European partners

As a Church of the Reformation which began in continental Europe, the URC has many links with pan-European churches and ecumenical bodies. It is a member of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) which includes Anglican, Lutheran, Orthodox and Reformed Churches. It is also a member of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE). The URC is the only church with a presence in England to be a member of the World Council of Reformed Churches.

In the wake of the EU referendum, the 2016 URC General Assembly passed a resolution celebrating our Reformed European heritage and identity, and promising to uphold our ongoing ecumenical relationships with partner European churches. If your church is actively involved in a link with a continental church please let ecumenical and inter faith relations at Church House have the details, by contacting Carole Sired. We would like to support and encourage you in this important ecumenical work.

Germany

For over 60 years the URC has had a Covenant of Pulpit and Table Fellowship with the Protestant Churches in the Palatinate region of Germany, the ‘Evangelische Kirche der Pfalz’. Around twenty local URC’s are twinned with partner German churches from the region. Regular exchanges and youth visits take place each year. There is a bi-annual theological consultation - the last one was in September 2018 and considered how the British and German churches can speak into an increasingly divided Europe. For Remembrance 2018, a unique British-German commemoration booklet was published entitled: One hundred years after the First World War: Looking back, looking forward, and the German and British churches share Advent and Lent resources. In November 2019, a group from the URC will pay a visit to the Palatinate to celebrate 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Keep up to date with the latest news, stories and pictures from this active partnership by clicking on the link for the newsletter (you can sign up to receive your own copy direct).

URC Palatinate Partnership newsletter archive

Italy

The relationship between the churches which formed the URC in 1972 and the Waldensian Church (Chiesa Valdese) in Italy, goes back to Reformation times – though the Waldensian ‘movement’ started in the 12th century. In 1655, Oliver Cromwell organised a collection to be made among English churches to give financial support, after the Waldensians had been attacked by the Savoy army, with John Milton writing his famous sonnet, On the Late Massacre in Piedmont, for the occasion; and there were close ties in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries between the Waldensians and the Presbyterian Church of England, including regular moderatorial visits to Italy.

Since 1984 the URC-Waldensian Fellowship has been encouraging ‘ordinary’ church members to meet, through organised visits in both directions, individual and church contacts, and the biennial ‘Gathering’, which has a speaker from Italy. In 2018 a URC group visited Calabria and Puglia and plans are underway for a trip to the historic Alpine Valleys in 2020.

The Waldensians, noted for their strong commitment to helping the oppressed, and to clear thinking on ecumenical, ethical and theological matters, have an excellent website in English here. Anyone interested in further information should contact Carole Sired.