|315 Mace Blvd.
|Sunday Classic Service 8am
|Sunday Contemporary Services 9:30am & 11am
|Sunday Evening Service 5:00pm
University Covenant Church
University Covenant Church is one of many churches in Davis, and is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church, "a multi-ethnic denomination." The Evangelical Covenant Church describes its belief system thusly:
While the Covenant Church does not require adherence to any written creed, we take our theology very seriously, and our history as well. We are a Reformation church, a part of the Church universal, and an evangelical church. In that heritage, we share certain central beliefs, which draw us together in faith and fellowship and make possible a freedom among us on more widely ranging issues. We describe those central beliefs as "affirmations." In short, we affirm: (1) the centrality of the word of God, (2) the necessity of the new birth, (3), a commitment to the whole mission of the church, (4) the Church as a fellowship of believers, (5) a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit, and (6) the reality of freedom in Christ. These affirmations are discussed in more detail on the Covenant Church website.
For more information about UCC, to stream past sermons and so much more, visit the website.
|Catalyst is a college group that meets at UCC every Monday night at 7:00PM upstairs in the Youth Center
|during the UCD academic year. Hospitality is a major focus for the group and a free home cooked meal is
|offered every week. They do lots of fun stuff and new people are always welcome to join.
|Edge is the active youth ministry at UCC for junior high students.
|Members of this group often participate in many of the same camps and group activities as Summit,
|but the group meets locally as a distinct group. Some of their camps are only for Edge members.
|Summit is the active youth ministry at UCC for senior high students.
|They participate in various camps and activities throughout the year, including
|housebuilding in Mexico, parent/child backpacking trips and houseboating on Lake Shasta.
University Covenant Nursery School
UCC is also the home of University Covenant Nursery School (UCNS), a private, nonprofit Christian preschool licensed by the California Department of Social Services (LIC#573610075). UCNS offers a variety of part-time preschool programs designed to meet the unique needs of children between the ages of 2 years & 10 months through 5-years-old (not yet enrolled in kindergarten).
For more information, or to download our preschool registration form, please visit http://www.ucnskids.com.
Pastor Jamie is awesome, he is just getting better every year.
2007-07-19 05:11:25 We really enjoyed our time at UCC! Some special people, for sure! —RichLindvall
2008-04-13 10:19:31 When I saw "UCC", I thought it was for the Uniform Commerical Code (UCC). I'm such a dork. —CurlyGirl26
2009-07-03 21:06:34 I heard Pastor Jaime at my friend's wedding at UCC and he was really good. I think he either spoke once at DCA when our pastor was on vacation or at one of the campus college groups at a fellowship. —BryceH
2010-10-12 16:14:06 I like this church so much that a lot of times I go to multiple services every Sunday! ...or maybe that's because I'm one of the pastors. —[email protected]
2011-01-06 10:06:01 Not a real church. UCC is a business, they are not out to spread the word of God, but to spread open your wallets. So if you dont got the dough, then dont go. —VincentB
Interesting... I've attended several times, and apart from the usual passing of the donation plate, and one time a brief discussion of how they were in the red for the year, there hasn't been anything unusual. What makes you say they're just in it for the money? —TomGarberson
2011-01-14 10:04:46 UCC is focused on packing in as many people they can. They then show us a bunch of lights and some videos to show off their budget. Ask for a bunch of money and detail a budget that makes little sense, then shove the plate around. They spend very little time on the Gospel and have even given sermons that skipped through the bible so that it fitted their point. Which is normally that they need more money. UCC is a business, they are more focused on money and being popular than the Gospel. They have a very pushy staff as well. —VincentB
2011-02-02 20:46:26 Dear VincentB, I would like to respond to a few of the comments and issues you've raised. I attended UCC for more than three years and never have I gotten the expression that UCC is about money. The church, like many other churches, are suffering as a result of the Great Recession. All the church is asking is that its congregation, the people who call themselves members of the church, followers of God, to donate financially if they can. Perhaps, you may want to attend a couple of more sermons before you make that judgement. Also, I recommend listening to their online sermon archives and I hope your view of UCC will change. —mjwong89
2011-03-13 01:33:59 VincentB, perhaps there is a less negative way to discuss such ideas. I've attended UCC several times and never have felt that way about them. What particular things have they said before "shoving the plate around" that made you feel that they were a "business"? —SarahYang
2011-03-27 22:33:20 I was a part of UCC's college group "Catalyst" for a long time. No matter what I did I was never good enough for the group. During my time at Catalyst I saw a lot of things I did not agree with. I did not approve with Matt Robbins promoting to college men how many women there are at Catalyst. I found this to be most inappropriate. Robins gave me a list of things I had to do to change myself. I did all that was asked. In the end I was still never good enough. I was even physically assaulted by another member of Catalyst. The Catalyst member who assaulted me was later on made a leader. I was ordered by Matt to never tell anyone what happened. I realized I would never be worthy of Catalyst so I left. Which then I found out that Matt had told all of my confidential conversations between the two of us with other pastors. At two different churches I was told by their pastors that "Matt and I are friends so it would be better for everyone if you didn't come here again". I was then bombarded by other Catalyst members on Facebook. Telling me how horrible I am. Saying that I am "A wolf in cheep's clothing" a "snake in the grass" and "Cancer to the Christian church". I turned to the bible. I found myself in 2 Peter 2:1-3
"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."
