900’s the church supported temperance, was later a leader in the community in civil rights, and voiced opposition to our nation’s war policy in Vietnam.  We were the first church in town to make our building wheelchair accessible in our outreach to persons with disabilities.  Now in the 2000’s , after a period of discernment, we decided to declare publicly the welcome we have practice for years to those of homosexual orientation by becoming an open and affirming congregation.  We see this action as a reaffirmation of our Christian faith and renewal of our long-held commitments to issues of justice and social concern.

As stated in our Constitution and Bi-laws

  • We believe in God, the eternal Spirit.
  • We believe in the eternal validity of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Ten Commandments.
  • We believe in the freedom and responsibility of the individual and in the right of private judgment.
  • We covenant with one another to seek and respond to the Word and the Will of God.  We are united in striving to know God’s will as taught in the Holy Scriptures and to walk together in the ways of Jesus Christ.
  • We hold it to be an important part of the mission of this church and its members to worship God, to witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to labor for the progress of knowledge, the promotion of justice, the reign of peace, and the realization of promise in our common humanity.
  • The church celebrates Sunday as the Lord’s Day and the traditional seasons of the Christian year with appropriate services of worship.
  • In accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the practices prevailing among sister churches in the United Church of Christ, we recognize and observe the two sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.  The sacred rites of this church include Confirmation, Ordination, Consecration, Christian Marriage, Renewal of Marriage Vows and Christian Burial.
  • Celebration of Holy Communion in this church is open to all persons who wish to partake.
  • All persons may participate fully in the Sacraments and worship services.
Our Roots

Baraboo First Congregational United Church of Christ 

UCC Church Sketch

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.

Who We Are Now

“No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey…”

…to new visitors and old friends…to people of all colors, cultures, classes, ages, abilities, gender, family type and sexual orientation …to all who have no church home, need strength, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe…to believers and questioners—and questioning believers…

Welcome to this Just Peace, Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ.

First Congregational United Church of Christ, Baraboo, is a congregation of the United Church of Christ, a family of congregations unique in its openness to a variety of opinions, theology and approaches to Christian living.

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