FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
1735 FIFTH AVENUE WEST
HENDERSONVILLE, NC 28739


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    Social

    Justice

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    Memorial

    Garden

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    Vigil for Orlando Shooting

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    A Children's Place

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    Our Church Garden

WELCOME FROM OUR PASTOR

I am so pleased you have found our website. Don't know what path you took to find us, but we have a saying in our church: "No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!" Those are not polite, empty words to me or to the congregation I am blessed to serve. Our Open and Affirming statement says it best, but I also like the song I learned as a child: "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world." 


I would update that old favorite by saying that whether you're young or old, gay or straight, Christian or non-Christian – titles that have a tendency to divide folks in the world – the members of First Congregational will embrace and value you, and respect the journey you have traveled to this point. We would like to get to know you, and learn from you, and grow from our relationship. We hope you might like to do the same.


If you are seeking a church that celebrates God’s inclusive love and values “right actions” more than “right beliefs,” First Congregational could become your spiritual home. I hope you'll choose to "check us out" some Sunday soon.

RICHARD WEIDLER

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational. 

OUR MISSION

First Congregational United Church of Christ of Hendersonville welcomes and respects all people and viewpoints, and strives to follow the teachings and actions of Jesus. We nourish and support our members' spiritual journeys and joyfully minister to their needs. We work for justice in our community and the world by living compassion, protecting creation, and reaching out to our neighbors with love.

In this church, I have found total acceptance – without question – without limitation. Through this unconditional love, I now know what Jesus – and his God – are all about.

Bal Goleman

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational. 

OPEN AND AFFIRMING STATEMENT

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28

As Christians and members of First Congregational United Church of Christ, we are a diverse group of people. We are persons of various ages, races, gender identities, accomplishments and goals, abilities, sexual orientations, theological and political beliefs, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.


In our diversity we find strength and a way to understand the inclusiveness of God. We recognize each individual as a child of God. We welcome all people to join in our common mission through participation and leadership in this communion of faith.

 FCUCC Congregational Meeting, 2008

CORE VALUES

The unique combination of characteristics and actions that distinguishes First Congregational.

INCLUSIVE

We value diversity – including people of all faith traditions, sexual orientations, and gender identities –  and embrace newcomers with friendly hospitality and generosity. You will find our members open, accepting, and non-judgmental. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.

PROGRESSIVE

We strive to understand and follow the teachings of Jesus, leading to an action-oriented congregation that values right actions over right beliefs. Being a covenantal rather than creedal church, we are each free to believe and act in accordance with our own experience of God. Instead, we encourage thinking and questioning that lead to life-long learning.

NURTURING

We nourish and support our members’ spiritual and personal growth in a loving and accepting environment, and joyfully minister to one another’s needs. Members and non-members alike gain a sense of belonging through encouragement to participate in church life and to pursue their passions and ideas.

COMPASSIONATE

We extend compassion to those in need, “every single one,” wherever they may be. We dedicate 16 percent of our offerings  to local, national, and international charitable and social-justice organizations, and provide special giving opportunities. Both as a church and as individuals, we volunteer with many community-service projects and organizations.

JUST

We take risks for justice and peace through resistance and daring – standing with the outcast, oppressed, denigrated, and afflicted against discriminatory social and legal practices. We work for social justice through action groups focused on advocacy, homelessness/housing, gun violence, mental health, national inclusiveness/immigration, and care of God’s creation.

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational. 

MEET OUR STAFF

Our Pastor 

Richard Weidler 

Richard was called to our church in 2008 after having served UCC congregations in New England and Pennsylvania for more than 25 years. He is a pastor with a compassionate heart, who cares deeply for members as well as those beyond First Congregational who are struggling because of social injustice, distributive injustice, and systemic inequality of opportunity or possibility.  Richard has led First Congregational from being a quiet little neighborhood church to becoming a voice for justice and compassion to the larger community. As our church has grown and evolved, so has our pastor. Richard received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1975, after which he studied in Europe for two years before entering Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree and was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 1981. To reach Richard, please call 828-692-8630.

Our Minister of Music     

Mark Acker

Mark began his work at First Congregational in January of 2016, and is excited about being a part of the dynamic and inclusive culture of the church. Prior to his work at First Congregational, Mark served churches in Nashville and Little Rock.


