‘God’s never ending story’
50th Anniversary of the United Reformed Church
What makes the United Reformed Church distinct from other Christian denominations?
50 years ago, the formation of the United Reformed Church challenged the established order of Church structure. No longer a denomination of Congregationalists and also Presbyterians, but a belief founded on discerning Gods Spirit, through listening to one another, to be a visible sign of unity across the nations.
As a teenager who had been brought up in the Salvation Army, I can remember my family conversation, stating it was a ‘bold move’, and asking the question ‘how long I wonder will this unity last’? Now I find myself preaching to rejoice in the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the United Reformed Church. So what has kept the denomination so focused for the last five decades?
I believe the United Reformed Church has a Statement that encapsulates the reason why; in fact it is the underlying root of our denomination. We are a denomination that welcomes all, that speaks in the corridors of legislature, and encourages us all on a journey of faith, regardless of past memberships and affiliations to other church structures. We are a broad church, a church that hears the Spirit, which walks with Jesus, but most importantly through our conciliar structure discerns our path of discipleship.
The Nature, Faith and Order of the United Reformed Church, found at No 761 in Rejoice and Sing, reworded by Revd Alan Gaunt, is a gift given to us as members of the URC, that helps us to understand why we belong to such a denomination .
The statement is in three parts.
The Nature of the URC – helps us understand that we are a Christian denomination, acknowledging one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and we have two sacraments, Baptism and Communion. It acknowledges that through believing in our triune God, we must respond to how God calls us to develop discipleship.
The Faith of the URC–, recognising that the URC is made up from different traditions, and through our elements of Church practice, we have a commitment to develop and nurture our faith, a commitment to human rights, to be aware of environmental change, and to practise and uphold inclusivity within Church and society; faith alive and active.
The Order of the URC– We are ecumenical, worshipping, working and praying together for the visible unity of the Church.
The United Reformed Church, a dissenting denomination, sometimes uses a (Latin) phrase ‘Semper Reformanda’, ‘The church reformed , always being reformed.‘
The never ending story of the URC lives on, for we are committed to change as the Spirit blows, it is our destiny, it is our calling.
Revd Ruth Dillon