Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches; Congregationalism) are Protestant churches in the Reformed tradition practicing congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs.
Congregationalism, as defined by the Pew Research Center, is estimated to represent 0.5 per cent of the worldwide Protestant population; though their polity-related customs and other ideas influenced significant parts of Protestantism, as well as other Christian congregations. The report defines it very narrowly, encompassing mainly denominations in the United States and the United Kingdom, which can trace their history back to nonconforming Protestants, Puritans, Separatists, Independents, English religious groups coming out of the English Civil War, and other English dissenters not satisfied with the degree to which the Church of England had been reformed.
Congregationalist tradition has a presence in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and various island nations in the Pacific region. It has been introduced either by immigrant dissenter Protestants or by missionary organization such as the London Missionary Society. A number of evangelical Congregational churches are members of the World Evangelical Congregational Fellowship.
In the United Kingdom, many Congregational churches claim their descent from Protestant denominations formed on a theory of union published by the theologian and English separatist Robert Browne in 1582. Ideas of nonconforming Protestants during the Puritan Reformation of the Church of England laid foundation for these churches. In England, the early Congregationalists were called Separatists or Independents to distinguish them from the similarly Calvinistic Presbyterians, whose churches embrace a polity based on the governance of elders. Congregationalists also differed with the Reformed churches using episcopalian church governance, which is usually led by a bishop.
Congregationalism in the United States traces its origins to the Puritans of New England, who wrote the Cambridge Platform of 1648 to describe the autonomy of the church and its association with others. Within the United States, the model of Congregational churches was carried by migrating settlers from New England into New York, then into the Old North West, and further. With their insistence on independent local bodies, they became important in many social reform movements, including abolitionism, temperance, and women's suffrage. Modern Congregationalism in the United States is largely split into three bodies: the United Church of Christ, the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, which is the most theologically conservative.
Congregationalists believe their model of church governance fulfills the description of the early church and allows people the most direct relationship with God.
Congregationalism is more easily identified as a movement than a single denomination, given its distinguishing commitment to the complete autonomy of the local congregation. The idea that each distinct congregation fully constitutes the visible Body of the church can, however, be traced to John Wycliffe and the Lollard movement, which followed Wycliffe's removal from teaching authority in the Roman Catholic Church.
The early Congregationalists shared with Anabaptist theology the ideal of a pure church. They believed the adult conversion experience was necessary for an individual to become a full member in the church, unlike other Reformed churches. As such, the Congregationalists were a reciprocal influence on the Baptists. They differed in counting the children of believers in some sense members of the church. On the other hand, the Baptists required each member to experience conversion, followed by baptism.
King Henry VIII made himself Supreme Head of the Church without allowing a change in doctrine or liturgy during his lifetime. He was not excommunicated but broke with Rome to legitimize his marriage to Anne Boleyn in 1533 after trying unsuccessfully to have his marriage with his wife, Catherine of Aragon annulled. Henry forced Parliament to approve the Act of Supremacy in 1534 which made him "the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England". The title was changed to Supreme Governor (in all matters temporal) of the Church of England in 1559. still in effect. The Church of England ceased to be subject to the Church of Rome. However, it continued as before with the same episcopal ecclesiastical structure, Canon Law, and Apostolic Succession. It saw itself as the continuing Church in England without break. However its worship life was changed." The whole story of the later English Reformation which produced the Church of England is a tale of retreat from the Protestant advance of 1550..." Pope Saint Pius V regretfully excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I.
From the beginning of her reign a small but vocal party of radical Reformers mostly Calvinists who represented less than 10% of the population pressed for the abolition of episcopacy - the 3-fold order of bishop priest and deacon - church music, the old canon law and liturgical and doctrinal practices they regarded as hangovers from Catholicism. They got nowhere. The persistence of the government's religious program, demographics and time had defeated them: England 80% Catholic in 1558 with a Catholic clergy evolved under Elizabeth. By 1600 the country was 20% Catholic, 70% Protestant C of E, 10% Radicals. The great majority of Catholics had gone over to the Settlement as the Catholic-trained clergy ministered to them often in the early years "with the vestments and movements of the old mass," Christopher Haigh, English Reformations p. 289, and were slowly replaced over four decades by new clergy weaned on the Prayer Book. Frustrated at these leftovers from an earlier Age and suppressed and outmaneuvered by Elizabeth and the canon lawyers the dissenters were unable to advance their design to 'purify' the Church of England. They tried to take over parish churches as they were able or set up alternative places of worship. Few were as yet Separatists ready to make a break with the Church of England until the reigns of the early Stuarts, James I 1603-25 and Charles I 1625-40.
Robert Browne (1550–1633), Henry Barrow (c. 1550–1593), John Greenwood (died 1593), John Penry (1559–1593), William Brewster (c. 1566–1644), Thomas Jollie (1629–1703) and John Robinson (1576–1625) were notable people who established dissenting churches separate from the Church of England.
