The UCC has no mandatory doctrinal statement or required creed. The Bible is an essential point of reference, but it is not viewed as a perfect moral rulebook. Each congregation governs its own affairs. All ordained ministers must hold bachelor’s and Master of Divinity degrees and must meet other professional and religious standards. There are no bishops or officials who control the deployment of clergy. Before the 1957 merger which formed the UCC, the Wheat Ridge Congregation was a member of the Congregational denomination. The Congregationalists first appeared in England during the 1500s. They were persecuted harshly by the Church of England because they rejected the authority of bishops or other church hierarchy. They fled first to Holland and then to America, settling mainly in New England as “the Pilgrims.” From the beginning the Congregationalists had a love of learning and founded colleges such as Harvard and Yale.