Rev. Timothy S. Dixon has served as the Senior Pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ, Huntington, WV, since April of 2002.
Rev. Dixon was ordained in 1989 by the West Virginia South District of the Church of the Nazarene. During his 17 years as a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene, he served congregations in Welch, WV; Inez, KY; Catlett, VA; Princeton, WV; and Winfield, WV. Having received his first “Local Preachers License” at the age of 15, he spent a number of years in evangelism, youth ministries, and music ministries. Rev. Dixon did his formal theological training at Mount Vernon Nazarene University and God’s Bible School and College, where his primary concentration was in Evangelism and Outreach.
In 2001, Rev. Dixon did his Clinical Pastoral Training at Cabell Huntington Hospital and Marshall University Medical Center, Huntington, WV, where he trained primarily through the Trauma Units, and often claims that, “while promoting the healing of others, it became a personal time of healing.”
Presently, Rev. Dixon serves as the Chair of the Department for Preparation for Authorized Ministry (DePAM), in the Central Southeast Ohio Association of the United Church of Christ. This is the “authorizing” Department for ministerial training in the UCC. He also serves as a member of the Central Southeast Ohio Association Council, and the Ohio Conference Board of Directors for the United Church of Christ. Rev. Dixon has served two terms as an elected delegate to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ (Hartford, Connecticut; and Grand Rapids, Michigan). In August of 2010, Rev. Dixon was elected to serve as the President of the Downtown Huntington Ministerial Association.
Moderator: Myron Bailes
Vice Moderator: Open
Church Treasurer: Alex Wallen ***
Asst. Treasurer: Scott McSweeney ***
Trustee Chair: Kathy Given
Deacon Chair: Brent McDonie
Music Chair: Janet Bromley**/Sherri Karnes
Peace & Social Justice:Terry Collison
Social Chair: Tandy Fierbaugh
Christian Education: Chana Dixon
Board of Trustees
Team Leader: Kathy Given (15)
Major Myers (14)
Sonya Beckett (14)
Scott McSweeney (15)
Will Glavaris (15)
Board of Deacons
Team Leader: Brent McDonie (16)
Gina Stanley (14)
Joseph Leggott (14)
Mickey Newsome (15)
John Whitt (15)
Don Stewart (16)
**Jack Spurlock, Emeritus
Team Leader: Sherri Karnes
**Janet Bromley, Emeritus
Team Leader: Justin Murdock
Team Leader: Chana Dixon
Team Leader: Tanday Fierbaugh
Peace & Social Justice
Team Leader: Terry Collison
Rev. Timothy S. Dixon - standing
Rev. Peter Barclay - standing
Rev. Bill Crawford - standing
Pastoral Relations (14)
*indicates non-voting staff member
Various subcommittees may be created throughout the year to carry out specific tasks as they arise and are needed.
(xx) indicates what year their term ends
The United Church of Christ came into being in 1957 with the union of two Protestant denominations: the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches. Each of these was, in turn, the result of a union of two earlier traditions.
The Congregational Churches were organized when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation (1620) and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1629) acknowledged their essential unity in the Cambridge Platform of 1648.
The Reformed Church in the United States traced its beginnings to congregations of German settlers in Pennsylvania founded from 1725 on. Later, its ranks were swelled by Reformed immigrants from Switzerland, Hungary and other countries.
The Christian Churches sprang up in the late 1700s and early 1800s in reaction to the theological and organizational rigidity of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches of the time.
The Evangelical Synod of North America traced its beginnings to an association of German Evangelical pastors in Missouri. This association, founded in 1841, reflected the 1817 union of Lutheran and Reformed churches in Germany.
Through the years, other groups such as American Indians, Afro-Christians, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Volga Germans, Armenians, and Hispanic Americans have joined with the four earlier groups. In recent years, Christians from other traditions, including the Roman Catholic Church, have found a home in the UCC, and so have gay and lesbian Christians who have not been welcome in other churches. Thus the United Church of Christ celebrates and continues a broad variety of traditions in its common life.
Characteristics of the United Church of Christ
The characteristics of the United Church of Christ can be summarized in part by the key words in the names that formed our union: Christian, Reformed, Congregational, Evangelical.
Christian. By our very name, the United Church of Christ, we declare ourselves to be part of the Body of Christ—the Christian church. We continue the witness of the early disciples to the reality and power of the crucified and risen Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.
Reformed. All four denominations arose from the tradition of the Protestant Reformers: We confess the authority of one God. We affirm the primacy of the Scriptures, the doctrine of justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the principle of Christian freedom. We celebrate two sacraments: baptism and the Lord's Supper (also called Holy Communion or the Eucharist).
Congregational. The basic unit of the United Church of Christ is the congregation. Members of each congregation covenant with one another and with God as revealed in Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. These congregations, in turn, exist in covenantal relationships with one another to form larger structures for more effective work. Our covenanting emphasizes trustful relationships rather than legal agreements.
