Our Church

Here at Elk Grove United Church of Christ we celebrate God’s love for all people and creation, foster supportive non-judgmental community, pursue peace and justice, and walk the Christ-centered path of life.

And we welcome anyone who would celebrate with us!

We’re a people’s church following a congregational form of government. That means we are a true democracy run by our members, agreeing together with one another and with God to determine our church’s direction.  We work with the larger United Church of Christ denomination for regional, national, and global outreach that we could not do on our own.

Our Pastor

Associate Pastor Jessica Charney

Jessica joined our pastoral staff in 2019. After a stint in Southern California for college and seminary, she and her husband Nick returned to their hometown of Elk Grove in 2011. Since then, they have added two energetic young children to their family.

Over the last decade, Jessica has served in various ministry settings as a non-profit director, children’s pastor, youth and family pastor, and adjunct college professor. She has a passion for teaching others, developing and empowering leaders, and building community in unlikely places. In her free time, Jessica enjoys being outdoors, exploring new places with her family and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Our Staff

Shelly King
Volunteer Rental Liaison

Our History

This church was begun in 1923 when 12 German immigrant farm families of Elk Grove resolved to establish a Congregational Church.  Elk Grove was nearly 75 years old at that time and well settled into farming and cattle raising after beginning in 1850 as a stagecoach stop.


A delegation was sent to Ebenezer Congregational Church in Lodi, and they loaned us their pastor one Sunday a month.  In 1923, our church was formally organized and given the name Hoffnungsfeld (Field of Hope) Congregational Church.  Services were held in a member’s kitchen while the church was being built.

The original church building was dedicated in 1926.  Between 1946 and 1949, services were gradually changed from exclusively German to predominantly English.  In 1950, the name was changed to First Congregational Church of Elk Grove, and our current sanctuary was dedicated.  The Fellowship Hall was built eight years later.

The United Church of Christ (our denomination) was founded in 1957 from four predecessor denominations (Congregational, Christian, Evangelical, and Reformed). The United Church of Christ consists of over 2000 diverse and unique congregations across America.  Though the UCC officially is a young church, it carries on the rich heritage of justice and compassion found in its ancestral denominations whose roots trace back to the founding of our country.

Our Denomination

The United Church of Christ is a community of faith that seeks to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed. The UCC was founded in 1957 as the union of several different Christian traditions: from the beginning of our history, we were a church affirming the idea that Christians do not always have to agree to live together in communion. Our motto—”that they may all be one”—is Jesus’ prayer for the unity of the church. The UCC is one of the most diverse Christian denominations in the United States.