Neighborhood Congregational Church

340 St. Ann's Drive, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

We are an open and affirming congregation of
the United Church of Christ,
welcoming all people to full participation.
Worship on Sundays at 10 AM
Sunday Morning Childcare is available each Sunday
from 9:45am to 11:45am

Contact Us
You Are Welcome Here


Our Vision

Neighborhood Congregational Church provides a sanctuary for individual and communal spiritual growth, guided by the teachings of Jesus, with openness to all spiritual paths and all people who seek to know God, in the hope of transforming ourselves and the world.

Committed to Justice and Inclusion

Our Passion for Outreach and Social Justice

We at Neighborhood Congregational Church seek to be caring, informed and cooperative in studying and acting upon the challenges to justice in our community and our world. We have a moral obligation to strive for justice and full inclusion of all persons, and to partner caringly and sustainably with Mother Earth.  We study current issues with forums, films, and speakers.  We support the work of many local justice ministries, including The Friendship Shelter, The Laguna Resource Center, The Laguna Food Pantry, HIV Awareness Task Force, Transition Laguna Beach, and Laguna's Alternative Sleeping Location for persons without permanent housing (where we prepare and serve a full meal each Monday night).  We invite and welcome your involvement in our justice and outreach efforts.

Our Open and Affirming Policy

We, the Congregation of Neighborhood Congregational Church, declare ourselves to be Open and Affirming. With God’s grace, we seek to be a congregation that includes all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, marital status, age, mental and physical ability, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background. We welcome all to share in the life and leadership, ministry and fellowship, worship and sacraments, and responsibilities and blessings of full participation in our congregation. Learn more about Open and Affirming by clicking here to connect to ucccoalition.org.  See our UCC video on the coalition and its ministry on YouTube.  We strive to live up to this calling of full inclusion and welcome your partnership in this effort.

Worship at NCC

Ours is an eclectic service of worship and music that appeals to people from all walks of life. In addition to our commitment to the Christian faith, we are open to learning and drawing from the richness of other faith traditions.  Worshippers at NCC include people of many spiritual paths, and our openness and inclusive approach allows for a sense of welcome and warmth for a diverse group of people.   Dress is casual, music includes local soloists, Sunday morning messages are interactive and intriguing.  Monthly Holy Communion (first Sunday) is open to any and all who wish to receive this blessing, as is Healing Touch (third Sunday) and Prayer Support in worship each month.  Please join us Sundays at 10 a.m.  

Happenings at NCC
  • Worship Services on Sundays, Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday & Holy Week
  • Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry ~ Third Sundays of the month
  • Holy Communion - First Sundays of the month
  • Annual Sand Mandala Creation by Tibetan Buddhist Monks
  • Kirtan - Chanting Group ~ Wednesdays 9:30 a.m. 
  • Justice Programs sponsored by Justice, Outreach & You (JOY Ministry)
  • Labyrinth
  • Book Club
  • Children’s Class during worship
  • Progressive Christianity Study Group
  • Alternative Christmas Shopping to support justice work
  • Music Events
  • Family Dances
  • Blessing of the Animals
  • Easter Sunrise Service at Alta Laguna Park
  • Annual Beach Service at Thalia St Beach
Donate and Give of Yourself

Neighborhood Congregational Church is blessed by your donations of time, money, and in-kind gifts from many generous givers.  Click on the Donate link to donate electronically or to set up automatic gifts, or drop your check or cash gift in the Sunday offering plate or church office any time the Spirit leads you.  Want to donate a stock or annuity?  Want to include NCC in your estate planning?  Want to set up an automatic debit from your checking account?  Want to donate with a credit card?  We can accept any of these methods of generosity.  Contact the church office at 949-494-8061 with your donation questions, and we will help you find the easiest path for your charitable gifts to support the ministries of this church and the needs of our community.  Thank you for your wonderful support!

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History of Neighborhood Congregational Church

Founded in 1943 in rooms above the Sandpiper on Pacific Coast Highway, Neighborhood Church grew from modest roots to the strong congregation it is today.  NCC is a congregational church and a United Church of Christ, in covenant with the UCC denomination and gladly granting every member within our church body an equal and independent voice in church decisions and ministry.  At Neighborhood Church you will find an Open and Affirming congregation that celebrates the uniqueness of each person.  

NCC's first church building was located in today’s Bridge Hall, used now primarily for fellowship, fun, concerts, and community events. A mechanized carillon installed in the 1970’s chimes on the hour and half hour with songs that change with the seasons. Downstairs from the sanctuary you’ll find our St. Francis Meditation Garden, reminiscent of a Zen monastery. In the sanctuary, our pianist offers beatiful music each week on a historic Mason and Hamlin piano, and on special occasions our pipe organ fills the air with sacred sounds.

NCC Community Leadership

These are people that hold special leadership positions within the church.

