In 1904, a group of like-minded people in the Trowbridgeville (now called Hadwen Park) area of Worcester began to gather for fellowship, study, prayer and worship. In 1911, they built the first church building, which has been added to and remodeled over the years. In 1914, they voted to affiliate with the Congregational Christian denomination (the modern-day descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims), which became the United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1957 when it merged with another denomination.
As "congregationalists," we hold these things dear:
Scripture - A people's witness to their faith in and experience of God, which is our guide to faith and practice. Every generation of believers has the responsibility to re-interpret scripture through prayer and the Holy Spirit so that it is relevant to the demands of a new day. As Pastor John Robinson said to the Pilgrims as they departed for the New World, "God hath yet more light and truth to break forth from the Word." We in the UCC believe that God is still speaking!
Autonomy - While Christ is seen as the head of the church universal, congregation members themselves order the life, worship conduct, and property/asset management of each UCC congregation. No pope, bishop or other church hierarchy has any control over our corporate or any individual life.
Covenant - When people join our church, they "covenant" (make a promise) with God through Christ and with one another to live as one people, one church; to work together for the common good. As a congregation, we also covenant with the greater denomination, the United Church of Christ, to support one another in similar ways. Just as our members are expected to support HPC with time, talent and treasure, HPC and the UCC support each other in the same ways.
Education - From its earliest days, American congregationalists held education as one of its highest goals. (The founding of Harvard College by our forebears in 1636 and public education for children in Massachusetts in 1647 were intended to fit clergy for leadership in church and community and all people to be good citizens.) Christian education for all ages continues to be one of Hadwen Park Church's top priorities.
Outreach, Mission, Involvement, Justice - Throughout the history of our denomination and this church, we have sought to minister to the "least of these" - the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and prisoner. Among our several current efforts is our Food Pantry, our involvement in the Interfaith Hospitality Network, ministry to LGBT asylum seekers, many special Christmas and Easter projects and much more.
That's a little about where we came from historically, but today we are a very diverse denomination - attracting people of all Christian denominations as well as those who were not raised in any church at all. As an open and affirming church, the Hadwen Park congregation is particularly diverse, attracting people of all ages, gender identities and, because of our ministry to LGBT asylum seekers, we are diverse ethnically and racially as well.