What is the United Reformed Church?
The URC stands in the REFORMED tradition of Christian faith:
with the whole Christian church, the URC believes in one God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit;
finds the supreme authority for faith & conduct by the guidance of the Spirit in the Word of God in the Bible;
looks to be continually renewed & reformed in order to fulfil its mission of witness & service in the name of Jesus Christ;
practises both infant & believers’ baptism and celebrates the Lord’s Supper;
recognises the ministry of God's people by means of all the members serving in the world & throughout the church, in particular: ministers of word & sacrament, elders, lay preachers, church related community workers & workers from partner churches.
‘Being Christ’s people, transformed by the gospel, making a difference to the world.’
The URC is a union of:
the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales in 1972. It subsequently united with the Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000.
The central work of the URC is carried out through an annual council called the General Assembly.
There are about 700 representatives, being ministers and lay persons, who are mostly Elders. Decisions are taken on important matters to do with the life of the church, and committees are appointed to carry these out & deal with initiatives such as Vision4Life, transforming the URC by focusing & re- engaging on the Bible, prayer & evangelism, Vision2020,...Every 2 years, a Moderator of Assembly is elected, either lay or ordained, who then becomes the national representative of the URC.
The General Assembly of the URC is advised by a Mission Council, which aims to enable the URC:
- to proclaim the good news of the kingdom.
- to teach, baptise and nurture new believers.
- to respond to human need by loving service.
- to seek to transform the unjust structures of society.
- to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, to sustain and renew the life of the earth.
(5 marks of Mission)
Local URC churches are gathered into 13 Provincial/Regional Synods. Each Synod:
gives practical help to churches in legal & property matters.
discusses matters of faith & policy & links to Assembly.
fosters ecumenical relations & actions.
has a full time Moderator who is a minister with a pastoral & leadership ministry within the Province.
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 & Ireland, the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches, the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Council for World Mission.
The URC is committed to take further steps towards the unity of all God’s people.
It has declared itself a multi-cultural church, rejoicing in the gifts of members from across the world.