Congregational Union of England and Wales

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The Congregational Union of England and Wales brought together churches in England and Wales in the Congregationalist tradition between 1831 and 1966.

The Congregationalist churches emerged from the Puritan movement, each church operating independently and autonomously. The movement grew with the Evangelical revival of the 18th century, and in urban areas following the Industrial Revolution. Despite their independence, many churches built links with each other, and several county unions of churches were formed.[1][2][3]

In 1831, the Congregational Union of England and Wales was established.[1] It had no authority over the affiliated churches, but instead aimed to advise and support them.[3] By 1901, it claimed 400,000 members and 2,806 ministers. That year, its chairman, Joseph Parker, proposed that the churches set aside their independence to become the "United Congregational Church", but the idea was rejected.[2]

The Congregational Union was based at Congregational Memorial Hall in London from 1875 to 1968.

In 1966, the organisation became the Congregational Church in England and Wales, a change which prompted a few churches to leave and form the Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches. In 1972, it merged with the Presbyterian Church of England, to form the United Reformed Church.[1] Those churches which did not wish to join the new body instead formed the Congregational Federation.[4]

Associated organisations[edit]

The London Missionary Society was the overseas mission arm of the Congregational churches.

Congregational ministers were trained at:[citation needed]

Dr Williams's Library now holds the collections of the Congregational Library and the former library of New College London.


  1. ^ a b c "Congregational Union/Church Archives". Congregational Library. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b Buisman, Jan Wim (2015). Episcopacy, Authority, and Gender. BRILL. pp. 153–154. ISBN 900430312X.
  3. ^ a b Cross, F. L. (2015). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 403. ISBN 0192802909.
  4. ^ "Introduction". The Congregational Federation. Retrieved 26 April 2014.