These people had me convinced that it would be best for the church if I just killed myself. They had me convinced that all I did and all I would ever do is harm the church. One pastor even guaranteed that whatever bible study I go to I will ruin. I asked myself "how could a pastor be wrong?". All I could think about is killing myself. I love going to church and being a Christian. I wouldn't want to do anything to harm it. I had to go a long way to find a community untainted by the Davis circle and get help. After receiving help I had moved on. But then I found out that what had happened to me had happened to another person. A young girl. I don't want it to happen to another. I am writing this not to harm the reputation of UCC or Christianity, but to help any of those who find themselves in the same situation I was in. They might not find the same help I did. So I just want to share what happened to me in hopes that it may help somebody. Here is a Davis wiki article on spiritual abuse with many helpful links:
Once again, I am not doing this out of revenge or some sort of petty internet trolling. I am doing this to help. I couldnt stand it if I heard that another person went through what I did and I did nothing. I harbor no ill feelings towards any member of Catalyst or UCC and wish everyone the best. Just hoping this helps somebody. —Dozer
2011-04-06 21:41:36 Hey Dozer, long time no see! I sure am sorry to read that you're experience at UCC left you disappointed. Some of that stuff sounds pretty weird though... I can't picture any of my buddies at Catalyst sending you malicious Facebook messages like that. :( And I certainly know that nobody was trying to communicate that you're not "good enough" for the group—we embrace the fact that we're all screwed up! Anyway, hope you're doing well, man. —LandonEllis
2011-04-06 21:48:32 Long time no see because I am not welcome at Catalyst. I too was shocked that the Catalyst members posted things on my facebook like "Cancer to the Christian church". Which there is no other way to take it but bad and people telling me to stay out of church does mean I am not good enough in their eyes. But this is NOT about me an Catalyst. I posted this NOT to slander, but to help. Others have felt this way and it is tough to come forward, so I understand. But I would like to encourage those to seek out help and support for spiritual abuse victims. It helped me when I was close to ending it. I hope it can help others. The link again is:
2011-04-06 23:39:44 Hmm. Yeah, I haven't heard of anyone else having an experience like that with Catalyst. Sorry, Dozer. :( —LandonEllis
2011-04-18 10:37:37 Hey Wiki world, this is Matt (the one mentioned up above)
2011-04-18 12:23:01 Wow this church is something else. The pastor wont even dispute what happened publically. I don't think I have met Matt, but this speaks to what dozer said about talking about people behind their back. I thought pastors were supposed to keep the confidence of their members. —VincentB
2012-02-03 12:25:17 Love this church and love the community! My husband and I were very hesitant about committing to one church since we were really close with our church back home in Marin. University Covenant Church is a great place to get plugged in and to share God's love with the community. The staff is awesome! —jenb
2012-02-09 12:53:23 I love UCC! I've gotten to know many in the UCC community over the years and they are all very authentic and loving. Really cool! UCC is also dedicated to serving Davis and local communities. Cool people. I find Christ there!
2014-04-15 17:12:01 Michael Corsetto, continues to delete my comments. which goes to show that UCC would rather ignore the issues instead of face them. I realize its a tough pill to swallow, but what happened happened. —Dozer
2019-08-13 01:28:13 It pains me to write this bc UCC has been my home church for over 10 years. I started attending bc I love the community and served on volunteer staff for both Junior High then High School ministry. I've also served at MOPS, am an UCC member, and even worked on staff as an admin assistant at one point. Churches are never perfect, so this is not a complaint on that. I want to write this review bc I don't believe UCC to be clear enough on where they stand on the LGBTQ community. They have events like "How to love on your LGBTQ community" and yet there are glass ceilings in place (which are not loving).
It's important for people to make informed decisions about their church community. There were many years in ministry where there were more LGBTQ people volunteering with me than not. It was seemingly welcoming and we even spoke many times about inclusion and equality with staff (paid and unpaid). Apparently that's not the case. You can only serve if you are part of the LGBTQ community if you are celibate (which to John, the pastor, apparently means no dating either). I had some friends who are a part of the LGBTQ community that don't go to UCC (unbiased) read over UCC's website and pick out what is unclear or ambiguous. My husband and I then met with John to go over it. He agreed to change some things, but not others (the all means all part). So far they haven't been corrected and I know we weren't the only ones who have asked for this change.