The underground churches in England and exiles from Holland provided about 35 out of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower, which sailed from London in July 1620. They became known in history as the Pilgrim Fathers. The early Congregationalists sought to separate themselves from the Anglican church in every possible way and even eschewed having church buildings. They met in homes for many years.
In 1639 William Wroth, then Rector of the parish church at Llanvaches in Monmouthshire, established the first Independent Church in Wales "according to the New England pattern", i.e. Congregational. The Tabernacle United Reformed Church at Llanvaches survives to this day.
During the English Civil War, those who supported the Parliamentary cause were invited by Parliament to discuss religious matters. The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) was officially claimed to be the statement of faith for both the Church of England (Anglican/Episcopal) and Church of Scotland (Presbyterian), which was politically expedient for those in the Presbyterian dominated English Parliament who approved of the Solemn League and Covenant (1643).
After the Second Civil War, the New Model Army which was dominated by Congregationalists (or Independents) seized control of the parliament with Pride's purge (1648), arranged for the trial and execution of King Charles I in January 1649 and subsequently introduced a republican Commonwealth dominated by Independents such as Oliver Cromwell. This government lasted until 1660 when the monarch was restored and Episcopalism was re-established (see the Penal Laws and Great Ejection). In 1662 two years after the Restoration of the Monarchy 2000 Independent, Presbyterian and congregational ministers were evicted from their parishes as dissenters and not being in Holy Orders conferred by bishops. In 1658 (during the interregnum) the Congregationalists created their own version of the Westminster Confession, called the Savoy Declaration, which remains the principal subordinate standard of Congregationalism.
A summary of Congregationalism in Scotland see the paper presented to a joint meeting of the ministers of the United Reformed Church [Scottish Synod] and the Congregational Federation in Scotland by Rev'd A Paterson is available online.
The two foundational tenets of Congregationalism are sola scriptura and the priesthood of believers. According to Congregationalist minister Charles Edward Jefferson, the priesthood of believers means that "Every believer is a priest and ... every seeking child of God is given directly wisdom, guidance, power." This belief leads Congregationalist Christians to embrace Congregationalist polity, which holds that the members of a local church have the right to decide their church's forms of worship, confessional statements, choose their own officers, and administer their own affairs without any outside interference.
The mission to Argentina was the second foreign field tended by German Congregationalists. The work in South America began in 1921 when four Argentine churches urgently requested that denominational recognition be given to George Geier, who was serving them. The Illinois Conference licensed Geier, who worked among Germans from Russia who were very similar to their kin in the United States and in Canada. The South American Germans from Russia had learned about Congregationalism in letters from relatives in the United States. In 1924 general missionary John Hoelzer, while in Argentina for a brief visit, organised six churches.
In 1977, most congregations of the Congregational Union of Australia merged with all Churches of the Methodist Church of Australasia and a majority of Churches of the Presbyterian Church of Australia to form the Uniting Church in Australia.
Those congregations that did not join the Uniting Church formed the Fellowship of Congregational Churches or continued as Presbyterians. Some more ecumenically minded Congregationalists left the Fellowship of Congregational Churches in 1995 and formed the Congregational Federation of Australia.
Congregationalists (called "Evangelicals" in Bulgaria; the word "Protestant" is not used) were among the first Protestant missionaries to the Ottoman Empire and to the Northwestern part of the European Ottoman Empire which is now Bulgaria, where their work to convert these Orthodox Christians was unhampered by the death penalty imposed by the Ottomans on Muslim converts to Christianity. These missionaries were significant contributors to the Bulgarian National Revival movement. Today, Protestantism in Bulgaria represents the third largest religious group, behind Orthodox and Muslim. Missionaries from the United States first arrived in 1857–58, sent to Istanbul by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). The ABCFM was proposed in 1810 by the Congregationalist graduates of Williams College, MA, and was chartered in 1812 to support missions by Congregationalists, Presbyterian (1812–1870), Dutch-Reformed (1819–1857) and other denominational members. The ABCFM focused its efforts on southern Bulgaria and the Methodist Church on the region north of the Balkan Mountains (Stara Planina, or "Old Mountains"). In 1857, Cyrus Hamlin and Charles Morse established three missionary centres in southern Bulgaria – in Odrin (Edirne, former capital city of the Ottoman Empire, in Turkey), Plovdiv and Stara Zagora. They were joined in 1859 by Russian-born naturalized America Frederic Flocken in 1859. American Presbyterian Minister Elias Riggs commissioned, supported and edited the work of Bulgarian monk Neofit Rilski to create a Bible translations into Bulgarian which was then distributed widely in Bulgaria in 1871 and thereafter. This effort was supported by Congregationalist missionary Albert Long, Konstantin Fotinov, Hristodul Sechan-Nikolov and Petko Slaveikov. Reportedly, 2,000 copies of the newly translated Bulgarian language New Testament were sold within the first two weeks.
Congregational churches were established in Bansko, Veliko Turnovo, and Svishtov between 1840 and 1878, followed by Sofia in 1899. By 1909, there were 19 Congregational churches, with a total congregation of 1,456 in southern Bulgaria offering normal Sunday services, Sunday schools for children, biblical instruction for adults; as well as women's groups and youth groups. Summer Bible schools were held annually from 1896 to 1948.
