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History of KCUCC

Kansas City United Church of Christ was originally founded as Country Club Congregational Church. On April 26, 1923, four established area Congregational churches determined that a stronger church community and a wider mission were needed in the area and organized a new church. The 26 founding members chose a spot in the newly developing Country Club/Brookside area of Kansas City, Missouri, for that expansion. Reverend Robert Porter was called as the first senior minister in 1924.

The immediate focus of the congregation was construction of a building, funded with individual and church donations, rummage and food sales. A pipe organ was donated by the Jenkins Music Company. They broke ground exactly 2 years after organizing on April 26th,1925, and the first service was held September 25, 1925. It was built in the traditional New England style, with 13 rows of pews to represent the original colonies. The unusual star on the steeple was symbolic of the church’s desire to be in mission and ministry as 'a light to all the world'. Reverend Walter North was called as pastor in 1929. The church prospered under his leadership and grew, even during the financial strains of the Depression.

In the late 1940s, under the leadership of Rev. Gerald Maggart, the church built a substantial addition to the building and renovated the interior at the cost of $180,000. The church grew to 765 members by the time it celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1948. 

In 1957, the church became Country Club United Church of Christ, as fellow Congregational, Evangelical and Reformed churches joined together to found the UCC denomination. Over the next few decades, membership varied in number, reaching a peak of 1,200 members around the church's 50th anniversary in the 1970s.

The 1990s became an era of great change and evaluation of the church and its programs. In 1992, the Historic Kansas City Foundation presented the church an award for preserving the structural and aesthetic integrity of their building. Also in 1992, the church voted unanimously to become Open and Affirming to people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. As the first Open and Affirming church in the greater Kansas City area, same sex unions were performed until same sex marriages became possible years later. In 1995, then-pastor Rev. Roger Kube began the annual Kristkindl Markt, a German Christmas market which still welcomes thousands of community members to this day. In 1999, the church brought on their first woman minister, Rev. Susan Thorne.

The church's commitment to social justice moved forward in 2004 with the decision to join the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2) as a covenanting member. In 2007, they voted to become a Peace with Justice church, emphasizing that addressing systemic injustice is necessary when envisioning a truly peaceful world.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriages legal in 2014, and Rev. Chase Peeples performed the first same-sex marriage of the congregation in November of that year.

In 2017, members voted to remove "Country Club" from the church's name, becoming Kansas City United Church of Christ as it is known today. As the church prides itself on being committed to social justice and inclusivity, a name connoting the idea of exclusivity and wealth was incongruent with its values.

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic brought big changes to KCUCC, with all church services and meetings held virtually. This was followed by a hybrid format with masked in-person services that were also live-streamed for those who wished to participate remotely. Gradually gatherings became more traditional once again. Also during this unusual time, the steeple and star were renovated.


The Rev. Jessica Palys was called to KCUCC in 2021.  Under her leadership, the Diaconate was formed and charged with collaborating on the caring, social and relational life of the Church.


During Pride Month in 2022, our lawn display, Rainbow Doors emblazoned with the words: “God's Doors Are Open to All,” was vandalized, and immediately restored by our Church neighbors. 


Today, KCUCC is an active and vibrant aspect of the community. The church holds summer patio concerts, Taizé services and the annual Kristkindl Markt. It partners with a vast number of social justice organizations, including partnering with the Colonial UCC in Prairie Village to sponsor a refugee family from the Congo. 

Photos through the years

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