If you want to claim that you love the LGBTQ community (which John claimed in the congregation LGBTQ meeting) then "No person should have to wonder the limits of their welcome. The vulnerability entailed in investing into a community is difficult enough -- LGBTQ+ people should not have to constantly worry about when the other shoe is going to drop. Even when directly asked, many church leaders do not give straightforward answers about the church’s policies towards LGBTQ+ people. It often takes multiple conversations and years of relationship-building before clarity is delivered -- and by then, the damage is already done. It is unreasonable to expect people to jump through hoops to learn how policies that affect them will be enforced." All this was said to John in our meeting in which imo was really hard to get a clear answer out of so we had to ask lots of clarifying questions. In the end, he was clear, but we'd like for the website to reflect that.
So hopefully this review can help others make an informed decision. UCC please be clearer. You have hurt a lot of people how you have handled this situation. You don't get to claim to love the LGBTQ community and lead them on. You don't get to claim to love the LGBTQ community and not check in on them after holding a whole congregational church meeting on the matter. You don't get to say you love them and there be no action to do so (or at least this was the impression we got after our meeting with John). If you want to keep that opinion. Sure. Just be clear. —Samanthajovan
2019-08-20 17:37:06 After 15 years of being part of the congregation, my husband and I left UCC last fall because of the discriminatory treatment towards those in the LGTBQ+ community. There are many aspects of this church we appreciated, including their college ministry Catalyst (which I served in for 5 years) and the focus on inclusion for children with disabilities in their youth programs. However, we came to realize last year that UCC does not extend full inclusion to those in the queer community based on policies that were put in place starting in 2016 which impacted people we know directly. We became exasperated with the lack of transparency in how these policies have been communicated with the congregation by church leadership and therefore feel compelled to leave this review for anyone who may be researching UCC so others don't have to experience this same kind of confusion.
For context, UCC belongs to the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination, which abides by the doctrine that heterosexual marriage is the Christian standard. While I have come to disagree with this stance, I do not fault a church for adhering to a certain interpretation of theology. What I strongly oppose is not being upfront and clear about how this is implemented. Over the last year, we have discovered through the experience of queer friends who attended that UCC does not allow openly queer folks in a same-sex relationship to serve in ministry roles, as elders, etc. Yet it is not CLEAR anywhere on the church's website that this is their policy. We met with Pastor John to ask about this policy and he told us "sexual orientation is not a factor at all" in being able to lead in any capacity at UCC. However, sexual orientation most certainly IS a factor in serving as a leader since someone we know has been removed from their ministry positions once they began a same-sex relationship and the church leadership has said that this is the church's policy although this is nowhere in their bylaws or on their website. According to leadership, queer folks must remain celibate AND not be in a same-sex relationship in order to serve at UCC.
In a direct conversation with the lead pastor John, my husband was told that even straight people who believe in "Side A" theology (being queer-affirming, supporting same-sex marriage, etc.) also cannot serve in leadership positions at UCC, which I'm sure would be news to many people who attend. It has been excruciating to watch friends we know be blindsided by policies they didn't know existed after attending UCC for years and creating community there. Therefore, we asked the church leadership 7 months ago (in December 2018) to update their website to reflect these policies and to take down misleading language such as "all means all", especially since this phrase is most often associated with LGTBQ+ affirming churches. At this point, the website is still not updated.
It has been painful to leave a church we attended for so long and have many fond memories from. But we cannot continue to go somewhere that does not allow our openly queer brothers and sisters in Christ to participate fully. Here is a blog about one of our friend's experience and an article from our local university's newspaper about the situation for further insight.
2019-08-23 15:02:36 I spent five years at UCC serving on both paid staff and volunteer positions, so it is with a heavy heart that I am writing this review as a one star rating. After coming out as gay to the UCC staff, and after a lengthy process of meetings where my private life was disected for all to see, they decided I was no longer allowed to serve on a paid OR volunteer basis, due to the fact that I was in a same-sex relationship. I would however, be able to set up chairs and serve in ways that weren't directly influential, but I was no longer allowed to mentor college students, preach to college/youth, lead a small group, or do anything that I was passionate about. When I left UCC head Pastor John Fanous told me and many others he would make sure to be crystal clear with the churches stance in regards to queer folks, that way other humans aren't blindsided. It is no surprise to me that John did not follow through on his word, so I am writing this review to help inform others like me. UCC is not a safe space for LGBTQ+ folks who desire spirituality and community. Strict rules are inforced on LGBTQ+ folk who desire to serve including but not limited to: being transparent about your dating life, agreeing to not date ever, agreeing to not have conversations publicly that disagree/undermine/or challenge the churches view, and some other restrictions. UCC believes queer folk should be celibate, and to them that includes dating. If you are queer and don't abide by that, you are not welcome. John Fanous used the words "You're welcome to go somewhere else". Their website flippantly uses words and phrases like "all means all" and "inclusion" however it's very misleading. It is unkind to be unclear. If you are an LGBTQ member and want to be involved here, it's an uphill battle full of deceit and hurt. If you want to attend here and aren't LGBTQ but you have close friends or family that you might want to introduce to spirituality or welcome back into the loving arms of Jesus, just know this isn't the safest space for them. Again, John Fanous agreed to make it clear on their website where they stand, he agreed to take down misleading verbage, and he never did. This church doesn't do everything wrong, I obviously loved it for the better half of five years, but when it comes to the LGBTQ+ conversation, they are hurting more people then they are helping, I am one of those people. —Jordonf
2019-08-30 16:02:36 After nearly 15 years at UCC, I left over several concerns. The biggest is UCC’s treatment of the LGBTQ+ community and the highly deceptive practices and communications that Lead Pastor John Fanous has used to hide his policies. Under John’s direction, UCC has become an unsafe place for the LGBTQ+ community because leadership deceitfully speaks of acceptance on the surface while being unaccepting and exclusionary in their actual practices behind closed doors.
