My name is Linda Laurence and I am the Community Connections Team Lead. My role involves welcoming and fellowship in our church.
I am a charter member of United Christian Church. I joined one of our predecessor congregations, Pecan Springs Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with my family when I was 11 years old in 1971. Here at UCC, my father is still an active member, along with my husband, daughter and daughter-in-law.
United Christian Church was formed as an ecumenical partnership between Pecan Springs Christian Church (DOC) and Trinity United Church of Christ. Talks of merging began in 1990. Both congregations were becoming stagnant in membership, so both church councils voted to move forward with the merger. After months of praying and planning, our first service as United Christian Church was held on October 6, 1991. It was decided that due to location and size, the Trinity UCC building would be the best place to meet. Shortly thereafter, the property and building of PSCC was sold to an up-and-coming church that needed a larger building. That church is still thriving today. We knew at the onset that the Trinity site would not be our permanent home, so a committee began searching for property. We were able to purchase the land on Parmer Lane, sold the Trinity building and property to a neighboring church, and began the process of building a new building.
In the meantime, we had a hired a new Senior Minister, and began the road to who we are today. Our first service in the new building on Parmer Lane was a prayer vigil on September 12, 2001, and our first worship service was September 16, 2001. Our building was expanded in 2007 to renovate the Sanctuary and add the Children’s Wing. Just in the last year, we held the successful campaign to purchase and install a wonderful new playground for our children.
Over the years we have had many challenges and triumphs. Much like a marriage, there has been a lot of learning about one another's traditions and growing pains. We have had serious and lively conversations over communion every Sunday versus once a month, intinction versus passing of trays, chairs versus pews in the Sanctuary. Eventually, those decisions were made and we carried on. Over the past 30+ years we have had 4 Senior Pastors, including our first openly gay minister and first female. Each one has brought their own unique style and gifts. We have grown our membership significantly to a vibrant congregation of inclusion and diversity. In 2007, we passed our first Open and Affirming Statement.
We have a thriving children’s program led by Emily Jamison Guerrero and very active youth ministry led by Pastor Meghan Dever. In the fall of 2022, we formed several small groups meeting on various days of the week in members' homes. These small groups have restarted for the Spring semester of 2023. We have also added an adult discussion class on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month meeting after worship at the church building.
We will soon be entering into the liturgical season of Lent. But before that, this Sunday, February 19, we will have our first Joining Sunday of 2023. If you have been engaged in worship and fellowship with us and desire to become a member, you will have the opportunity to formally join UCC. There will be an invitation towards the end of the service.
Moving forward into Lent, there will be two opportunities on Ash Wednesday, February 22, to receive the imposition of ashes: a drive-by at noon and evening service at 7 p.m. There will be a soup fellowship supper before the evening service beginning at 6 pm. All are invited.
If we haven’t met, I look forward to meeting each of you. Please feel free to reach out to me via email or find me at church.
Peace be with you,
Community Connections Team Lead