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An unrelated American church of similar name is the United Reformed Churches in North America.
The United Reformed Church (URC) is a Christian church in Great Britain. The URC 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 Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000. The United Reformed Church has approximately 75,000 members and 1600 congregations. The United Reformed Church publishes Reform magazine and operates the URC bookshop.


The URC is a trinitarian church whose theological roots are Calvinist and whose historical and organisational roots are in the Presbyterian (Reformed), Congregational, and Churches of Christ traditions. In its Basis of Union, there is a short document ‘A statement concerning the nature, faith and order of the United Reformed Church’, which succinctly puts forward the church’s belief


The URC is governed by a combined form of presbyterian polity and congregationalist polity.


Each congregation (local church) within the URC is governed by a Church Meeting consisting of all the members which is the ultimate decision-making body in a congregation. There is also an Elders' Meeting (similar to the presbyterian Kirk Session in the Church of Scotlandmarker) which advises the Church Meeting and shares with the Minister the spiritual and pastoral oversight of the church. Elders are normally elected to serve, often for a specific period of time.


At a regional level, representatives of the congregations assemble in a synod. There are 11 English synods, each roughly corresponding to a region of England, and one each for Nations of Scotlandmarker and Walesmarker. These 13 synods are each served by a moderator. The synod and its committees provide oversight within the framework of presbyterian polity, giving pastoral care and making important decisions about where ministers serve and how churches share ministry. Through the synods, the URC relates to other Christian denominational structures such as Anglican dioceses. 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.

General Assembly

The General Assembly of the United Reformed Church meeting in Manchester, July 2007.
The URC has a General Assembly (with its Moderator) which gathers representatives of the whole of the URC to meet biennially. Advised by the Mission Council, the General Assembly plans the activity of the URC across Great Britain. It makes key policy decisions about the direction of the life of the denomination. It also appoints central (that is, Britain-wide) staff, receives reports from national committees, and deals with large reports and initiatives such as Vision4Life . The synods are represented along with the convenors of the Assembly's standing committees.


The URC is a member of many ecumenical organizations, reflecting the church's strong commitment to Christian unity, including, Churches Together in England,Cytun (Churches Together in Wales), the Enfys covenant, Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

The URC is also a member of many international ecumenical organisations, including the World Council of Churchesmarker, the Conference of European Churches, the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Council for World Mission. It has a partnership with Christian Aid and the World Development Movement, called Commitment for Life.

FURY: Fellowship of United Reformed Youth

FURY (Fellowship of United Reformed Youth) is an organisation of young people in the URC between the ages of 11 and 26.

Any young person, involved in any way with the United Reformed Church is automatically a member of FURY and can attend any of its events, such as FURY Assembly and FURY Forum.

FURY Executive and Advisory Board, elected by and composed of young people, are responsible for the administration of FURY and all related events and services offered by FURY.

The organisation's mission is : "to discover God, to help each other grow in the Christian faith and, through our lives, reflect God's love to all."

See also

External links

Polity information

Organizations for young people

Internal groupings

Continuing churches that did not unite organically with the URC


  1. The United Reformed Church Act 1972 (a local act) at section 2 provides that ‘“United Reformed Church” means the church or denomination which on its formation is to be described and known as the United Reformed Church (Congregational-Presbyterian) in England and Wales, or as the United Reformed Church (Congregational-Presbyterian) or as the United Reformed Church’ (bold type added).
  2. Section 2 of the United Reformed Church Act 1981 mentions ‘the church thenceforth to be known as the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom’ (bold type added).
  3. The 2008 Year Book published by the URC explains that this formation as ‘United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom’ gave way after the 2000 union, now known simply as the ‘United Reformed Church’, as defined in the United Reformed Church Act 2000. In any case, the URC does not organize in Northern Ireland, a fact recognized in URC (2004) A Gift Box (ISBN 0-85346-222-4); but it does have congregations in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, both outwith the United Kingdom.
  4. URC Bookshop
  5. The Basis of Union. United Reformed Church website
  6. Vision4Life

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