Local ecumenical partnerships

The term Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEP) describes the situation where more than one Christian denomination is working together under a formal agreement. The URC is involved in around 400 LEPs; our most common partnerships are with the Methodist Church, the Baptists and the Church of England.

The Methodist Church is our closest ecumenical partner with whom we share in approximately 300 LEPs, 100 of which also comprise one or more additional ecumenical partners. There are 12 LEPs which include the Roman Catholic Church and a total of four united congregations, with the Moravian Church. We have eight LEPs with the Church of Scotland. In Wales, LEPs exist with the Church in Wales, the Methodists, the Baptists, the Presbyterian Church of Wales and the Union of Welsh Independents.

LEP documentation

LEP arrangements are necessarily individual to each setting and are established by means of formal documentation. This takes the form of a constitution or model governing document, and usually a sharing agreement, to take note of the original financial assets contributed by each denomination. In the URC, each individual synod oversees this detailed work and will generally nominate an ecumenical officer to help guide the process. There is a good deal of helpful guidance in terms of LEPs and associated documentation available on the Churches Together in England (CTE) website.

United areas

In several parts of the country we are involved in united areas. The ecumenical county of Cumbria is a good example of how this willingness to work in unity builds the mission of the Church. Cumbria’s vision of 'God for all' sets the challenge that by 2020 every person in Cumbria will have had an opportunity to discover more of God and God’s purpose for their life. URC Special Category Minister, the Revd Sarah Moore, serves as area president for Cumbria.