1. A faithful church

Discover over the next five pages a series of reflections on the United Reformed Church.

These are taken from http://www.urc.org.uk/what-is-the-urc.html

Statement of Nature, Faith and Order

The Statement begins by saying loud and clear that we are part of the
whole Christian Church, and we are glad to say that. We don’t believe
we are the only true Church or that we are the ones who have got it right
above all others. We’re part of the whole Church – we are not the whole
Church ourselves. Saying that alone makes us different from some other
Christian churches.
We also say that we believe the Christian faith as it is proclaimed by the
whole Church. Of course there are differences of opinion about some things
between different churches (and between different Christians!), but it remains
true to say that whatever our differences from some other Christians on some
secondary matters, we believe and proclaim in the United Reformed Church
the Christian faith, the faith that the Apostles proclaimed. We might have to
find new ways of saying it in our times, but it is very important to us that we
stand in faithful continuity with the whole Church.
This is what we mean when we say that we believe in one God; Father, Son
and Holy Spirit. In what we call the doctrine of the Trinity, we try to put into
words what cannot be adequately conveyed in language, the mystery and
wonder of God. You could describe the Trinity as one way of talking about
the Christian faith as a kind of story. From the creation of all things by God
who is the source of all that is made, to Jesus who was God’s Son and who
taught us all that God is our loving Father, to the hope and promise of the
Holy Spirit who is present and active in the world today and in the days to
come – in this story of our faith we believe that we have encountered and
still encounter the reality of God who reaches out to us in love. The Trinity
is also a beautiful way of expressing what Christians believe; that at the
very heart of the truth and reality of God is a loving, personal relationship,
– the three persons of Father, Son and Spirit are a picture of the perfect love
of God which reaches out towards us too and which invites us to join in.
We believe that the Trinity is the primary way Christians have been given
to talk about the mystery of God’s presence with us and purpose for us.
And this we share with the whole Church.

The second part of the Statement describes the important things about our
life together as Christian people. We believe that we are called to this life
by the Holy Spirit and that it is a joy and gift. ‘Calling’ is an important
word in our tradition, because we believe that God is not an abstract idea
or a distant force, but a living presence with whom we can enter into a
close relationship. We believe that God lovingly calls us, each one, into
the community of the church; that there’s something personal and very
special about this. But being a Christian is not only about this personal and
individual relationship. It is also about being part of God’s community in
the Church and none of us can live well apart from the community of faith.
We are like a vine which thrives on connection and which withers when cut.
We all benefit from the corporate life of the Church, as we hear the Bible
read and interpreted, as we receive God’s gifts to us through the sacraments
(of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) and as we share life together. This means
that being a Christian in the United Reformed Church will involve being
part of a local church where these things can happen and where we can learn
from other Christians and help one another grow in faith and understanding.
Notice that this part of the Statement says nothing about the necessity for
there to be bishops, priests or even ministers! The Church benefits greatly
from being well led by our ministers (servants of the Church!), but their role
is to enable the Church to be what it needs to be. Notice too the simplicity
of this section – the Church needs just a few things to ’be church’. This is an
important witness of our tradition.

from http://www.urc.org.uk/what-is-the-urc.html