Mark has a passion for helping our choir to grow in numbers and in quality, for offering a variety of music from traditional classical anthems to songs of social justice, and for helping our church to continue being a voice for social justice and inclusive love in our community.


To learn more about music at First Congregational, please call Mark at 615-430-3506.

Our Administrator    

Linda Welch

Linda came to First Congregational in May 2013 as a former retreat facility director with a background in non-profit and office management. She has lived in Western North Carolina for 13 years where she has found her “soul” home. Always ready to help in any way she is able, Linda seems to have time and patience for everyone. Office hours are Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm. Contact Linda by phone at 828-692-8630.

Our Custodians

Dora and Charles Littleton

Charles has been the custodian at FCC for 35 years and was joined by his wife, Dora, in 1994. Charles and Dora were married at FCC in 1996 and have made many friends here over the years!


Contact us to learn more about First Congregational. 

MEMBER TESTAMENTS

JOANNE AND
TOM KIMMELL

Despite searching for 25 years, we found each church we visited too stiff, too regimented, too demanding, too conservative, or too large. When we found First Congregational, we knew it was different in a very good way. Each reason we hadn’t been able to settle on a church melted away.

NANCY
KESWANI

When I retired to Hendersonville, I wanted to give something back after decades of focusing on myself. Participating in First Congregational's ministries, social justice groups, and volunteer efforts is giving me the opportunity to serve Jesus by serving others.

ROBERT
MILES

I am grateful to belong to a church that donates 16 percent of its offerings to charitable organizations and takes strong stands on social justice issues.

CHARLOTTE
​​​​​​​SHIPLEY

I finally found a church in which my understanding of God has been stretched, my experience of God’s spirit enlarged. In this place I feel surrounded by folks who take Jesus’ message seriously. I am so grateful to be part of this loving community.

KIRSTEN
​​​​​​​CONE

First Congregational is what my husband and I were looking for in a church community...a place to question, a place to reflect, and a place to take action. My children get to experience the support and love of an open and affirming community and are taught values not just literal biblical stories. As a couple in our 40s, many of our peers have left organized religion. First Congregational is a place where we can raise our children by modeling social justice, inclusion, environmental stewardship, and progressive Christianity.

JOEL AND ANNA
HELFAND

We joined First Congregational because its liberal perspective on social justice issues combined with the authentic love shared among its members was exactly what we were looking for in a spiritual community.

ROGER
​​​​​​​SMITH

I came first to the Ashley Lecture Series and remember thinking any church that would have such interesting and challenging speakers must be special. So I came back to a service or two and went to a few Adult Forums. Consistently, I have been intellectually engaged by First Congregational's commitment to questioning, thinking, and life-long spiritual growth.

NOLLEEN
​​​​​​​KELLY

I am committed to this church because every single person is treated with great love and dignity. Differences are respected, and individual gifts are encouraged. It is a community where people are always challenged to walk the walk. It is a community where everyone is treated as a child of God, not only made by God but made of God.

BAL
​​​​​​​GOLEMAN

In this church, I have found total acceptance – without question – without limitation. Through this unconditional love, I now know what Jesus – and his God – are all about.

USE OUR BUILDING

First Congregational seeks to be open and available to all in the community. Charities and most nonprofits are generally permitted building use without charge. Commercial users and non-members are asked to pay our standard fees.


If you or your organization needs space for a gathering, please consider our facilities.

  • Our Sanctuary can be used for large gatherings such as concerts, seating 300 comfortably. Acoustics are excellent.
  • The Sanctuary is also ideal for weddings. All couples are welcome, with or without religious affiliation. In addition, First Congregational is the first church in Henderson County to perform same-sex marriages.
  • Fellowship Hall can accommodate up to 150 and features an attached kitchen.
  • The Library is an ideal meeting space for 12 around a conference table.
  • The Parlor is a comfortable setting for informal meetings and more intimate gatherings.

Please complete this form to inquire about availability.

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational.

The UCC is a blend of four principal traditions: Congregational, Christian, Evangelical, and Reformed. If you’d like to learn more, visit the UCC website.

Contact us to learn more about First Congregational.