The First Congregational Church of Darien

United Church of Christ

A community of faith since 1737

church 1962 watercolor

Who We are and Where We Come From

The Congregational heritage goes back to the 1500s in England, when Robert Browne argued for the right of individual conscience. Another brave pastor, John Robinson, told the Pilgrims before they set off for America, “There is yet more truth and light to break forth from God’s Holy Word.” Very much in the Pilgrim spirit, we still look for fresh insights from the Bible and beyond the Bible, believing that God speaks to us in every generation.

Congregationalists believe that the basic unit of the Christian faith is the local church, rather than the individual or the denomination. We meet Jesus “wherever two or more are gathered.” Each local church has complete autonomy; we have no bishop. You will find here a wide range of beliefs.

Where the Meetinghouse stands today, a meetinghouse stood in 1649, serving as a town hall for the earliest European settlers. People traveled then to Stamford for worship. It was not until the hard winter of 1737, when several worshippers died from exposure, that settlers of this area insisted on worshipping closer to home. In 1742, they called a young pastor, Moses Mather – and the rest is history: a fascinating history told on another page of this web site. It’s a story of Revolutionary courage, risks on the Underground Railroad, and a progressive witness on many issues.

In 1957, our church helped to found the United Church of Christ, which brought together the Congregationalist Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Churches. As Jesus prayed at the Last Supper “that all may be one,” the UCC has sought to be “united and uniting,” working for Christian unity.

If you are new to Protestant churches, ours may strike you at first as plain. There are two sacraments (baptism and Eucharist), little dogma, and considerable freedom. For example, you’re not required to make confession to a clergyperson. You don’t have to be a member of our church to receive Communion. Congregationalists encourage expressions of personal discovery instead of creeds. We hope that you will find, as we have, that this makes for a rich faith – a more personal understanding of who you are as a Christian.