WHO WE ARE
We are a gathered congregation drawing its membership, and others counted as part of its church family, from across Fleetwood, Thornton-Cleveleys and Blackpool. At a time when churches nationally are losing numbers and closing, Fleetwood United Reformed Church is adding to its numbers year on year. As indicated elsewhere – see Brief History – Fleetwood has now a members’ roll number equal to that of a generation or more ago.
Though the date of formation of the Fleetwood church is 1841 there had been meetings of Independents-Congregationalists earlier than that. The church meeting voted in 1973 to join the United Reformed Church, which itself came into being in 1972. The Fleetwood church is shaped by the values of its Independent-Congregational principles.
The present church building dates from 1938. The church is at the junction of Agnew Road and Shakespeare Road and is well-signposted on both The Esplanade and Poulton Road.
Fleetwood United Reformed Church, one of 12 churches in the town – 3 Church of England, 3 Roman Catholic, 2 Methodist, 1 Baptist, 1 Free Church of England, 1 – Evangelical, 1 United Reformed – is a member of Fleetwood Churches Together. (Two lay members of the Fleetwood church have been the chairman of Fleetwood Churches Together.) The elders and church meeting of Fleetwood United Reformed Church regularly revisits the possibility of inter-church initiatives.
WHAT WE DO
In true Reformed tradition an open Bible is placed before the congregation. It is a simple reminder that our authority is God’s Word revealed to us in Scripture open before us and that our knowledge is incomplete. Our principal purpose is to worship God as followers of Jesus Christ. We do this through public worship primarily on a Sunday morning. The worship style enjoyed by the congregation has been described as traditional with a worship experience testified to as providing:
- a feeling of God’s presence;
- growth in understanding of God;
- inspiration; and,
- awe and mystery.
On the first and third Sundays of each month the Sacrament of Holy Communion is celebrated. And, usually on the second Sunday in a month, the emphasis is on Family worship. It is a time when the adult worshippers are joined by the youngsters who attend the Sunday school and members of the very successful 16th Fleetwood Scout Group, together with mums, dads and grandparents. Recognising that there are some people who may in the week meet others only infrequently, and equally that others just like to meet and chat, on the second, fourth, and where there is one the fifth, Sundays in each month after morning worship the whole church family meets for refreshments, an opportunity to purchase FAIRTRADE goods and shop in the church shop.
We nurture and support each other in Faith and give support through practical pastoral care. The nurturing and support extends beyond the immediate church family and out into the community. This nurturing and support is achieved through:
- The meetings of the Women’s Guild of Christian Service & Friendship Circle.
- The Fellowship Group
- The oversight provided by the elders
- The regular occasions like coffee mornings, church meals, days out
- The loving care and interest each in the church family takes in others who are part that family
- The families who make Fleetwood United Reformed Church the church of choice for weddings, baptisms and funerals.
Within a ministry of all people, the skills, gifts and talents of each member of the church family are valued and utilised and released. This ministry is exhibited in sharing in worship by leading prayer time, reading the scriptures, providing inputs by voice and instrumental. Further, there is an active worship group the members of which prepare and lead morning worship.
The ministry of all people includes the church’s children and young people. There has been over 170 years of Sunday school work which continues to today on a Sunday morning. The church had one of the first Scout Groups and Guide Companies in the town. Scouting continues through the 16th Fleetwood Scout Group meeting on Mondays. Sadly, after more than 70 years the Guide Company closed because of a lack of adult leadership.
The United Reformed Church stands in the REFORMED tradition of Christian Faith:
- Believes in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
- Finds the supreme authority for faith and conduct by the guidance of the Spirit in the Word of God in the Bible;
- Looks to be continually renewed and reformed so as to fulfill its mission of witness and service in the name of Jesus Christ;
- Practices both infant and believer’s baptism and celebrates the Lord’s Supper;
- Recognises the ministry of all God’s people: all the members serving in the world and through the church, in particular ministers of Word and Sacrament, elders, church related community workers, local leaders, lay preachers, and worship leaders;
- Remains committed to working for unity among the churches.
Called to be God’s people, transformed by the Gospel, making a difference in today’s world. This is the United Reformed Church.
Although one of the smaller mainstream denominations, the United Reformed Church plays a dynamic and challenging part in the British Christian community. It has brought together English Presbyterians, English, Welsh and Scottish Congregationalists, and members of the Churches of Christ, through unions in 1972, 1981 and 2000. One hundred thousand people make up 1600 congregations, with nearly 800 ministers, paid and unpaid.
The United Reformed Church combines its commitment to the Reformed tradition with a passionate belief that all God’s people should be one. It seeks to work with Christians of all traditions, and rejoices in being part of more than 400 Local Ecumenical Partnerships, with the Methodist Church and others. It is also committed to theological and cultural diversity. It has declared itself a multi-cultural church, rejoicing in the gifts of members from across the world and seeks to hold together a wide variety of theological understandings; the valuing of different insights helps the church understand the wonder of God.
Worldwide, more than 70 million Christians are members of the Reformed family of churches. They uphold the historic Trinitarian creeds of the church universal and find the supreme authority for their lives in the Word of God in the Bible, discerned under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They order their lives through councils of the church, where ministers and lay people together seek the mind of Christ.
Each local church:
- Welcomes all people
- Arranges its own worship, witness and service
- Celebrates the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
- Has regular church meetings of members and an elected body of ordained elders who, with the minister, share pastoral and leadership responsibilities
- Seeks to develop ecumenical relationships.
NORTH WESTERN SYNOD, LANCASHIRE AREA CHURCHES
- Oversees pastoral care and support for its churches;
- Conducts ordinations and inductions of ministers and workers from partner churches overseas
- Consults with every local church regularly about its mission
- Provides a link between the local church, synod and General Assembly
Bolton le Sands
Cottam Trinity Church LEP (Preston)
Darwen Bolton Road
Longridge Christ Church
Morecambe Christ Church
Morecambe Sefton Road
Newton in Bowland
Poulton le Fylde
Ragged School (Blackburn)
St Anne’s on Sea
St George’s (Blackpool)
Trinity Lower Darwen
- Gives practical help to churches in legal and property matters
- Encourages recruitment and training of ministers and lay people
- Discusses matters of faith and policy and links to the General Assembly
- Fosters ecumenical relations and action
- Has a full-time Moderator, who is a minister with a pastoral and leadership ministry.
The North Western synod of Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester has 141 churches situated in every kind of community context: city and town centres, inner city, surburban, medium town sized, village and rural area. Our churches are grouped, more or less formally, into approximately 100 pastorates.
Consists of over 600 representatives, mainly appointed by area councils. Half the members are lay people, mostly elders, and half are ministers.
Decisions are taken about all aspects of the life and mission of the church,and comittees are appiointed to implement these programmes.
A Moderator of General Assembly is elected, either ordained or lay, who becomes the leading representative of the United Reformed Church.
The General Assembly is advised by a MISSION COUNCIL which aims to enable the United Reformed Church:
- To be growing communities of faith, worship and mission;
- To grow in unity and fellowship with all Christians;
- To participate in the world Church for growing witness to Christ;
- To act by faith to promote the growth of justice and peace for the whole of God’s creation.