Congregationalists trace their roots back to the Pilgrims. Their pastor, John Robinson, told them to keep their hearts and minds open to new ways.
God, he says, “has yet more light and truth to break forth out of his Holy Word.”
Congregationalists are among the first Americans to take a stand against slavery.
Five thousand angry colonists gather in the Old South Meeting House to demand repeal of an unjust tax on tea. Their protest inspires the first act of civil disobedience in U.S. history – the “Boston Tea Party.”
The British occupy Philadelphia – seat of the rebellious Continental Congress – and plan to melt down the Liberty Bell to manufacture cannons. But the Bell has disappeared. It is safely hidden under the floorboards of Zion Reformed Church in Allentown.
America’s first foreign mission society, the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM) is formed by Congregationalists in Massachusetts.
ABCFM sends its first group of five missionaries to India.
ABCFM sends first missionaries to Near East, including Turkey and Palestine.
ABCFM sends first missionaries to Sandwich Islands.
Enslaved Africans break their chains and seize control of the schooner Amistad.
The Congregationalists in Connecticut help to work to free the captives.
Antoinette Brown is the first woman since Bible times ordained as a Christian minister, and perhaps the first woman in history elected to serve a Christian congregation as pastor.
Evangelical and Reformed theologian Reinhold Niebuhr preaches a sermon that introduces the world to the now famous Serenity Prayer: “God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”
The UCC’s Golden Gate Association ordains the first openly gay person as a minister in a mainline Protestant denomination: the Rev. William R. Johnson. In the following three decades, General Synod urges equal rights for homosexual citizens and calls on congregations to welcome gay, lesbian and bisexual members.