Reverend Rodrick Echols Pastor "Reverend (Rod)rick Echols is originally from Memphis, graduated from Brown University, and holds a Master of Divinity from Boston University. In his professional life, he has held development roles with several prominent institutions, including UC San Diego, Brown University, United Way, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His specialties include pastoral care, leadership development, communication, fundraising, and counseling. Reverend Rod has served in various capacities in a number of churches, including Youth Pastor, Interim Minister, and most recently Pastor of Congregational Development before joining us here at NCC! His faith is strong. He listens and communicates well. He is a quality preacher and brings a passion for social justice. He also seeks to provide space for young people to gather and connect. Rev. Rod is a young, spirited pastor who speaks from the heart."
Phil Garrison Church Moderator "I’ve lived in Laguna Beach and have been a member of NCC for 20 years. I worked as an engineer and manager in industry and the national labs for some 44 years in the areas of space exploration and energy research. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with the NCC leadership team to take our church to where it needs to be to serve the spiritual needs of our congregation and the community in this brave new world."
Jeff Amos Chair, NCC Trustees
Kristen Purll Office Manager "As a kid, I used to come to Sunday School here at NCC, becase it was fun! I attended Pilgrim Pines Summer Camp as a teen, and now I have the privilige to work for NCC! I help run the day to day operations of the Church Office, our Renters, aid the minisitres, and help the pubic. I hope you will find Neighborhood Church is a warm and welcoming place, and I look forward to helping in any way I can. !"
Pam Wicks Music Ministry Director "Pam has been the Music Director at NCC for almost nine years. She has been a musician her entire life and is grateful every day for her parents who gave her this gift - and made her practice! She loves her job and the openness and inclusiveness of NCC which allows for such creativity and eclecticism. Pam also leads a weekly chanting circle in the sanctuary, and organizes community concerts at NCC... and much more! She is thrilled to serve this wonderful church and share her musical gifts with all!"
Mary LaRusso Christian Education Director
Sharon Garrison In-Reach Ministry Director "I’ve lived in Laguna Beach and have been a member of NCC for 20 years. I grew up in Florida, and lived in several other states before arriving in California. Most of my work experience was in elementary education. I’d like to encourage us to get to know not only our different views on religion, but to know our members as people who have much in common with each other. Let’s share ideas for enjoyable activities that can help make that happen. "
Susan Brown Out-Reach Ministry Director "Neighborhood Congregational Church’s Outreach Program is continuously seeking ways to provide support to our local community the broader community and the world. Of particular focus is the interfaith community, to whom we extend our warm welcome! I see us all as one beautiful tapestry, one which is better together. We stand for equal justice for all, and provide for those in need. The JOY Committee, one of many groups that make up NCC’s Outreach Ministry, is made up of a diverse group of people who are dedicated to service around the globe. This is just a little bit of why I love our Church. I was first attracted to NCC for its openness and creative spirit. My initial involvement with the church was the creation of our Art Committee. I served as a consultant Chair for the beautification of our Church and facility grounds with a group of visionary individuals. I believe I was born gifted as an artist. I have been involved professionally in the fine arts for over four decades. One life changing experience in my long art adventure was that I attended a residency art conservation program in Florence, Italy and served as a member of the millennial restoration project of the Alter wall mural of Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel. I have worked in Laguna in my own studio restoring paintings for 18 years. It is a meditation art experience for me. Creativity and repair is a passion. Through the NCC Outreach Ministry, and in partnership with fellow NCC Family Member, Terrell Anansi, I have been able to further serve the Laguna Beach artist community with our most recent initiative, Collective 340. We mentor or combine creative individuals to explore the light of artistic expression of spirit. NCC provides Collective 340 with a beautiful venue space, known in our community as Bridge Hall, and the management structure to support expansion of the artist, dancer, singer, musician and/or poet. Collective 340 aims to help a variety of artists expand personally and professionally by providing an opportunity to work within a safe and nurturing collective experience, creating together."
Sharon McNair Worship Ministry Director "I have been a member of the Laguna Beach UCC church since 1963. when we first moved to Laguna it was the place where we met all our friends and became part of the Laguna Community. My career as a Geriatric Care Manager for the past thirty years has helped me to know and understand my community. I have come to understand the need for seniors to develop their spiritual life to help them cope with the problems that come with aging. They need to feel they have a community of friends that will help and support them spiritually mentally, and emotionally to go through the process of aging. NCC can provide that support with the Church philosophy of acceptance for all and the supportive membership that this church provides. I feel a part of a family with my church friends and cannot imagine not being a part of this great group of people. In my role as Worship Coordinator I work with the Worship Committee to provide the best, most thought provoking, and spiritually enlightening servicse. There are many talented and dynamic members of our church, I would like to encourage these members to become more involved with the Worship Service to enhance our experience in the Church Service."
Reverend Thomas Kugler Member "Thomas is a retired university teacher, chaplain, and parish minister. He has an ongoing practice in counseling and spiritual direction, and teaches qi gong and meditation."