Temple Cowley United Reformed Church
Oxford Road, Cowley, OXFORD, OX4 2ES
. . . has now ceased
The 16th & 17 century Reformers wished to take meetings for worship ‘back to basics’,
stripping it of what they considered non-
This was part of their concern for religious freedom. People were to be freed from the obligation to recite creeds, cross themselves, kneel before priests and make visible outward profession of faith. A person’s relationship with God was unique to them; it was between them and God.
This desire to strip away outward religion was at least in part because religion had been used for political ends; these outward rituals had ceased to be innocent, and people had had “correct” confessions of faith wrung out of them by torture.
This freedom was also expressed in their abandoning of set prayer books, which many of them considered an imposition for political ends.
‘The basics’, for them, was the Bible. The primary purpose of the gathering was
to read the Bible and together -
Worship was ‘the people’s work’, not a performance for the people to watch, and so
congregational singing was an important part of worship from the early days. Hymns
are not simply praise songs -
Although times have changed -
In the URC generally we stand to sing, as a sign that this is the whole ‘people of
God’ offering its praise not just us. In some churches there is a point in the service
where everyone greets everyone else with a handshake -
This ‘sign of peace’ is particularly important before our (monthly) communion service. We have no ‘priest’ (‘gatekeeper’) to preside at the communion. The minister is not a priest. The gathered people, reconciled and at peace with one another, ‘are the priest’, so it’s important to ensure that all differences are resolved and the people are ‘in communion’ with one another before they seek communion with God.
Bread and wine is shared in URC communion service because we believe Jesus asked
us to do this to remember him. Week by week, its meaning for us can take on ever
new and different significance. All -
Services in the URC are led by ordained ministers and a variety of invited worship leaders from different Christian traditions. Services typically last between an hour and an hour and a quarter.
Though these can no longer be offered since the church is closed, there is a piece about naming ceremonies for children here on the ‘Contact’ page.