First Congregational

United Church of Christ

Hendersonville. North Carolina 28739



Justice,  Compassion,  Inclusion




First Congregational Church UCC


Sundays 10:30 AM




1735 Fifth Ave. West

Hendersonville, NC 



Sunday January 15

9:00   AM   Forum 

"Living Fully in An Age of Decline" video talk with Michael Dowd.  Discussion led by Mark Fagerlin

10:30 AM  Worship and Children's SundaySchool

"Reflections on Loneliness"

Mark Acker preaching

Choir singing "Draw the Circle Wide" soloist Bruce Mills.  



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. 


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


Our  Pastor

Karla Miller

Rev. Karla Miller began as our settled pastor in February 2019.  She comes to First Congregational UCC with over 33 years of a variety of ministries in Florida, Asheville and Raleigh, NC and Massachusetts.  Most recently, Karla was the Minister for Community Life at Old North Church UCC in Marblehead, MA.

Rev. Miller earned a B.S. in Religious Studies from Wheaton College in Illinois and  a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  Karla also has significant continuing education and professional development, including in marriage and pastoral counseling, women in ministry, suicide prevention, and ceramics in spiritual expression.

Karla is married to Dr. Anne (Liz) Thurston, who is in higher education administration, most recently as Director of Student Affairs at Harvard's Graduate School of Education.  Karla and Liz have three dogs and two cats, and are very dedicated to animal welfare.  In her free time she enjoys knitting, hiking, reading and cooking.

Our Minister of Music

Pastoral Associate     

Mark Acker

Mark began his work at First Congregational in January of 2016. His primary roles include leading the Choir, serving as a pastoral presence to members of the choir and church, playing the organ, preaching, and working with various groups and work areas in the church.

Prior to coming to First Congregational, Mark served for 26 years as Director of Music, Worship, and the Arts at two congregations in Nashville, Tennessee. Mark also served on the faculty of Belmont University for six years, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in church music and worship.

Mark's  passion now lies in helping the choir and the music of First Congregational to be a light in which all people  find inspiration, joy, community, and meaning.  

Our Administrator    

Jo Freeman

Jo comes to us from 20 years in the corporate world seeking to make a difference in the lives of others.  She is a writer and manic lover of animals.   She also loves hiking and horseback riding, is a voracious reader, and seeker of knowledge.

She has a husband, Robert (recently deceased but still a large part of her life); one son, Ryan; and a beloved dog, Kaiser.


Assistant to Our Everything 


Lynx joined the staff in October 2019 as grounds patrol, making sure everyone in the parking lot knew he was there and keeping an eye on things.  Soon, he was promoted to Assistant to Everything Church, in which he performs a variety of duties, including worship planning, bookkeeping, attending any and all meetings and, of course, his deepest calling, Ministry of Napping.  If you would like to contact or meet with Lynx, an open can of tuna will bring him right to you. 

Our Custodians

Dora and Charles Littleton

Charles was the custodian at FCC for 35 years and was joined by his wife, Dora, in 1994. In Decmeber of 2018, Charles retired but still works with Dora meeting the church's needs!  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. 

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. 


December/January 2022-23