Our history

Working for justice since 1885

This is the cornerstone from our church building that was erected on Florida Avenue in Tampa in 1906. When it was sold in 1959, the cornerstone was transported to our current location in the Temple Terrace area. It is located on the west side of our property.

First United Church of Tampa was founded as First Congregational Church of Tampa in 1885, when Tampa had fewer than 4,000 inhabitants. We have a history of courageously leading efforts for social justice and reform, and this continues in the life of our church today. In 2002, First United Church of Tampa merged with the United Community Church (UCC) of North Tampa to form a new First United Church of Tampa. We are truly a united church and a uniting church.

Peace and social justice

Our congregation has a consistent history of working for peace and social justice. Since 1885, First United has fought political corruption, protested racism and segregation, stood up for women’s rights, spoken out for LGBT equality, participated in anti-hunger and anti-poverty movements, and worked for many other causes.

  • We helped lead peace vigils during the mobilization for war with Iraq.
  • We educated ourselves about how the Patriot Act curtails our civil liberties.
  • We spoke out about Hillsborough County’s 2005 “gay pride” ban.  (We were the first organization in Hillsborough County to do so!)
  • We participated in the March on Washington to End the War on Iraq in September 2005.
  • We condemned the use of torture on prisoners.
  • We began consciously educating ourselves about being better stewards of God’s creation.
  • We, along with other UCC congregations and other religious organizations, supported efforts aimed at reinstating Largo’s city manager, who was fired in 2007 for revealing that she was going to have sexual reassignment surgery.
  • We endorsed the Earth Charter.
  • We clearly stated our opposition to the so-called Florida Marriage Protection Amendment (Amendment 2) and submitted a resolution to the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ for the delegates’ consideration at the 2008 Annual Meeting.  It was approved overwhelmingly!  We worked tirelessly against the discriminatory amendment, encouraging voters to vote “no” in November of that year.  Unfortunately, the amendment passed.  Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality, we are excited to be a church that marries same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
  • In celebration of our 125th anniversary, we declared ourselves a Multiracial and Multicultural church and reaffirmed our commitment to be an Open and Affirming church.
  • We took on the issue of LGBT teen bullying and suicides to bring
    awareness to this important issue and to let lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people know that we are indeed a church that fully and unconditionally welcomes them.
  • firstunitedgunviolence1We are speaking out and taking action on the gun violence that is plaguing our country. We began participating in the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend with other congregations around the nation. Also, to increase public awareness, we update a weekly tally of gun deaths on a sign that we maintain on Fowler Avenue.
  • In 2016, we added a Spanish-language worship service to better serve the needs of our Hispanic neighbors who seek a progressive and inclusive expression of Christianity.
  • In celebration of our 131st anniversary, we adopted two more Core Values. We declared ourselves to be an Accessible to All church to better include people with disabilities into the full life of our congregation. We also declared ourselves to be a Relationship-Building church, which highlights our desire to work with interfaith, ecumenical, and secular communities to address issues of common concern in our community and throughout the world.

 

peacevillagewelcomesyou

To prepare ourselves for the next phase of our church’s history, we have been mapping out plans for the Peace Village, with a bigger worship space and an improved opportunity for community outreach. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting endeavor!