What is the URC?
Called to be God’s people, transformed by the Gospel, making a difference in today’s world.
This is the United Reformed Church.
Although one of the smaller mainstream denominations, the United Reformed Church plays a dynamic and challenging part in the British Christian community. It has brought together English Presbyterians, English, Welsh and Scottish Congregationalists, and members of the Churches of Christ, through unions in 1972, 1981 and 2000. Sixty-eight thousand people make up 1500 congregations, with nearly 700 ministers, paid and unpaid.
The United Reformed Church is part of the World Communion of Reformed Churches
, to which more than 70 million Christians belong. Together, we uphold the historic Trinitarian creeds of the church universal and find the supreme authority for our lives in the Word of God in the Bible, discerned under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The United Reformed Church combines its commitment to the Reformed tradition with a passionate belief that all God’s people should be one. It seeks to work with Christians of all traditions, and rejoices in being part of more than 400 Local Ecumenical Partnerships, with Methodist, Anglican and Baptist Churches and others. It is also committed to theological and cultural diversity. It has declared itself a multi-cultural church, rejoicing in the gifts of members from across the world and seeks to hold together a wide variety of theological understandings; the valuing of different insights helps the church understand the wonder of God.
Despite its recent inception, the roots of the United Reformed Church go back to the 16th century and the Reformation. The origins of the Presbyterian Church of England may be found in John Knox and John Calvin, whilst the Congregational Church goes back to Robert Browne and other 16th - 17th century Independents. The first ever Congregational Church is said to have been formed by Robert Browne in Norwich in 1580-1581.
In Norfolk there are a number of United Reformed churches which date back to the early years of non-conformity although their buildings may have changed. For example, Fairland United Reformed Church in Wymondham was founded in1652 and Mattishall United Reformed Church in 1650 (current building erected 1857). Other Norfolk United Reformed Churches were developed later, for example, Princes Street in Norwich began in 1819 and Ipswich Road, Norwich in 1952 (originally as a daughter church to Princes Street).
Members of the Congregational Church and the Presbyterian Church of England exerted a strong influence on the development of provincial universities, libraries and art galleries and in establishing and administering commercial businesses. For example, the Colman and Boardman families worshipped in Princes Street Church in the late 19th century.
We believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
We find the supreme authority for faith and conduct, by the guidance of the Spirit, in the Word of God in the Bible;
We look to be continually renewed and reformed so as to fulfil our mission of witness and service in the name of Jesus Christ;
We practice both infant and believer's baptism and celebrate the Lord's Supper;
We recognise the ministry of all God's people: all the members serving in the world and through the church - as ministers of Word and Sacrament, elders, church related community workers, local leaders, lay preachers, and worship leaders;
We remain committed to working for unity among the churches.
The United Reformed Church structure expresses its faith in the ministry of all God's people through the structure of democratic Councils (at National, Synod and local Church levels) by which the Church is governed.
We rejoice in the diversity of the Spirit's gifts and uphold the rights of personal conviction. We commit ourselves to speak the truth in love and grow together in the peace of Christ.