We are proud to be part of the United Church of Christ, a denomination that is young in years and yet part of every movement for social justice in the United States and around the world. Our ancestor churches go back to the founders of this nation and beyond. Check out our long list of "firsts" including the first American church to ordain and call to pastoral ministry a person of African descent (Lemuel Haynes, 1785), a woman, (Antoinette Brown, 1853), and an openly gay man (William R. Johnson, 1972) . An article by church historian Barbara Brown Zikmund that describes our particular brand of faithfulness can be found by scrolling to the bottom of this page and/or clicking through the highlighted links to read more.
- We belong to the Northern California Nevada Conference, a group of UCC churches throughout northern California and Nevada.
- Locally, we are part of the Bay Association a group of UCC churches that works and plays together.
- We are founding members of the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program ("getting a grip on homelessness"), building strength 40+ years later. We serve lunch at their Souper Center every month on the first Tuesday.
- We are part of a network of progressive faith communities throughout the US and support many additional local ecumenical and interfaith community groups including: California Church Impact and the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County.
We are connected
Beginning in 2007, Mira Vista UCC sent volunteers every year – for five years – to work in the hardest hit areas of New Orleans as they struggled to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Our work was organized by the United Church of Christ Disaster ministries, but the sore muscles and open hearts belonged to us. Read our New Orleans blog of Mira Vista workers, here.
We continue to be active in disaster ministry and are currently partnering with our sister church First Congregational, Sonoma to be of assistance to Spanish-speaking and undocumented persons affected by the massive 2017 Northern California firestorms.
Locally, we support The Latina Center, an organization that serves women and families healing from domestic violence. The Center also provides women's leadership training and many other programs. Mira Vista UCC helped the Center build a healing garden of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, some of the women from the Center are in a peer counseling class led by Nancy Lemon, a member of the church who is also a professor at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall and founder of the Family Violence Appellate Project.
We support Rev. Thom Longino's work with the San Francisco Night Ministry. Thom was ordained at Mira Vista UCC in 2009. In addition to financial support, one of our members, Betty Coates (who is also an original "rosie-the-riveter" who worked in the Richmond shipyards drafting plans for battleships during WWII) crochets as many as 100 hats for distribution each year through this ministry. Check out this video of Betty that is part of the UC Berkeley oral history project. Her interview begins at 8:04.
UCC Faithfulness: God's voice in our midst today
"Faithfulness within the United Church of Christ takes many forms. Building on the witness of earlier risk-taking churches and the actions of courageous individuals, since 1957 the UCC has stretched definitions of unity. UCC people are drawn together under God's covenant. Not only do they seek to find common cause with those who agree with them, or are like them, but they are able to embrace all God's people. Why? Because out of loyalty to Jesus Christ, UCC members are convinced that all who believe in the light are called to become children of light and thereby change the world.
UCC people speak out and witness to the power of Christian freedom. For 53 years, UCC actions have affirmed God's love and acceptance in settings where exclusion and condemnation based on race, gender, sexual identity, disability, economic power, outsider status, or religious convictions dehumanized people. This conviction about God in Christ presses UCC members to engage in meaningful worship, nurture children and youth, authorize progressive leadership, take on the world and reshape the structures of the church.
Yet, as the UCC takes responsibility to express its faith in public witness, it does so with humility, remembering that Christ is the head of the church and human deeds are always incomplete. Through decades of mission and outreach people in the UCC demonstrate that God can transform congregations, and that closed communities can by opened by love. Even when the UCC has been "first" and other churches have held back, its pioneering moments remind it, and everyone, of the ongoing injustices in church and society. Its passion for social justice has not been ashamed to make honest apologies for past mistakes.
The UCC's "God is still speaking" emphasis embraces an inclusive vision of what it means to "bind in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races." Furthermore, when UCC church members give an extravagant welcome to strangers, they rediscover who they are. By telling the world that God is still speaking, they find new joy as a Christian community and new strength to become children of light.
— by Barbara Brown Zikmund, excerpted from The UCC at 50: Our Future