Who We Are and What We Believe
Faith United Church is a mainline protestant church affiliated with our two parent denominations, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. Our church exists to serve God by giving witness to unity in the body of Christ through creative worship, acts of caring and nurture, Christian education and participation in local, regional, national, and global mission. Blending strength and identity from our historic roots in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ, Faith United Church seeks to honor and serve God through mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect among ourselves under the lordship of Jesus Christ who binds us together through the Holy Spirit. We approach the future with grace, confidence, and a sense of community in Christ, seeking to be his servants in the world.
The United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ or "UCC" was born in 1957 from the merger of Congregational, Christian churches and the Evangelical and Reformed churches. The UCC denomination embraces the diversity of humankind while also promoting social justice as reflected in the fact that we all belong to God, regardless of our race, gender, class, creed or sexual orientation. The United Church of Christ was the first historically white denomination to ordain an African-American and the first to ordain a woman. The UCC has been active in the anti-slavery and civil rights movements. To learn more about the UCC, click on this link.
The Presbyterian Church (USA)
The origins of most Presbyterian beliefs lie in the writings of French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564). Among other things, Calvin emphasized the sovereignty of God, the authority of scripture, and the justification of faith through Grace. The first Presbyterian General Assembly in America was convened by Rev. John Witherspoon, the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence. The Presbyterian Church is governed at all levels by both clergy and lay people, men and women alike. To learn more about the Presbyterian Church (USA), click on this link.
Our Church's Origins and History
Faith United Church was established in 1989 as a result of the merger of the former Presbyterian Church of Oswego and the United Church of Christ, Congregational of Oswego. Given the fresh appearance of a modern building and the church's recent birth date, one could hardly be blamed for thinking that Faith United Church's history must be quite short, but as it turns out, the church's chronology extends at least 200 years into the past.
1801: The two parent denominations, the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists formed a "Plan of Union" which, despite the name, was really an agreement to coordinate their mission work in the establishment of new churches as settlers arrived and moved westward.
1816: A Presbyterian Church was first organized in Oswego and began meeting in a schoolhouse within the city.
1826: The First Presbyterian Church building was dedicated in Oswego's West Park.
1833: The First Congregational Church of Oswego was established in a building called "The Tabernacle". Congregationalist Edward A. Sheldon later used this same building as a public school. Eventually Sheldon went on to found the Oswego Normal School as a teacher training institution, which morphed into the State University College at Oswego.
1837: A group of dissenters from Oswego's Presbyterian church splintered off to form the Second Presbyterian Church on Oswego's east side.
1841: The First Presbyterian Church's building burned to the ground at the hands of an arsonist. Church members began to meet at "The Tabernacle" until a new building could be constructed.
1842: The Second Presbyterian Church constructed a new building on the east side of town. By now, slavery had become a hot-button issue both nationally and locally. Although many churches tried not to take a stand, Second Presbyterian decided to jump into the fray with its Rev. Charles Jones taking a strong abolitionist stand. The ensuing controversy split the church down the middle.
1843: First Presbyterian constructed a Greek-revival style church building on the west side of town.
1852: The Second Presbyterian Church disbanded.
1857: The Congregational Church of Oswego is established. Services are held in the former Second Presbyterian church building.
1859: The Congregational Church's new building at E. Fourth and Oneida Streets is dedicated.
1862: The Presbyterian Church denomination splinters into four groups with pro- and anti-slavery factions present in both the north and the south.
1872: Yet another group split off from First Presbyterian to form Grace Presbyterian Church. Eventually they erected their own building at the corner of W. Fifth and Oneida Streets.
1936: First Presbyterian and Grace Presbyterian Church reunited, deciding to hold services in Grace Church's building. The former First Presbyterian Church building still stands today and is occupied by the American Legion.
1934: A denominational merger occurred uniting Congregational Churches with the Christian Church in the U.S.
1959-60: The United Church of Christ is formed as result of the merger of the Congregational Churches and the Evangelical & Reformed Churches of America.
1983: The Northern and Southern branches of the Presbyterian Church denomination finally agree to reunite.
1987: Members of the United Church of Christ, Congregational of Oswego sell their building and commit to a yoked parish with the Presbyterian Church of Oswego.
1989: The United Church of Christ and Presbyterian churches of Oswego formally consolidate to form Faith United Church.
1993: The former Presbyterian Church building (Grace Church) was sold to Oswego Hospital and was demolished to make room for a hospital parking lot.
1996: Faith United Church of Oswego formally dedicated its newly constructed building on Mark Fitzgibbons Drive.
About Oswego, New York
Oswego is a small city, population 18,142, on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario, centered about the outlet of the Oswego River. This part of the central New York landscape has been a home for Native American populations for millennia. The first European presence dates to the early 1700's when both the Dutch and the British established fur trading posts in the area. The British first built Fort Oswego to protect their trading post and then later in 1755 what eventually became known as Fort Ontario was constructed. As the area became part of a vital shipping lane to the west, the British and French fought for control of the fort with the British eventually winning out. After the American revolution, unrestricted trade with the west led to a boom of economic growth for the port of Oswego. Grain to be milled was brought in by ship, coal to be moved to Canada arrived by rail. Immigrants arrived to work in the mills and shops. Oswego even became a stop on the underground railway, affording escaped slaves a safe passage to Canada. With the arrival of the 20th century, manufacturing slid into a decline and Oswego gained a new reputation as a college town with the State University of New York college campus established on its western outskirts. The old fort has gained new life as a state historic site and Oswego now hosts a four-day summer festival called Harborfest which culminates in a grand weekend fireworks display over the harbor. To find out more, link here to the City of Oswego's website.
Pastor Andrew (Andy) Hinman is a licensed minister of the Oneida Association of the United Church of Christ. Andy holds a certificate in Christian Leadership from the New York School of Ministry as well as a Bachelors of Science in Public Accounting with a minor in Economics for the State University of New York at Oswego.
Andy is currently a Member in Discernment for ordination in the Oneida Association of the United Church of Christ while continuing his education in the Word and Sacrament program of the New York School of Ministry.
In addition to serving Faith United, Andy is the Pastor of the Bristol Hill United Church of Christ in Volney New York and serves as the Registrar/Treasurer of the Oneida Association of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Our Constitution and By-laws
The church organizational patterns of both the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ have been blended to create the Constitution and By-laws for Faith United Church. These documents have been approved at both the local and denominational levels.
Faith United Church's By-laws