Explore the history, polity, theologies, and practices of the UCC

The purpose of this course is to explore the history, polity, theologies, and practices of the United Church of Christ and its predecessor denominations. The course will include an exploration of denominational identity, hidden histories within the denomination, case studies around current issues of polity and structure, current ecumenical conversations, emerging trends within the United Church of Christ, and more. Successful completion of this course will fulfill the history and polity requirement for authorized ministry in the United Church of Christ in many associations and conferences. 

UCC History & Polity is a level 2 course at Pathways Theological.  Although our courses have no pre-requisites, we do recommend that you take Making Sense of Theology or have some theological background before registering for the course.

UCC History & Polity is offered as a 12 week course Spring, Summer and Fall  (For most updated offering dates see Course Calendar)

The cost of this course is $625.00.  


Learning Objectives for the Course:

  • To examine how the understanding of “Jesus Christ as sole Head of the Church” inform UCC polity, structure, and organizational life.
  • To apply an understanding of the oneness of the body of Christ throughout UCC covenantal bodies.
  • To demonstrate knowledge of UCC history, polity, and theology by communicating it to others.
  • To integrate the core values of the United Church of Christ (i.e., continuing testament, extravagant welcome, and changing lives) as part of pastoral identity.
  • To articulate an understanding of the future church.
  • To demonstrate the ability to articulate a theology and practice of ministry consistent with the history and polity of the United Church of Christ.
  • To appraise the ways ecumenical and interfaith partnerships shape and influence the United Church of Christ.
  • To apprehend the diverse theological perspective in the United Church of Christ.

Required Texts

  • Hollyday, Joyce, C. On the Heels of Freedom: the American Missionary Association’s Bold Campaign to Educate Minds, Open Hearts, and Heal the Soul of a Divided Nation

Required Texts listed below are available from Pilgrim Press.  Pilgrim Press offers 16 UCC History & Polity Titles, buy 6 or more of their titles and receive a 30% discount by using the code “UCC Polity Bundle” at checkout on their site.

  • Shinn, Rogers, Confessing Our Faith: An Interpretation of the Statement of Faith of the United Church of Christ.
  • Post, Margaret Rowland, History and Program, Revised and Updated
  • Steckel, Clyde J., New Ecclesiology and Polity, The United Church of Christ
  • Walker, Randi, The Evolution of a UCC Style
  • Zikmund, B. ed., Hidden Histories in the United Church of Christ, Vol. 1 (available free online)