United Reformed Church (URC)

The United Reformed Church (URC) of Great Britain 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 Reformed Association of Churches of Christ in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000. There is an unconnected United Reformed Church in the USA which has its own page on this website. Click Here to go there.
The URC holds trinitarian views, but the church's theological roots are Calvinist, and its historical and organisational roots are in the Presbyterian (Reformed), Congregational, and Churches of Christ traditions. The URC is governed by a combined form of Presbyterian and Congregationalist policies. Each congregation (local church) within the URC is governed by a Church Meeting consisting of all the members, and also a council of the (elected) Elders' Meeting (similar to the presbyterian Kirk Session in the Church of Scotland.)

Several congregations organize at approximately the county level to form a district, each with a District Council (called Area Council in Scotland). Districts vary in size between 5 to 45 churches. The District Council offer oversight ('supervision') to the churches, leading in pastoral care and making decisions about where ministers serve and how churches share ministry. They normally meet 4 or 5 times a year and do much of their work through committees, such as the district pastoral committee and the district finance and property committee. District Councils were lead by a president but since 2007, this functions has been transferred to the Synod.

Several districts are grouped at regional level into a Synod, there being 11 of these for different Provinces of England; and one each for Nations of Scotland and Wales. The 13 Synods are served by a Moderator and often a training officer and other staff. Through the synod, the URC relates to other regional denominational structures (Anglican diocese and Methodist districts, for example). 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.


Links
United Reformed Church UK
United Reformed Church - Scotland
United Reformed Church USA
Bournemouth URC (a typical URC)