Celebrating over 120 Years of Serving God and Community!
One mark of welcome in our church is our communion table. It is radically open, as we believe Jesus meant it to be. One doesn’t have to be baptized, adult, Christian, or have met any other requirement to come to God’s table.
Another mark of welcome is our openness and respect as we discuss scripture and explore faith together. Questions are not viewed as signs of heresy; nor are answers easily handed out. This is a head and heart church, a thinking and feeling church, a learning and experiencing church.
Communion is shared every first Sunday of the month. All are welcome, even those who are visiting with us. No credentials necessary! The bread and cup symbolize for us the continuing presence of Christ: God incarnate in the world. This meal reminds us to share the love of Christ and his compassion and peace-filled ways with one another and the world.
Baptism is usually practiced by sprinkling, though immersion is also possible upon request. Baptism is a sign and symbol of what God has already started in each of us, God’s claim on us as children of the Holy One. It is also a sign of our commitment to the gathered community and to the mission and ministry of Christ’s church. Baptism is a powerful and joyful celebration of the journey of faith.
Although Riviera United Church of Christ is now located in Palm Bay, we actually began as a church in our sister city, Melbourne, Florida. In 1889, a dozen pioneers to the area incorporated a church under the name First Congregational Church of Melbourne.The congregation met in the home of Edward Branch and later shared space in the Methodist Episcopal church. In 1893, the first building was completed at the corner of US1 and Strawbridge (State Road 192).
Over the next century, the church went through good times and bad. By 2000, we had outgrown the old building and the small lot in downtown Melbourne. The beloved historic site was sold to another young church. Our congregation, under the name United Church of Christ, Congregational, moved to a temporary site, a former furniture warehouse on Palm Bay Road. We spent the next three years planning and constructing our present facility.
We took the name Riviera United Church of Christ and made the big move. Our first Sunday service was held on March 2, 2003.
In 2006, Rev. Scott Elliott was called to serve our church as our first-ever assistant pastor. In 2008, he was officially installed as the sole pastor of the church. In 2013, Rev. Elliott was called to pastor a church in Ohio, and the Rev. Tim Woodard became RUCC’s stated supply minister.
Ministry and Mission
Since 1997, we have offered two services of worship, traditional and contemporary. This summer we are trying something different: combining the two styles of worship into one blended service at 10 a.m. that brings together all of our members and friends. It features both styles of music, incorporating musical offerings from both the Chancel Choir and The Sunday News contemporary band. The familiar hymns, liturgy, and responses of the traditional service are there, as well as the laid back style and the rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and country tunes of the contemporary service.
An Adult Sunday Seminar is on hiatus for the summer, but had been meeting before the service up until their break. Children’s Sunday School is offered right after the “Time with Our Children” near the beginning of the worship service. Following the service, we enjoy coffee and refreshments in a time of fellowship.
Whether in worship, at Sunday School, or any other part of our church life, please know that wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!