Who are we?

When we talk to people about ‘the church on the corner’ we find that they aren’t sure what it is.

 What kind of church is it?   

 It doesn’t have a tower or a steeple.  There’s no graveyard or entrance gate.   It does have a thing on the top which could be for a bell but isn’t big enough.    It does have a door which is usually shut. 

What happens in there?

The best way to answer that is to invite you to explore this website.

What is a United Reformed Church? 

That requires a long and academic answer which I cannot give.  We have a document called ‘Basis for Union’  giving the details.  But just in case you think that this article tells you nothing, let me attempt an answer.     

          

We are not a ‘cult’ to be avoided.  We are one of the main-stream denominations who are represented at national and international discussions and events, along with Methodists and Baptists.  Indeed we are very similar to Methodists and Baptists in many ways and when Methodists or Baptists come to our services they feel at home among the similarities.  Presbyterians and Congregationalists would not be surprised at how similar we are to their ways because many of us are Presbyterians or Congregationalists.   We are called ‘United’ because we are a union of those two denominations.  Later we united with the Churches of Christ and the Congregational Union in Scotland.  In each case some of the original churches avoided the union by becoming independent.

 

All four denominations have several things in common.  One of them is that we believe what the Reformers believed 400 years ago.  They believed that God is the centre of their faith and that all things stem from Him.  Our understanding of ourselves comes as we get to know God through the Bible.  Everything we do should be based on what God requires from us, but we cannot maintain that high standard by ourselves so we need God’s Holy Spirit to help us.   Forgiveness for our sins comes from Him through Jesus.   We can be saved from the consequences of our sins because God sent Jesus.  Our faith in God is not the result of our efforts but a gift from God.  Jesus is important to us, as I explained in the article about Him.   He and the Holy Spirit are part of the Trinity of God.

John Calvin, a reformer
John Calvin, a reformer

 

Jacky Embrey is our Moderator

Reformers would not agree to be ruled by any national or international leader.  Even now each church likes to make their own decisions although we do accept guidance and help from our leaders.  Instead of the hierarchy that some churches have, our denomination has two groups that help and guide us.  The area group is called a Synod and the national group is called an Assembly.  They discuss important issues that help us to make decisions and guide the denomination as a whole.   Synods are chaired by Moderators whose role is mainly administrative and pastoral.  Assembly Moderators represent us at national and international levels.  We receive no financial help from the state or any other organisation.


 

Because each church is responsible for its own decisions, the Church Meeting is second in importance only to the weekly services.  In them we ask God to guide us as we discuss our progress and plans.   Another feature which a visitor may find unusual is our Communion service.  Anglicans and Catholics go towards the altar for communion,  Methodists go to the Communion Rail and kneel.  We stay in our seats and wait for the bread and wine to be brought to us.  This enables us all to drink and eat at the same time, a symbol of unity and equality.

unity and equality

We are a United Church and we follow the Reformed tradition.  We are friendly and informal.  

Now that you know a little more about us you know that it is safe to walk through the open door.  

Oh, and no, there is no bell in the ventilator on the roof!