Our Church


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Elk Grove United Church of Christ is an Open and Affirming congregation that’s mission is grounded in Micah 6:8, “To do justice; love kindness and walk humbly with God.”

No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.

Our History


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Our church began 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.

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 Beliefs

We believe…
In Jesus Christ, our savior and head of the Church.
In the Trinity: God, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In the authority and inspiration of the Bible, but we do not consider it inerrant.
In baptism of adults, youth and infants as a sacrament of belonging.
In Holy Communion as a sign and symbol of Christ’s presence.
In active involvement in issues that face our society, such as seeking peace and social justice, combating hunger, racism, discrimination, and ecological destruction.

Do justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly

Our Staff

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Jack Dawson
 Co-Pastor

Jack grew up in the Chicago area where the heart of life was involvement in the church. Camp and conference; youth group; helping out in worship. These were the things that caused him joy. It was at camp when Jack was 16 that he felt God calling him to ministry.                                                                                                          Jack graduated from Eden Theological and was ordained in The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). After serving churches in the Midwest, he was called to serve United Congregational Christian Church in Lodi where he served for 10 years. He then accepted a call to the United Church of Cloverdale where he served for 6 years.                                                                                          Since coming to CA, Jack became heavily involved in the Northern California/Nevada Conference where he served on the Committee on Ministry; Annual Gathering Planning Team; Conference Moderator, and then as President of the Conference Board of Directors.

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Allison Wilbanks
Worship LEader

Allison was introduced to worship music from a young age. In elementary school, she began singing and playing in chapel. As a teenager, she was given the opportunity to serve on her church’s worship team and gained experience leading worship. Over the summer of 2019, both Allison and her sister, Samantha,  served as summer worship interns at Elk Grove UCC. After the summer ended, Allison continued her internship and then joined the EGUCC staff the following summer.                                                                                                     Allison grew up in a musical family. She began piano lessons at an early age and went on to play trombone in her high school orchestra. Music has always been an important part of her life and something that’s kept her grounded in her faith. 
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Jessica Charney
co-Pastor

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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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Genna Perez
Office Admin

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Luke Zimmerman
Youth Director

Luke serves as the Regional Director of Youth Ministry for Parkside, Elk Grove, and Loomis UCCs. Prior to launching this ministry, he lived and worked in New York as an actor.

Aside from his work in the arts, Luke served as a peer advocate for Transgender youth, Trans folks in the performing arts, and Transgender people of faith. He also continues to perform virtually on the worship team at Forefront Church in Brooklyn and as a musician with Loomis Basin UCC.

Returning home to the greater Sacramento area where he was born and raised, Luke shares life with his wife Ana and their two rescue mutts, Captain and Willow.


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.

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Want to Join us?

Our Sunday Services are a blend of traditional and contemporary styles, combining praise songs and traditional hymns. The Bible is preached in the context of its origins and of our lives right now, cultivating wisdom for us and our world today. We'd love for you to join us.