Evangelical. The primary task of the church is the proclamation of the Gospel or (in Greek) evangel. The Gospel literally means the "Good News" of God's love revealed with power in Jesus Christ. We proclaim this Gospel by word and deed to individual persons and to society. This proclamation is the heart of the leiturgia—in Greek, the "work of the people" in daily and Sunday worship. We gather for the worship of God, and through each week, we engage in the service of humankind.
What We Believe
We can tell you more about the United Church of Christ with the help of seven phrases from Scripture and Tradition which express our commitments.
That they may all be one. [John 17:21] This motto of the United Church of Christ reflects the spirit of unity on which it is based and points toward future efforts to heal the divisions in the body of Christ. We are a uniting church as well as a united church.
In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity. The unity that we seek requires neither an uncritical acceptance of any point of view, nor rigid formulation of doctrine. It does require mutual understanding and agreement as to which aspects of the Christian faith and life are essential.
The unity of the church is not of its own making. It is a gift of God. But expressions of that unity are as diverse as there are individuals. The common thread that runs through all is love.
Testimonies of faith rather than tests of faith. Because faith can be expressed in many different ways, the United Church of Christ has no formula that is a test of faith. Down through the centuries, however, Christians have shared their faith with one another through creeds, confessions, catechisms and other statements of faith. Historic statements such as the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Evangelical Catechism, the Augsburg Confession, the Cambridge Platform and the Kansas City Statement of Faith are valued in our church as authentic testimonies of faith. [See Beliefs for the complete texts of some of these testimonies.] In 1959, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ adopted a Statement of Faith prepared especially for congregations of the United Church. Many of us use this statement as a common affirmation of faith in worship and as a basis for study.
There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God's holy word. This affirmation by one of the founders of the Congregational tradition assumes the primacy of the Bible as a source for understanding the Good News and as a foundation for all statements of faith. It recognizes that the Bible, though written in specific historical times and places, still speaks to us in our present condition. It declares that the study of the scriptures is not limited by past interpretations, but it is pursued with the expectation of new insights and God's help for living today.
The Priesthood of All Believers. All members of the United Church of Christ are called to minister to others and to participate as equals in the common worship of God, each with direct access to the mercies of God through personal prayer and devotion.
Recognition is given to those among us who have received special training in pastoral, priestly, educational and administrative functions, but these persons are regarded as servants—rather than as persons in authority. Their task is to guide, to instruct, to enable the ministry of all Christians rather than to do the work of ministry for us.
Responsible Freedom. As individual members of the Body of Christ, we are free to believe and act in accordance with our perception of God's will for our lives. But we are called to live in a loving, covenantal relationship with one another—gathering in communities of faith, congregations of believers, local churches.
Each congregation or local church is free to act in accordance with the collective decision of its members, guided by the working of the Spirit in the light of the scriptures. But it also is called to live in a covenantal relationship with other congregations for the sharing of insights and for cooperative action under the authority of Christ.
Likewise, associations of churches, conferences, the General Synod and the church wide "covenanted ministries" of the United Church of Christ are free to act in their particular spheres of responsibility. Yet all are constrained by love to live in a covenantal relationship with one another and with the local churches in order to make manifest the unity of the body of Christ and thus to carry out God's mission in the world more effectively.
The members, congregations, associations, conferences, General Synod, and covenanted ministries are free in relation to the world. We affirm that the authority of God as revealed in Jesus Christ and interpreted with the aid of the Holy Spirit stands above and judges all human culture, institutions and laws.
But we recognize our calling both as individuals and as the church to live in the world:
To proclaim in word and action the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To work for reconciliation and the unity of the broken Body of Christ.
To seek justice and liberation for all.
This is the challenge of the United Church of Christ.
First Congregational History
On June 1, 1872, our congregation organized as First Congregational Church of Huntington, just narrowly out voting the choice for a Presbyterian affiliation. Our first members (not unlike today), brought “Letters of Membership Transfer” from many denominations such as: Baptist, Church of Christ, Christian Church, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, Presbyterian, among others. Not long after the organization of the church, the Depression of 1873 hit the region and state.
tington High School were held in the facility of First Congregational. The first “publicly accessible” library was situated within the facility of First Congregational. And, under the leadership of Dr. Alexander Burns, a member of First Congregational and President of the Board of Education, a grant from Andrew Carnegie was secured in the amount of $25,000 for the building of the Huntington Public Library.
