The Congregational Churches were organized when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony acknowledged their essential unity in the Cambridge Platform of 1648. The Cambridge Platform essentially established a doctrine in which each congregation, or local church, has free control of its own affairs. The underlying principle is that each local congregation has as its head Jesus alone and that the relations of the various congregations are those of fellow members in one common family of God.
United Church of Christ
The First Congregational Church of Reading is part of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a denomination established in 1957 with the union of several different Christian traditions. From the beginning of its history, the UCC has been a church that affirmed the ideal that Christians did not always have to agree to live together in communion.
The UCC embraces a theological heritage that affirms the Bible as the authoritative witness to the Word of God, the creeds of the ecumenical councils, and the confessions of the Reformation. The UCC has roots in the "covenantal" tradition—meaning there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose any doctrine or form of worship on its members. Christ alone is Head of the church. We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith. The UCC therefore receives the historic creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith.