The deep roots of our Conference extend all the way back to 1836 when pioneers ventured west in wagons over the Oregon Trail in search of land and new opportunities. In 1842, the first Congregational church was planted at Tualatin Plains. As the migration continued, churches were planted wherever communities sprang up. The Reformed Church began organizing in 1867, followed by the Evangelical Church in the 1890s. During the final decade of the 1800’s, one Evangelical and six Reformed congregations joined the Congregational Conference of Oregon. By 1905, the Congregationalists had established 58 churches in Oregon and 25 in Idaho.
In 1963, the Oregon Conference of the United Church of Christ was created out of the two jurisdictions of the previous denominations. In 1974, our present Central Pacific Conference was formed when churches of the Idaho Association of the Intermountain Conference joined the Oregon Conference. Two years later, the congregations in Vancouver and White Salmon Washington joined the CPC.
Over the years, the geographic boundaries have changed with the number of member churches also changing as new churches were founded, or existing ones either disbanded or withdrew from the United Church of Christ. Today, we are 47 congregations, with approximately 7,600 members.
As our denomination and Conference have evolved over the years, the Conference’s organizational structure has also changed, embracing and adjusting to the configuration of our national body.
Just as we started, and throughout the years since, we continue to pioneer in many areas of church life and missions. In 1993, the Annual Assembly voted to become Open and Affirming (ONA) and encouraged all congregations to engage in a process leading to a decision on ONA. As of this writing, 62% our 47 churches are listed as ONA congregations.
A vital element in our journey has been our excellent outdoor ministries offered at our two campsites, Camp Adams in Molalla, Oregon, and Pilgrim Cove in McCall, Idaho. The programs offered at these camps have nurtured and enriched the spiritual development of hundreds of children, youth and adults for many years.
More than one and a half centuries have passed, and we are still pioneers here in the Central Pacific Conference. Because we listen for the directive voice of the Still Speaking God, we remain a people on the move, often through uncharted territories, and always with our eyes on the horizon of God’s promised New Day.
What Does the UCC Logo Symbolize?
The symbol of the United Church of Christ comprises a crown, cross and orb enclosed within a double oval bearing the name of the church and the prayer of Jesus, “That they may all be one” (John 17:21). It is based on an ancient Christian symbol called the “Cross of Victory” or the “Cross Triumphant.” The crown symbolizes the sovereignty of Christ. The cross recalls the suffering of Christ—his arms outstretched on the wood of the cross—for the salvation of humanity. The orb, divided into three parts, reminds us of Jesus’ command to be his “witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The verse from Scripture reflects our historic commitment to the restoration of unity among the separated churches of Jesus Christ.