United and uniting churches

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from United Churches)
Jump to: navigation, search
For churches within the Unitarianism movement, see Unitarianism.
Lesslie Newbigin was a leader in the uniting churches movement, as a founding bishop of the Church of South India, and later a moderator of the United Reformed Church.

United and uniting churches are churches formed from the merger or other form of union of two or more different Protestant denominations.

Historically, unions of Protestant churches were enforced by the state, usually in order to have a stricter control over the religious sphere of its people, but also other organizational reasons. As modern Christian ecumenism progresses, unions between various Protestant traditions are becoming more and more common, resulting in a growing number of united and uniting churches. Some of the recent major examples are the United Protestant Church of France (2013) and the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (2004). As mainline Protestantism shrinks in Europe and North America due to the rise of secularism, Reformed and Lutheran denominations merge, often creating large nationwide denominations. The phenomenon is much less common among evangelical, nondenominational and charismatic churches as new ones arise and plenty of them remain independent of each other.

Perhaps the oldest official united church is found in Germany, where the Evangelical Church in Germany is a federation of Lutheran, United (Prussian Union) and Reformed churches, a union dating back to 1817. The first of the series of unions was at a synod in Idstein to form the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau in August 1817, commemorated in naming the church of Idstein Unionskirche one hundred years later.[1]

Around the world, each united or uniting church comprises a different mix of predecessor Protestant denominations. Trends are visible, however, as most united and uniting churches have one or more predecessors with heritage in the Reformed tradition (either Presbyterian, Congregationalist, or both) and many are members of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

Conciliar movement[edit]

In the 1950s and 1960s an ecumenical spirit emerged in many churches in the United States of America, leading to a conciliar movement known in some circles as Conciliarity. A product of this movement was the Consultation on Church Union (COCU). COCU disbanded formally in 2002 but moved into the Churches Uniting in Christ movement.

United and Uniting Churches around the world[edit]

See also[edit]