About The United Church

Learn more about The United Church

Welcome to The United Church of Canandaigua!

“That All Might Know Love and Follow The Lord Jesus Christ as Their Personal Lord and Savior”

We are made up of two denominations, Presbyterian and American Baptist.

We are a united community of faith with a mission that all might come to know, love, and follow Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. We are a growing fellowship of believers who love God and love others. You are welcome to visit our church anytime!

We have two Worship services at 8:45am and 11:00am. These services run every Sunday from the Sunday following Labor Day until the Sunday prior to Memorial Day weekend. We have Sunday School for all ages at 9:45am from mid-September until mid-May. From the Sunday of Memorial Day weeknd until the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, we have one Worship service at 9:30am. We have nursery care available during all Worship services.

Sunday School is offered for 3-year-olds through adults on Sunday mornings at 9:45am. Our Sunday School year runs from mid-September through mid-May, with some breaks for holidays. On the 5th Sunday of the month, we have an intergenerational Sunday School class in our downstairs dining room. Please contact Deb (Children), Mark (Youth), or Paul (Adults) for more information.

Our parking lot is most easily accessed from Gibson Street. Please note that our church also has permission to park in the parking lots behind the 4 buildings on Main St to the south of our church building. Parallel parking is available on Main Street and Gibson Street.

If you have questions regarding our church, please feel free to contact our church office at (585) 394-0503, or stop by between 9:00am and 1:00pm, Monday through Friday. The church’s address is: 11 Gibson Street, Canandaigua, New York 14424.

What to Expect during a Visit

We hope the questions and answers below help you to know what to expect as a visitor to The United Church. Above all, we hope you feel warmly welcomed and comfortable while you are here. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

What time should I arrive?

We recommend parking your car about 10 minutes prior to the service time. This will allow you to walk to the sanctuary, be greeted, and find a seat. Also, if you have children, they may worship with you or you can take them to our nursery. If you plan to use the nursery, you may want to add a little extra time to get your little ones settled before the service.

Will I be singled out as a visitor?

There are no special visitor tags or time when we have visitors stand, so don’t worry about being singled out. It’s possible you will have someone come up and greet you before the service or at the end of the service. If you would like more information about our church, please don’t hesitate to ask someone! Or, you can fill out a visitor card that is found in the pew, and place it in the offering plate.

What is the service like?

When you enter the sanctuary, you will be warmly greeted and handed a bulletin that contains news, announcements, worship service outline, Scripture references, sermon title, and more. Feel free to sit anywhere you are comfortable.

Here’s what you can expect at a typical worship service:

  • Announcements and greeting one another
  • Singing songs and hymns
  • Prayers
  • Children’s Message
  • Reading Scripture
  • Sermon (about 20 minutes)
  • Offering
  • Benediction

Sometimes, we also have special elements such as baptisms, accepting new members, and praying for those headed to work camp or the mission field.

Communion is taken on the first Sunday of every month. At this service, the elders will pass out bread and grape juice and we will eat and drink together as we remember Christ’s sacrifice. Communion at our church is open, meaning that it is available to everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ.

How long is the service?

The service lasts about 1 hour.

What should I wear?

Most people wear casual business attire. Some wear jeans or shorts with t-shirts, some wear suits or dresses. Please feel free to come as you are.

What about my kids?

Birth - 5-year-olds may be taken to the nursery before service begins, after the Children’s Message, or at any time during the service that the parents feel it is necessary. If you would like your children to attend worship services with you, they are more than welcome in the sanctuary during the service.

K - 2nd grade kids can attend part of the worship service with their family and then can be dismissed after the Children’s Message for Children’s Time (during the 11:00am service only; also offered during our 9:30am summer worship service). Children’s Time (a.k.a. Children’s Church) is offered each Sunday except for the first Sunday of the month, when our church serves communion. Children’s Time is also not offered on weekends that are near holidays. Children in this age range are welcome to stay with their family for the entire worship service on any Sunday.

3rd - 5th grade:

3rd graders at the United Church receive their very own Bible in September. After that, they attend Learning to Worship classes that are offered during the 11am service after the Children’s Sermon. These classes help the 3rd graders learn to navigate their Bible and help them understand more about the different parts of our Sunday morning worship service. (4th and 5th graders that are new to our church may also receive a Bible and participate in Learning to Worship if they choose.) Once they have completed Learning to Worship, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are ready to remain in the service with their families for the duration of the service. There are children’s bulletins available each week for use during the service.

