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Congregational churches

Congregational churches. Those churches which assert the autonomy of the local congregation. Their historical roots are in Elizabethan Separatism, with its insistence that the ‘gathered church’ in any given locality consists of those who commit themselves to Christ and to one another. Its members believe in a covenant of loyalty and mutual edification, emphasizing the importance of discerning God's will whilst ‘gathered’ together in Church Meeting. In 1831–2 they gave wider geographical expression to their unity in the formation of the Congregational Union. Renamed the Congregational Church in England and Wales (1966), it joined with the Presbyterian Church of England in 1972 to form the United Reformed Church. Those churches which maintained that this union threatened their congregational principles joined either the newly formed Congregational Federation or the Fellowship of Evangelical Congregational Churches.

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