United Reformed Church: Wikis

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United Reformed Church
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Classification Protestant,
Reformed
Orientation Calvinist
Polity Presbyterian,
Congregationalist
Associations World Council of Churches,
World Alliance of Reformed Churches,
Council for World Mission,
Conference of European Churches,
Community of Protestant Churches in Europe,
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland,
Churches Together in England,
Action of Churches Together in Scotland,
Cytûn,
Christian Aid,
World Development Movement
Geographical areas Great Britain
Origin 1972
Merge of The URC is the result of a union between the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales in 1972 and subsequent unions with the Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000.
Congregations 1600
Members 75,000
An unrelated American church of similar name is the United Reformed Churches in North America.

The United Reformed Church (URC) is a Christian church in Great Britain that resulted from a union of the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales in 1972.[1] It subsequently united with the Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ in 1981[2] and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000.[3] The United Reformed Church has approximately 75,000 members in 1,600 congregations.[citation needed]

Contents

Belief

The URC is a trinitarian church whose theological roots are Calvinist and whose historical and organisational roots are in the Presbyterian (Reformed), Congregational and Churches of Christ traditions. Its Basis of Union contains ‘A statement concerning the nature, faith and order of the United Reformed Church’[4]

Polity

The URC is governed by a combined form of presbyterian polity and congregationalist polity.

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Congregation

Each congregation (local church) within the URC is governed by a Church Meeting consisting of all the members which is the ultimate decision-making body in a congregation. There is also an Elders' Meeting (similar to the presbyterian Kirk Session in the Church of Scotland) which advises the Church Meeting and shares with the Minister the spiritual and pastoral oversight of the church. Elders are normally elected to serve, often for a specific period of time.

Synod

At a regional level, representatives of the congregations assemble in a synod. There are 11 English synods, each roughly corresponding to a region of England, and one each for Nations of Scotland and Wales. These 13 synods are each served by a moderator. The synod and its committees provide oversight within the framework of presbyterian polity, giving pastoral care and making important decisions about where ministers serve and how churches share ministry. Through the synods, the URC relates to other Christian denominational structures such as Anglican dioceses. Synods now usually hold the property in trust and many key financial decisions are made here. Synods also have committee structure and employ staff to encourage and serve local churches.

General Assembly

The General Assembly of the United Reformed Church meeting in Manchester, July 2007
Make Poverty History banner in front of St Columba's URC, Oxford

The URC has a General Assembly (with its Moderator) which gathers representatives of the whole of the URC to meet biennially. Advised by the Mission Council, the General Assembly plans the activity of the URC across Great Britain. It makes key policy decisions about the direction of the life of the denomination. It also appoints central (that is, Britain-wide) staff, receives reports from national committees, and deals with large reports and initiatives such as Vision4Life [5]. The synods are represented along with the convenors of the Assembly's standing committees.

Ecumenism

The URC is a member of many ecumenical organisations including Churches Together in England,Cytun (Churches Together in Wales), the Enfys covenant, Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches, the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Council for World Mission.

FURY: Fellowship of United Reformed Youth

FURY (Fellowship of United Reformed Youth) is an organisation of young people in the URC between the ages of 11 and 26.

Logos used by the United Reformed Church

See also

References

  1. ^ The United Reformed Church Act 1972 (a local act) at section 2 provides that ‘“United Reformed Church” means the church or denomination which on its formation is to be described and known as the United Reformed Church (Congregational-Presbyterian) in England and Wales, or as the United Reformed Church (Congregational-Presbyterian) or as the United Reformed Church’ (bold type added).
  2. ^ Section 2 of the United Reformed Church Act 1981 mentions ‘the church thenceforth to be known as the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom’ (bold type added).
  3. ^ The 2008 Year Book published by the URC explains that this formation as ‘United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom’ gave way after the 2000 union, now known simply as the ‘United Reformed Church’, as defined in the United Reformed Church Act 2000. In any case, the URC does not organize in Northern Ireland, a fact recognized in URC (2004) A Gift Box (ISBN 0-85346-222-4); but it does have congregations in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, both outwith the United Kingdom.
  4. ^ The Basis of Union. United Reformed Church website
  5. ^ Vision4Life

External links

Polity information

Organizations for young people

Internal groupings

Continuing churches that did not unite organically with the URC


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