Through out the years, First Congregational has been a shelter for the City of Huntington for victims of the Flood of 1913, the Swine Influenza Epidemic of 1918, the Flood of 1937, and other major area catastrophes. First Congregational also has a long history of being on the forefront of the “peace and social justice” issues that our country has found itself in through out our, nearly, 140 year history. First Congregational was the first church in the city of Huntington to rise up in the 1920’s during Women’s Suffrage in support of all woman and equal rights. First Congregational was the first church in the Huntington to “officially oppose discrimination and segregation” of the 1950’s and 60’s. First Congregational became the first church in the city to integrate.
First Congregational Church became First Congregational United Church of Christ in 1957, following a congregational vote to join the merger of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Congregations. This new denomination (in 1957) now known as the United Church of Christ can, and does, trace it’s heritage back to the early 1600’s and The Pilgrims who were seeking liberation from the Church of the State and a more congregational church polity and rule.
Since 1957, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Huntington, has honored it’s strong “peace and social justice” heritage by remaining on the forefront of social issues that have impacted our area and region. FCUCC has proudly lifted it’s role as a “theologically progressive” congregation, giving each person the right and privilege to come into their own understanding of God, Scripture, and Doctrine. FCUCC takes a strong stand against inequality of any marginalized group or people whose rights may be discriminated against. This, we feel, was the message of Christ who continuously made his was through the religious rulers of his time to lift up the outcast, rejected, and disenfranchised.
In 2013, First Congregational UCC, Huntington, continues to express an “Extravagant Welcome” to all people. The theme of FCUCC is, “Regardless of who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” FCUCC spends a great deal of energy and attention holding to this practice and belief of belonging and acceptance. We honor our fore-bearers and predecessors by maintaining the progressive work which they began so very long ago. From the Nineteenth Century to the Twenty-First Century, First Church stands strong with Christ Jesus as the Head of the Church.
701 5th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701
Sunday Service and Children's Ministry: 11:00am
Accessibility: Thanks to a generous donation by a local business, Access & Mobility Products, the main level of our building is now accessible to those with mobility issues. To utilize our new access ramp you must enter the building via the side entrance facing 8th street, with parking lot access off of the ally behind Doug Reynolds Law Offices.
First Congregational United Church of Christ has over a 140 year history in the City of Huntington. FCUCC was the “first” church facility in the city. With that strong heritage, our facility has been the site of hundred’s, even thousand’s, of wedding/union ceremonies, social gatherings, and meetings. First Church has all the markings of a beautifully designed, and decorated, House of Worship. The true identifying beauty of the sanctuary is found in the oldest pipe organ in Huntington, the wrap around walnut trim and balcony, along with the high cathedral ceilings. Following any ceremony, First Church offers a space for receptions and gatherings in a social hall, we call Bromley Hall. Bromley Hall can seat, comfortably, up to 200 people in a banquet setting. In 2010 Bromley Hall was remodeled to present an open and well lighted place for social gatherings.
As you consider the use of our facility, there are some important things to keep in mind. Non-member rental fee’s for the sanctuary, Bromley Hall, Pastoral Staff, Musicians, etc., all must be determined and approved by our Senior Pastor and the Board of Trustees. The sooner you choose your date and make contact with the church, the greater your chances of being able to secure that date. Our pastoral staff also has specific meeting and premarital counseling requirements. The following information will provide you with the schedule of fees approved for the 2010-2011 calendar year.
Sanctuary Wedding/Ceremony $175.00
Bromley Hall Reception Hall $100.00
Clergy Remuneration $150.00
Church Organist $100.00
Church Pianist $100.00
Janitorial Cleaning $80.00*
First Church is honored to be able to recommend specific catering, floral, and DJ services, should you be interested and have those specific needs. It has been our experience that particular service providers within, and connected to, our church facility offer a more detailed and facility conscious assistance. These providers are available to the church through pastoral staff recommendation and referral.
Note: due to insurance requirements, and by vote of the FCUCC Board of Trustees, all weddings and ceremonies must be approved and attended by a member of the First Church Pastoral Staff. Visiting Clergy as “officiates” are always welcome. Should you have further questions, or wish to speak to a member of our Pastoral staff, please contact here.
*This fee is required for anyone that rents the facilities and covers cleaning prior to and after the event.
“Coffee Pot Theology”
I got in a fight with my coffee pot the other morning. Then I had to go back and apologize to my coffee pot. First, you have to understand that my coffee pot has served me faithfully for over two years without a hitch. As long as I do the normal upkeep, it produces the coffee that is ‘required’ every morning on short order. Because of the type of coffee pot it is, it gives me hot coffee well into the afternoon upon request. It is a wonderful coffee pot and when it ‘gives up the ghost,’ I will miss it. However, that didn’t prevent me from getting into my first fight with it the other morning. After a tussle, a few choice words, and then walking away in frustration to my study, I realized that my coffee pot wasn’t to blame. It was me. So, I walked back into the kitchen and promptly apologized.
