That They May All Be One

  • The United Church of Christ came into being in 1957 with the union of two Protestant denominations: The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches. Each of these was, in turn, the result of a reunion of two earlier denominations.

  • The Congregational Churches were organized when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation (1620) and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1629) acknowledged their essential unity in the Cambridge Platform of 1648.

  • The Reformed Church in the United States traced its beginnings to congregations of German settlers in Pennsylvania founded from 1725 on. Later, its ranks swelled by Reformed folk from Switzerland and other countries.

  • The Christian Churches sprang up in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s in reaction to the theological and organizational rigidity of other denominations of the time.

  • The Evangelical Synod of North America traced its beginnings to an association of German Evangelical pastors in Missouri founded in 1840.


The characteristics of the United Church of Christ can be summarized in part by the key words in the names of the four denominations that formed the union: Christian, Reformed, Congregational and Evangelical.

Christian: By our very name, the United Church of Christ, we declare ourselves to be a part of the body of Christ, the Christian Church. We continue the witness of the early disciples to the reality and power of the crucified and risen Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.

Reformed: All four denominations arose from the 16th Century Protestant Reformers:We confess the authority of one God. We affirm the primacy of the Scriptures, the doctrine of the justification of faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the principle of Christian freedom. We celebrate two sacrements: baptism and Holy Communion.

Congregational: The basic unit of the United Church of Christ is the congregation. Members of each congregation covenant with one another and with God as revealed in Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Evangelical: The primary task of the church is the proclamation of the gospel – the good news of God revealed with power in Jesus Christ.

Congregational Firsts:

  • Congregational Colleges (Harvard and others) were among the first to open their doors to women and African Americans in the 1830’s.

  • Congregationalist supported and helped free the slaves of the Amistad.

  • The United Church of Christ was the first denomination in North America to ordain women, African Americans, Gays and Lesbians.

San Luis Obispo History

The Congregational Church of San Luis Obispo was established and spearheaded by Gloria Grace, a Cal Poly professor, in 1958. She, founding members and first minister Joseph Loughran contacted the newly established United Church of Christ and came into the fold officially in February, 1959.

The church purchased a lot on Los Osos Valley Road and, what is now the church Fellowship Hall, was the first sanctuary. The church steadily grew and added a new sanctuary, classrooms and a choir room.

Our wonderful ministers who have served our church family and the community, gave of themselves so others could lift themselves up spiritually, emotionally and physically. We bless them and thank them.

Rev. Joseph S. Loughran
Rev. Marvin Brown
Rev. Stanley L.H. McGuire
Rev. George Aki
Rev. George Stoneback
Rev. Wally Bizer
Rev. Ken Lockwood
Rev. Curt Miner