people clap in a sunny sanctuary

Our Denomination

“Rock Spring’s connections to the wider United Church of Christ have enabled me to “do church”  beyond Arlington County. My faith has been enriched by experiencing the diverse forms of worship that the UCC brings together. I’ve had new opportunities to put my professional skills to work in service to others. And I’ve been able to build long-lasting friendships with persons from other parts of the country who share my spiritual values.”

~ Sara Fitzgerald

Rock Spring is part of a denomination called the United Church of Christ (UCC), which was founded in 1957, but is made up of churches that have been around a lot longer than that — going back to the first Pilgrims in America in 1620.

The UCC is known for its welcoming stance toward all people. You can see that goes back a long way when you read the list of the things we did first. Ours was the first historically white denomination to ordain an African-American (in the 18th century), the first in the modern era to ordain a woman (in the 19th century), and the first to ordain an openly gay man (in the 20th century). We were in the forefront of the anti-slavery movement. We founded the first institutions of higher learning in America (Harvard, Yale) and were among the first to establish schools and colleges for newly freed slaves (Fisk, Dillard). We were early leaders in the Social Gospel movement, taking seriously Jesus’ commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

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Each UCC church belongs to both a larger group of churches (known as a conference), as well as a regional association. The purpose of both the conference and the association is to support, challenge, and strengthen local churches, bringing them together in community and mission and in relation to the larger church and society.

The national office of the United Church of Christ is in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rock Spring belongs to the Central Atlantic Conference, and our association is the Potomac Association.