First Congregational Church of Fresno, United Church of Christ, is an Open and Affirming congregation, with strong ecumenical and interfaith ties, through whom God Is Still Speaking today.
No matter who you are, or where you are in life’s journey, you are welcome here.
Our Sunday Worship Service takes place weekly at 10:00AM. Together we engage in music, prayer, scripture readings, and a weekly sermon given by our Senior Pastor, Rev. Raygan Baker, or another guest speaker. All are welcome to participate in as much of the service as they feel comfortable.
Communion Sunday happens on the first Sunday of each month. At The Big Red Church, we invite all who are interested to partake in Holy Communion. Don’t know how? Feel free to ask a Greeter or a neighbor in your pew. We are ready to welcome you!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our services are currently held online via our Digital Sanctuary.
When in-person services resume, they will be held in our Sanctuary at 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd. Fresno, CA, 93705
There is no dress code for our Sunday Worship. Whether you are in a t-shirt, a suit, a sundress, or sweatpants, you are welcome here!
Nursery (0-4 Years)
During our 10AM service, the youngest of our congregation are invited to join our Nursery. Your children will be supervised playing with toys and singing songs with friends. This free service will allow you to participate to the fullest in our worship service. All our Nursery Attendants have been thoroughly background checked and fingerprinted to ensure your child’s safety. Prior to worship, please swing by the Nursery with you little ones to get acquainted with the Nursery Attendant. If you would prefer to keep your children with you during the service, you are absolutely welcome to.
Children & Youth (5-18 Years)
Children and Youth of all ages are welcome at The Big Red Church. We love to welcome new arrivals and will do all we can to help them settle into our church family. Our prayer is that every child will make great Christian friends here and enjoy being part of a small group.
All children and youth start our 10AM service with the larger church community in the Sanctuary. Early on in the service, they are called to the front and enjoy a fun and engaging Time For Discovery with the Pastor, aimed specifically at them. After this Time For Discovery, they are invited to accompany their leaders for their own age-appropriate activities and teaching in our secured Sunday School Rooms.
All children and youth return to the greater church family for Fellowship Time after the service.
All those involved in Children’s work are required to comply with the church’s Safe Church Policy and must obtain a clear release from a comprehensive fingerprint and background check. If you have questions about our Sunday School Program, please ask a Greeter!
Coffee Hour is a time of fellowship! It is our opportunity to demonstrate our extravagant welcome and hospitality. Many interesting conversations happen, friendships are formed, and plans for activities are worked out. We are really into food, too, and we have lots of people in the congregation who enjoy cooking. It is simply a time to share some good food, good coffee, and good company. We love meeting new people, and coffee hour is the best time to get to know each other!
Frequently Asked Questions
What must I believe in order to be UCC?
We hold in common certain assumptions about God, Jesus, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the role of the church in relation to the world. It is part of our heritage that it is the covenantal responsibility and the right of each individual believer to examine her/his own conscience and faith in light of personal experience, and of her/his appreciation of how God is speaking to us in our day.
Membership is not based upon believing in any right (orthodox) way, but is about promises made (covenant) to share the walk and work of faith as God gives us the grace to do so. We find our strength in the diversity of expression which allows itself to be companion to thoughtful inquiry and prayerful partnership.
What does it mean to be a responsible church member?
A responsible member is one who will:
- Trust that the Spirit knows what the Spirit is doing in our midst.
- Share in the practice of regular worship.
- Be committed to growth through learning and education.
- Seek to serve through the many ministry and volunteer opportunities the church offers.
- Give regularly (as one is able) to the financial support of FCC-F.
- Pray regularly for the ministries of FCC-F, its leaders, its members, and its community.
- Share their faith with others in appropriate and meaningful ways.
- Always seek to build up the spirit and work we share in covenant.
What is Baptism?
The United Church of Christ affirms the baptism of infants and children, as well as the baptism of adult believers. Our heritage speaks of baptism as the welcoming into the community of believers. Thus, baptism is almost always done as part of public worship. A new person is being received into the community of faith, expressed in a covenant of mutual promises made between family, household and congregation.
Baptism ought not be seen as “an insurance policy for eternity,” but is an expression of accepting God’s reaching out to us in love and in grace.
Most frequently, we baptize by effusion, or “sprinkling.” However, immersion is always an option for appropriate circumstances.
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is a period of time set aside for young people to seriously examine the Christian faith into which most were already baptized. After this period of engagement, the young person re-affirms (confirms) their relationship to God and Jesus, which were the promises made on their behalf at the time of their being baptized. For young people never having been baptized, the sacrament accompanies their being received into the covenant of membership.
What is the difference between Congregational and congregational?
Congregational refers to the historic denominational identity; congregational refers to a church’s polity, (its way of organizing and behaving). Baptist and Unitarian churches are also congregational in their polity.
Is the United Church of Christ “that GLBTQ+ church?”
Ours is not a GLBTQ+ church; rather, we are that church that welcomes and affirms persons who have been endowed by God to be unique, precious, and differently gifted creatures of God’s own loving. Jesus commands his followers to make room within God’s Realm for all who (in the words of Peter) love God and seek to do what is right. Loving God, seeking justice, extending forgiveness, enabling healing are neither gender-dependent, nor sexually oriented dependent. They are spiritual markers that define all humans as children of God.
Why does the UCC tolerate such a wide range of personal beliefs?
It is true, our critics contend that it appears we may be the church of anything goes! That is a serious misinterpretation of our tradition, and of our core theological base. We can respond this way:
In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity. The unity that we seek requires neither an uncritical acceptance of any point of view, nor rigid formulation of doctrine. It does require mutual understanding and agreement as to which aspects Christian faith and life are essential.
The unity of the church is not of its own making. It is a gift of God. But expressions of that unity are as diverse as there are individuals. The common thread that runs through all is love.
Why are you “First Congregational Church” and not “First United Church of Christ?
The answer lies in the respective histories of Congregational-Christian, Evangelical & Reformed Churches. Churches that came into the 1957 union typically retained the names of their heritage, adding “United Church of Christ” to their headings.
Churches organized since 1960 tend to take more inclusive or distinctive names, which include UCC in their title.