My slight OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is a self diagnosis), causes me to find a great deal of comfort in my morning routine. Once I have made my way into the kitchen, my coffee pot preparations have a specific order to them. I push the button and, low and behold, 4.5 minutes later, out pours the morning energy required to start the day. I even have a ritual during those 4.5 minutes that my coffee pot is doing its daily ritual. I go out to the porch and get the paper, come back in and fill the food and water bowls for my four legged daughter, open up the blinds around the house, and then return to the coffee pot to enjoy the outcome of its 4.5 minutes of hard work.
Now, I am sure you are wondering why a fight would break out in this, otherwise, peaceful and tranquil morning ritual. Well, after two years, I forgot, momentarily, how to get the coffee out of the thermal pot. I tilted the pot and only a trickle of coffee came out into my cup. A bit disoriented, I repeated the tilt. Again, only a trickle. In frustration, I took the lid off the pot and tilted it with determination that I was going to get to that coffee one way or another. That frustration, since I am not used to pouring the coffee with no lid, caused coffee to splatter all around the cup onto the counter. Now, my routine had been interrupted by the need to clean. Sitting in my study and attempting to go through emails, voicemails, and text messages, that required a response, I realized why a kitchen fight had broken out between me and my coffee pot. I forgot to push the button, which releases the coffee, that I had pushed everyday for two years.
It turns out; one of the most controversial individuals in the Bible is the very person who is attributed with writing nearly 60% of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul was a person who dealt not only with external conflict from the twelve disciples but, internal conflict within himself. He was a walking magnet for internal and external conflict. For example, in Romans 7:24, the Apostle Paul screams out in desperation, “O wretched man that I am, who will rescue me…” And then, in the next verse, Romans 8:1, he calmly says, “There is now no condemnation…” What? It causes a person to ask the question, which is it Paul? Are you ‘wretched,’ or are experiencing ‘no condemnation’? This is a clear indication of the internal conflict the Apostle Paul dealt with on a daily basis.
While the Apostle Paul had this internal battle going on, he also found himself at odds with the other apostles and disciples. The twelve disciples did not recognize Paul as a credible and valid apostle. In the beginning they viewed him as a fake and a troublemaker. Paul was constantly at odds with the teachings of the twelve disciples as the argued over the law, grace, and mercy. Some of the arguments were so heated that, in order to keep peace, they parted ways. There is plenty of evidence in the New Testament that the teachings of Paul were contrary to that of the twelve disciples in the first century church. But, out of these controversies, the Body of Christ, grew and became stronger.
In the end, it wasn’t the theological conflict, it wasn’t the fight for apostolic hierarchy, and it wasn’t the determination to influence the direction of the early church that got the most attention. It was the message of Jesus that became the focus and lived on beyond those temporary struggles. Even the internal and external conflicts with the Apostle Paul became nothing more than a story for our learning. And now, in the twenty-first century, those monumental struggles of their day are historical footnotes. As the twelve disciples and the Apostle Paul neared the end of their life journey, they each reflected on the strong common relationship they each shared with each other. Why? Because their common message of love that was shared with them by The Master, became more over powering than any difference of opinion of the day.
My coffee pot means more to me today than it did yesterday. And now I know that my coffee pot does more than just make my morning coffee. It became my point of frustration even when it wasn’t my coffee pots’ fault. Then, it became my point of apologies. You know, my coffee pot could have said, the next day, I’m not making you coffee today because of your craziness of yesterday. But, it didn’t. I filled it up, and like a charm, as it has done for the past two years, it cranked out the best coffee I have ever tasted. Now, you might be thinking that the preacher is losing his mind because he is talking to his coffee pot. You may be right. That would not be the best evidence of me losing my mind because, this morning I heard my coffee pot say, “Hey fruit cake, if you want the coffee, remember to push the button that makes it come out.” Point well taken and lesson well learned.
Thanks to the historical writings of the New Testament, we get to see the bigger picture. A small piece of the picture was the Apostle Paul’s conflict within himself. A small piece of the picture was the Apostle Paul’s conflict with the twelve disciples. A small piece of the picture was the Apostle Paul’s conflict with the various churches that didn’t seem to listen to him. In his second letter to the church at Corinth (II Corinthians 7:2-16), the Apostle Paul offers his regrets and apologies for the things that he had said in his first letter to them in I Corinthians. “…I did regret it, for I see that I grieved you…so, (I pray) that you were not harmed…” (II Corinthians 7: 9)
The Apostle Paul got in a fight with his coffee pot. Thank God that is not the end of the story. He, too, returned to the kitchen and apologized. And the next day, the coffee pot (the church) rose up and called him blessed by making his Biblical writings to be 60% of what we call, God’s Holy Word. Thanks Paul. The moral of this story is; “Most of the time when we find ourselves in a predicament, it’s because we forgot to push the button.” Apologize to your coffee pot and keep drinking coffee.