UNTRUTH #1 - UCC required a queer volunteer leader to sign a contract that pledged, among other things, that he wouldn’t date anyone of the same sex. Additionally, as if he were a paroled-convict, he was required to regularly check-in with a pastor. John was aware of this contract’s existence and implementation. However, in a 2/19/19 California Aggie article, John denied that UCC’s anti-gay contract even existed despite emails proving otherwise. https://tinyurl.com/UCC-Aggie
UNTRUTH #2 - John uses the phrase “sexual orientation has no effect on any leadership role at UCC.” It seems like a queer person could serve in any role at UCC. However, what he actually means is that if a gay person “acts on” their orientation (simply by acknowledging they’re interested in a same-sex relationship), they’re deemed sexually unethical and therefore unqualified for any leadership position. John inaccurately blames the Covenant denomination’s “sexual ethic” policy for this exclusion. Here’s his logic: If someone is gay but chooses to live a life of celibacy (which John defines as not DATING), then they’re fully-accepted at UCC. However, if a gay person is in a relationship, because they are on “the path to gay marriage”, and since the Covenant is against gay marriage, that person is not subscribing to the Covenant’s “sexual ethic” and is therefore unqualified for leadership. I wish it wouldn’t, but UCC can choose to exclude queer folks. My issue is their willfully misleading and deceitful language.
UNTRUTH #3 - John said the following on 10/28/18. "There are people in our church...who identify themselves as gay or queer. And they want this church to be a safe place to open up and share, and we need to be that church. This church needs to be different in how we love one another, even in difference.” He seems to be urging unity and loving one another in our differences. However, around the same time he removed two queer individuals from volunteer service positions simply for being queer, NOT due to any sexual misconduct. John refuses to honestly proclaim his opposition to the LGBTQ+ community even though his actions behind the scenes make his stance abundantly clear. John’s leadership and the manner by which his anti-gay policies at UCC have been secretly-implemented are dangerous.
UNTRUTH #4 - UCC’s website includes the phrase “all means all” despite knowing that it’s commonly used to show affirmation of the LGBTQ+ community. UCC does a great job accepting a community of folks with disabilities, and John says the phrase is clearly used for that purpose. I acknowledge that UCC is allowed to have it’s own, anti-gay stance. HOWEVER, it’s only fair that church congregants and potential visitors are aware of the church’s practices. Instead, UCC secretly removes queer leaders from service and requires secret contracts, all while preaching sermons of acceptance and purposely misusing the “all means all” phrase.
UCC’S STANCE - To illustrate how the queer community can serve at UCC, John uses the visual diagram of a circular target. In the middle are the pastors. The next level out are Elders, then the various ministry directors, and eventually the low-level volunteers. LGBTQ+ folks would be permitted to serve on the very outer ring, specifically mentioning such tasks as setting-up chairs and baking cookies. Any heterosexual person who believes in the full acceptance and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community isn’t allowed to serve in the higher levels of his chart of elitism. John told me that all the pastors and elders would have to leave for UCC to become a church affirming of the LGBTQ+ community. I acknowledge that the majority of churches are non-affirming. However, the biggest danger are churches who on the surface claim to be accepting but are exclusionary at the core. This is UCC.
AND SO WE LEFT - We appreciated being in a community of varying perspectives that celebrated our unity in Christ over the “big issues”. When we told John that we’d be finding a new community, he truly seemed relieved. Similarly, John has encouraged multiple congregants with different perspectives than his to leave. It became clear that we have different stances on the full acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. Sadly, it also became clear that we have different stances on the use of deceptive language. It’s disappointing to watch as UCC has become a place where everyone is loved in theory, but not in practice. —RandomName