United Christian Church (UCC/DOC) in Miles City was formed in 1998 when First Christian Church and Highland Park Congregational Church merged to form United Christian Church.
First Christian was a Christian Church/Disciples of Christ congregation dating back to about 1910. The Disciples have a strong emphasis on mission and local expression of Christian faith. They are typically a fairly liberal/progressive denomination. Their most famous motto is "In essentials unity. In non-essentials, diversity. And in all things charity."
Highland Park Congregational was a member of the United Church of Christ. The church was formed in 1951. The denomination traces it roots back to the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and German immigrants in the 18th and 19th century. It has always stressed local autonomy, democracy and a welcome for all. It's most famous motto is "There is yet more truth and light to break forth from the Word of God."
The two small congregations merged in 1998 to form United Christian Church (UCC/DOC). Upon merger, the Highland Park facility was retained, and money from the sale of the Christian Church was used, in part, to build Disciples Hall. The stained glass in the front of the sanctuary was done in memory and honor of their long time pastor, Rev. Leslie Payne.
2015 THE MINISTRY TEAM
When our pastor, Amber Richardson, resigned to work full time with her husband as an insurance adjuster, we were ably served by Lay Pastor Bob Zadow for a year, and during that time decided to form a Ministry Team and not call a new pastor. For the past four years, our Ministry Team has shared the ministry of preaching and worship, pastoral visitation and counsel and planning. It has been made up of Rev. Bob Thaden (UCC) Rev. Amber Richardson (DOC), Ms. Dixie Rieger and Pastor Bob Zadow (Right to left)
As volunteers, working with the laypeople of the congregation, this team approach has worked quite well. Since the Team Members have served in virtually a non-paid capacity, the church has been freed up to be seriously generous with mission support and projects, including denominational support to both denominations, significant support for the local soup kitchen and food bank, refugee relief both internationally and with the Refugee Resettlement program in Missoula, and a host of other worthy agencies.
LATE 2019 OPEN AND AFFIRMING
United Christian Church has, from its beginning, been committed to a compassion for all people and welcome for all, without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. The church has had numerous gay and lesbian friends and members, and went through a discerning process in 2019 with the whole congregation to ask and answer the question, "Do we wish to become an "open and affirming" congregation (which is the language used by both the UCC and DOC for churches that are officially LGBTQ+ friendly. On the first Sunday in Advent, 2019, the church voted unanimously during worship to be Open and Affirming. Our rainbow flag which we proudly fly, issues a welcome to all in Jesus' words— "Come unto me, ALL of you, and I will give you rest."