Colonial Church is a Congregational church in the Reformed tradition of Protestant Christianity.
The name comes from the fact that each local congregation is self-governing. We emphasize the belief that each congregation is an independent, autonomous expression of the Church gathered under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Yes and no. Our belief is that Christ is the sole head of the Church and that each local congregation is “gathered” under the leadership of Christ. Therefore, we govern ourselves as a Christ-ruled fellowship seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit at work among us. Although we are not governed by an outside denominational body, we are in cooperative association with other Congregational churches and denominations in the United States. Colonial is affiliated with three nationwide Congregational bodies: the United Church of Christ (UCC), the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC), and the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC).
Our roots go back to the 16th century English Reformation when a group known as the Puritans separated themselves from the state church in England and came to America for religious freedom. They arrived in the New World in 1620 on the Mayflower ship and became known in America as the “pilgrims”. The churches they established in early New England were later known as Congregational churches.
During the 16th century Protestant Reformation in Europe, there were movements throughout Europe to reform the Catholic church. Martin Luther, for example, led reform work in Germany and churches growing out of his leadership became known as “the Lutheran tradition” of Protestant Christianity. Other reformers, such as John Calvin in France and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, led reform work that led to the establishment of churches later referred to as “the Reformed tradition”. Congregational churches are descendants of “the Reformed tradition” tracing its roots back to reformers like Calvin and Zwingli.