Middle School and High School students (6th - 12th grade) Middle School and High School students are encouraged to join us during the worship service with their families or sit together with other students.

Sunday School for all ages at 9:45am We have Sunday school classes between services for all ages. These classes run from mid-September until mid-May.

What if I have questions?

Feel free to ask any of our greeters or church staff members. Our church is friendly, and anyone you ask will either be able to answer your question, or find someone who knows the answer.

Who We Are

The United Church connects to two denominations and other local and national ministries. Through its Mission Budget (which is separate from the Operating Budget), the United Church gives over a third of its yearly offerings to ministries outside of its walls. As a member of two denominations, The United Church is unique. It retains language and organizational structure from both denominations. Membership in the United Church can be either denomination (Presbyterian or Baptist) or neither denomination (United).

Presbyterians

The United Church is a part of the Presbyterian Church USA through the Presbytery of Geneva. As a Presbyterian church, the church looks to the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions. Presbyterian influence is evident in our structured, traditional worship service. However, The United Church does not align with PC-USA on several issues. If you would be interested in learning more about these differences, don’t hesitate to contact the Pastor.

Baptists

The United Church connects to the Finger Lakes Association, The American Baptist Churches of New York State, and The American Baptist Churches USA. We are voluntarily associated with other Baptist churches, and church governance takes place on a local church level as a Baptist Church.

Since a denominational entity does not govern Baptists, Baptist churches can differ. Our unique combination of Baptist and Presbyterian characteristics makes The United Church special.

Polity

As a church connected to two denominations, our polity is unique. Titles and terms from both traditions have made their way into how we function.

Annual Meeting

The Congregation meets annually (usually in January) to elect church leaders, adopt an annual budget, and review the yearly activities of the church.

Leaders, Boards, and Committees

Leaders

A called Pastor, Professional Staff Members, and Lay Leaders (Church Officers and Committees) provide leadership for the church.

Boards

The Official Board includes the Pastor (Teaching Elder) and Ruling Elders. Ruling Elders must be members of solid faith, dedicated discipleship and demonstrate love for Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Ruling Elders are authorized to serve communion (first Sunday of each month, Maundy Thursday, Christmas Eve).

The Board of Stewards includes Stewards/Deacons. Their primary function is to maintain connections with our Special Members. They also manage the Stewards Assistance Fund, direct a card ministry, organize special remembrances, organize greeters for Sunday worship services, and decorate the church for particular seasons.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the financial and property management of the church.

Endowment Trustees are responsible for overseeing the Endowment Funds of the Congregation.

All Board members are nominated by the Nominating Committee, elected by the Congregation at the Annual Meeting, and installed and ordained. Leaders must meet the standards outlined by the church to be nominated. The Congregation ordains ruling Elders and Stewards.

Committees

Various committees and teams carry out ministry work at The United Church.

Membership is not a requirement to serve on committees.

Membership

Church Membership in The United Church may be Presbyterian, Baptist, or United.

If you are interested in joining The United Church, we encourage you to attend an Exploring Membership Class, offered in the Spring and Fall.

There are three ways that one can join The United Church. The primary means of joining is baptism, which can be by immersion or sprinkling. A second way to join is by reaffirming your faith, having been baptized. A third way to join is by transferring a letter of membership from another church.

Statement of Belief

The United Church family allows for diversity in convictions and interpretations of Scripture. Yet, we can collectively confess:

WE BELIEVE THAT:

GOD lives in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

JESUS CHRIST is fully God and fully human; He died for our sins, rose, ascended and shall come again.

SCRIPTURE is the unique and authoritative Word of God, in human language.

HUMANITY though capable of good, is sinful, and that our only salvation and hope is in Christ alone, through personal faith in Him.

THE CHURCH is the community of believers, the body of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread the Good News to all the world.

WE ARE CALLED TO:

CONFESS Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior

WORSHIP God publicly and corporately.

PROCLAIM to all the world the Good News, reflecting the love of Jesus Christ in the manner in which we live.

Presbyterians celebrate eleven confessional statements in the Book of Order including the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed.