The Congregational Way
When described to people who are not churchgoers, they are amazed – that Christians can operate without hierarchies or elaborate ritual. ‘If all churches were like that’, they say, ‘I might go!’ By trusting God, and trusting the members whom God has called together in a covenant relationship, congregational Christians open the door to the power of God’s Spirit. The Bible describes the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and we expect to see these in action, through the members of the church.
This is true not just in the confines of church life.
- Congregationalists challenged the might of a corrupt State in the seventeenth century, and changed the face of the nation.
- Isaac Watts gave birth to modern hymnody in the eighteenth century, and the London Missionary Society carried the gospel around the world.
- In the nineteenth century, a congregational minister helped to overthrow slavery in Guyana, because he treated the slaves as people called by God, able to become church members as much as anyone else.
- Congregationalists were at the heart of political reform in Britain.
- A hundred years ago, a congregational church was the first of the mainstream churches to ordain a woman to its ministry.
- Around the millennium, Congregationalists played their part in placing diversity at the heart of the ecumenical movement in Britain and Ireland.
Today, congregational churches in Britain and around the world uphold the same principles. It is something to be proud of and it is hoped that this range of resources will enable you and others to get to know it better, and give you the confidence to share it!