First United Church of Christ – Hollywood

Well yes, H.G. Wells, time travel is possible simply by visiting First United Church of Christ in Hollywood.FUChurchChrist I had the pleasure of visiting there today and having grown up in a United Church of Christ organization years ago in Connecticut, today was like a trip back to the sixties. I was warmly greeted by members and Pastor Jack Branford, and as the very skilled pianist played a selection of pre-service classical music, I was taken back to that sanctuary in Danbury, CT where the same music was played on a large pipe organ decades ago.

The program, the service, the songs, the benediction were all familiar and comforting, if steeped in tradition. At First United Church, you don’t just sit through a service that’s presented to you as you might find in many contemporary churches, you are part of the service – through spoken passages, hymn singing and through fellowship before, during and after service. It occurred to me that this level of participation is what may be missing for me at other local churches where I may feel more like an attendee than a participant. It was a good feeling. Pastor Jack’s messaging is crisp and to the point, affirming and inclusive. Today’s message was in fact, exactly what I needed to hear. Timing is everything.  The approach taken by the First United Church of Christ is according to UCC doctrine – Communicating God’s Love by Encouraging Faith through Respect and Service, and the UCC motto – that they may all be one – is Jesus’ prayer for the unity of the church.

Everyone is welcome and the overriding premise is one of inclusion and trust. As their mission states, The UCC has three Core Values – continuing testament, changing lives, extravagant welcome! We are a community of faith that seeks to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in work and deed.  We are open to people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

If you are looking for a church that welcomes one and all and is guided by Grace rather than selective and sometimes punitive ancient doctrine, I strongly suggest a visit to see for yourself. It’s worth the small investment in time and you’ll definitely be welcome.

IF YOU GO:  Services are at 10:30 AM on Sunday, and the church is located at 200 North 46th Avenue in Hollywood, an easy 15-20 minute drive from Cooper City. Simply go east on Stirling Road past 441, turn right on 46th Avenue and proceed past Johnson Street a few blocks. The church is on the right between Polk Street and Tyler Street. Visit their busy thrift shop Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

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