Everyone is welcome here, seriously!
WITH GOD’s GRACE WE WELCOME
We know that too many people and their families live with the pain, disillusionment, and frustration of having believed that “everyone” meant them, only to discover otherwise. We know church can be a risky place to walk into for the first time and you may be filled with questions like “Will I really be accepted here?” The answer is yes.
In the United Church of Christ (UCC), churches that are explicit about their extravagant welcome adopt a process of learning, discernment and ultimately a public statement that guides their church and ministry. The UCC calls these Open and Affirming Churches, or ONA for short. When UCV became an ONA congregation, we declared: With God’s grace, we welcome all persons, affirming differences of faith background, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, age, and mental and physical abilities, as well as racial, ethnic, economic, and social status. We welcome all to share in the life and leadership, ministry and worship, sacraments, responsibilities, and blessings of participation in our congregation.
Today, we continue working to change lives throughout our community, state, and the world. We labor ceaselessly to fight injustice, in the United States and abroad. We instill our vision into our youth and young adults, forging leaders who envision new dreams. And we sustain and develop church leaders, pastors and our local churches to live their faith in exciting new ways. We believe in a God that is still speaking, a God that is all-loving and inclusive. We are a church that welcomes and accepts everyone as they are, where your mind is nourished as much as your soul. We are a church where Jesus the healer, meets Jesus the revolutionary, and where together, we grow a just and peaceful world.
UCV has several staff members, not to mention the blessings of strong lay leaders because the joy and responsibilities of ministry belongs to everyone, from children to seniors.
Here are our team members who work toward the mission and ministry of United Church of the Valley.
Moderator: Lee Eddy
Vice Moderator: Sandy Selby
Secretary: Debbie Hudson
Treasurer: Michael Turner
Worship: Lynne Bradley
Outreach & Ecumenical:
Congregational Life: Ruth Sharp
Member at Large: Dr. Stephen Falgout, PsyD
We really mean EVERYONE is welcome.
No one should have to guess about the “boundaries of inclusion” of a congregation or other ministry. We begin each service of worship with an explicit greeting and welcome. Whether you are young, old, or in between, whatever your history or background, whether your faith is an old friend or you are filled with doubts and questions or both, whatever your gender or sexual orientation, whatever the shape and size of your family, YOU ARE WELCOME HERE! As beloved people of God, we gather for worship and to share in life together. Welcome to this place.
A Brief History of UCV
The United Church of the Valley was conceived with a vision. In 1993 seven people gathered in a home to dream and plan for a new church in Murrieta. The United Church of Christ sent Rev. Randy Leisey to be their guide on this collective journey of faith in the fast-growing Temecula Valley.
As the group grew in numbers, the congregation began meeting at the Murrieta United Methodist Church, and then spent several years meeting in school multipurpose rooms and currently we are worshiping in the Temecula Masonic Center, until the renovations on our new property are complete.
After several years of gathering in members' homes and the Korean church, the choirs’ needs led to the rental of The Joyful Noise Center, on Washington Street in old Murrieta. In addition to providing a temporary home for our choirs, JNC served as the center for many of our programs for five years. After our lease ended in 2005, St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Temecula generously offered to share their home with us for our music and education programs. In 2006, we moved our activities to The Community House, our church office and community center until 2019, in Historic Downtown Murrieta.
In 2002, the church became dually-aligned, as we partnered with The Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.
During that time, we formally declared ourselves to be an Open and Affirming congregation, expanding an “extravagant welcome” to all.
In late 2010 we declared Rev. Leisey as our Minister Emeritus.
We are currently without a senior pastor, so we are operating with the ancient church model of lay worship and pastoral care. We are currently navigating the renovation of our first Forever Home building and looking inside our hearts to determine the next step for our congregation.
The dreams of the original founding members of UCV were for a community of faith where God’s people would embrace all persons with love and dignity, learning to celebrate diversity as God’s very image. Since then, United Church of the Valley continues to be a leading voice in progressive Christianity, a witness to God’s inclusive love, a refuge for many beaten down by religion, and a place where matters of justice and peace are taken seriously.
The members of United Church of the Valley invite you to grow with us as we work to establish a gathering place where our dreams of love, peace, hope, and justice for all God's children will become a reality. We are a small informal congregation and typically have about 40 people join us for Sunday worship.
Disciples of Christ (Christian Church)
In 1989 the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ, DOC) approved a historic partnership of full communion. The two churches proclaimed mutual recognition of their sacraments and ordained ministry.
Though remaining two distinct denominations, the UCC and DOC have committed through their partnership to seek opportunities for common ministry, especially when working together will enhance the mission of the church.
The DOC grew out of two movements seeking Christian unity that sprang up almost simultaneously in western Pennsylvania and Kentucky – movements that were backlashes against the rigid denominationalism of the early 1800’s.
In 1989, the Disciples and the UCC declared that “a relationship now exists between our two churches.” The ecumenical partnership rests on five pillars of acceptance and cooperation: a common confession of Christ; mutual recognition of members; common celebration of Holy Communion; mutual recognition and reconciliation of ordained ministries; and a common commitment to mission.
The Tapestry of Today
The Disciples of Christ is a North American denomination. North America has long been racially and culturally diverse but church life is not always integrated. The DOC participates in the racial and cultural diversity of North America, including in its membership people from all origins. Disciples are working to become a pro-reconciling, anti-racist church.
We honor our heritage as a movement for Christian unity by cooperating and partnering with other faith communities to bring about healing and justice in the world. This is what it means to be “ecumenical”. One example is the cooperative work with the UCC in Global Ministries for the past 25 years and our newer efforts to share staff in the area of family ministries.
We also honor the heritage of Christian unity by standing together in covenant as witnesses to the world and even when we disagree, we can still make room, welcoming all to the table as Christ has welcomed us. Our spiritual ancestors were fond of saying “unity, not uniformity.”