What is the “United Reformed Church”?

The creation of the United Reformed Church in 1972 formally merged the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales. The URC is a nonconformist Church. Put most simply, this means that we are not an ‘established’ Church, with a formal link to civil authority like, for example, the Church of England has.

The URC has a three-tier structure, which is open for everyone to participate in. Local churches have an Elders’ Meeting, in which the Ministers and Elders share pastoral and spiritual oversight and leadership, and a Church Meeting, where all members gather to seek God’s will and to discuss the life and work of the church. At a wider level, the URC has 13 Synods: the national Synods of Scotland and Wales plus eleven regional Synods across England. Each provides oversight of about 100 local churches and is led by a Synod Moderator. The General Assembly of the URC is its ultimate decision-making body. It meets every year to celebrate, discuss and make decisions about the life and work of the church.

The URC currently has around 47,000 members in about 1,300 congregations with more than 600 ministers. More than 60,000 people worship in our churches each week, and many more take part in the weekday activities of the churches.

For further information about the United Reformed Church please visit https://urc.org.uk/

Who will I find at Collinwood Road United Reformed Church?

At our weekly worship we have a diverse congregation with a wide range of ages, ethnicities and experiences. This diversity allows us to look at the bible and God’s plans for our Church from many different points of view. We work as a collective group to disentangle God’s will, and aim to mould our worship, community work and outreach to follow His call.

The Church building is also widely used during the week with aerobics classes, model railway clubs, friendship clubs and many more, using the premises.

It is important to note that we do not have a minister in post at Collinwood Road URC, so our worship is led by either members of the congregation or visiting ministers. However, if you need to speak to or get support from a minister our visiting ministers will be happy to help you or members of our congregation can put you in touch with a local minister who is a friend of the Church.

What do you believe at Collinwood Road URC?

Collinwood Road is not the kind of place where you’ll find people quoting proof texts at you, or saying ‘the Bible says’ when what they really mean is ‘I think’. Our roots are in the liberal tradition that knows that the Bible was not handed down on a platter from God, but is the result of hundreds of years of God’s people struggling to make sense of their lives and to hear what God has to say to them.

We are in no danger of sliding into fundamentalism, or even adopting a lazy approach of believing that the message of the Bible must be something easy and simple to hear. We know that sometimes it takes work to make sense of what the Bible authors are trying to say to us, and sometimes we have to listen carefully to put ourselves in their situation and understand what those words meant two or three thousand years ago, in a different place and a different time.

But if we know that the Bible speaks with varied voices and sometimes from a context which we find difficult to understand, we also believe that it speaks to us with authority, that it is the record of the experience of God’s people living with, arguing with, being puzzled by, being amazed by, that always surprising and always graceful God. We believe that through these words God is speaking to us.