Many small denominations call themselves independent to show that they are not controlled by any of the major denominations. As these are 'proper' denominations and their use of the term 'independent' is to show their autonomous character, rather than their existance in isolation, they will not be handled here. This page is for clergy and/or their congregations that have for whatever reason decided to 'go it alone'. That is not to say they are in dispute with anyone, nor protesting about anything (although, of course, some have come into being because of this). They are serving the Lord in the way they have been 'called' to do so, rather like any other Christian. Congregational Churches are discussed on a different page as they are 'grouped together' by association.
Another term independent congregations and clergy use is
'non-denominational'. This can be a bit misleading if taken in
the 'narrow' sense, usually however, it is used to identify an
embracing of all Christian endeavour which is something that every
denomination seeks to do. Independent or non-denominational clergy and
congregations are no less Christian, nor of any less value, than
any other: only different. However, good advice always, is to
check the credentials of the independents like one would any
Some newcomers to Christianity find it easier to relate to
the independents. Anything that enables people to find Christ must be
good. The non-denominationals and independents have a varied, valuable
and important part to play in the spectrum of Christianity. Those
that criticise them only for their independent or self-reliant position
have entirely missed the point: Christ's earthly ministry was as an
itinerant. Similarly, although now a denomination, the Methodist church came about because of the Wesley's independent, itinerant stance.
Many 'non-denominational' or independent congregations have names like 'Gospel Hall' or 'Christian Fellowship'.
Independent bishops have existed since the beginning of Christendom and are called episcopi vagantes, " wandering bishops".
Many independent clergy, out of necessity are part-time and fund their
ministry by taking funerals and weddings and their independence gives a
freedom to incorporate elements into these services which may not be
available elsewhere. Many independents minister in hospitals, old folks
homes and colleges; their part-time nature means they have a good grasp
of the working world and in many respects function like chaplains. Most
independents and the 'liberal' denominations share similar theological
views. However, by their very nature the independents cannot easily be
numbered and because they cover the whole range of Christian belief
cannot be easily categorised either.
However, the following examples should give a flavour of the 'Independent sector'.
Examples of Independent or non-denominational clergy:
Rev Sadie Copsey, Suffolk England.
Rt Revd Phillip Hickman, Texas, USA
Rt Revd Charles Mugleston, Suffolk UK.
Examples of Independant or non-denominational churches and congregations:
The Well Chapel, Suffolk, UK
Bethel Christian Fellowship
Myrtle Gospel Hall
.Back to Directory of Denominations