Congregationalists led by Dr James F. Clarke opened Bulgaria's first Protestant primary school for boys in Plovdiv in 1860, followed three years later by a primary school for girls in Stara Zagora. In 1871 the two schools were moved to Samokov and merged as the American College, now considered the oldest American educational institution outside the US. In 1928, new facilities were constructed in Sofia, and the Samokov operation transferred to the American College of Sofia (ACS), now operated at a very high level by the Sofia American Schools, Inc.
In 1874, a Bible College was opened in Ruse, Bulgaria for people wanting to become pastors. At the 1876 annual conference of missionaries, the beginning of organizational activity in the country was established. The evangelical churches of Bulgaria formed a united association in 1909.
The missionaries played a significant role in assisting the Bulgarians throw off "the Turkish Yoke", which included publishing the magazine Zornitsa (Зорница, "Dawn"), founded in 1864 by the initiative of Riggs and Long. Zornitsa became the most powerful and most widespread newspaper of the Bulgarian Renaissance. A small roadside marker on Bulgarian Highway 19 in the Rila Mountains, close to Gradevo commemorates the support given the Bulgarian Resistance by these early Congregationalist missionaries.
On 3 September 1901 Congregationalist missionaries came to world attention in the Miss Stone Affair when missionary Ellen Maria Stone, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and her pregnant fellow missionary friend Macedonian-Bulgarian Katerina Stefanova–Tsilka, wife of an Albanian Protestant minister, were kidnapped while traveling between Bansko and Gorna Dzhumaya (now Blagoevgrad), by an Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization detachment led by the voivoda Yane Sandanski and the sub-voivodas Hristo Chernopeev and Krǎstyo Asenov and ransomed to provide funds for revolutionary activities. Eventually, a heavy ransom (14,000 Ottoman lira (about US$62,000 at 1902 gold prices or $5 million at 2012 gold prices) raised by public subscription in the USA was paid on 18 January 1902 in Bansko and the hostages (now including a newborn baby) were released on 2 February near Strumica—a full five months after being kidnapped. Widely covered by the media at the time, the event has been often dubbed "America's first modern hostage crisis".
The Bulgarian royal house, of Catholic German extraction, was unsympathetic to the American inspired Protestants, and this mood became worse when Bulgaria sided with Germany in WWI and WWII. Matters became much worse when the Bulgarian Communist Party took power in 1944. Like the Royal Family, it too saw Protestantism closely linked to the West and hence more politically dangerous than traditional Orthodox Christianity. This prompted repressive legislation in the form of "Regulations for the Organization and Administration of the Evangelical Churches in the People's Republic of Bulgaria" and resulted in the harshest government repression, possibly the worst in the entire Eastern Bloc, intended to extinguish Protestantism altogether. Mass arrests of pastors (and often their families), torture, long prison sentences (including four life sentences) and even disappearance were common. Similar tactics were used on parishioners. In fifteen highly publicized mock show-trials between 8 February and 8 March 1949, all the accused pastors confessed to a range of charges against them, including treason, spying (for both the US and Yugoslavia), black marketing, and various immoral acts. State appointed pastors were foist on surviving congregations. As late as the 1980s, imprisonment and exile were still employed to destroy the remaining Protestant churches. The Congregationalist magazine "Zornitsa" was banned; Bibles became unobtainable. As a result, the number of Congregationalists is small and estimated by Paul Mojzes in 1982 to number about 5,000, in 20 churches. (Total Protestants in Bulgaria were estimated in 1965 to have been between 10,000 and 20,000.) More recent estimates indicate enrollment in Protestant ("Evangelical" or "Gospel") churches of between 100,000 and 200,000, presumably reflecting the success of more recent missionary efforts of evangelical groups.
In Canada, the first foreign field, thirty-one churches that had been affiliated with the General Conference became part of the United Church of Canada when that denomination was founded in 1925 by the merger of the Canadian Congregationalist and Methodist churches, and two-thirds of the congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. In 1988, a number of UCC congregations separated from the national church, which they felt was moving away theologically and in practice from Biblical Christianity. Many of the former UCC congregations banded together as the new Congregational Christian Churches in Canada.
The Congregational Christian Churches in Canada (or 4Cs) is an evangelical, Protestant, Christian denomination, headquartered in Brantford, Ontario, and a member of the World Evangelical Congregational Fellowship. The name "congregational" generally describes its preferred organizational style, which promotes local church autonomy and ownership, while fostering fellowship and accountability between churches at the National level.
The Congregational Union of Ireland was founded in 1829 and currently has around 26 member churches. In 1899 it absorbed the Irish Evangelical Society. One of its ministers, Robert McEvoy, is secretary of an evangelical and creationist pressure group, the Caleb Foundation.
The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa is one of the largest group of churches throughout the Pacific Region. It was founded in 1830 by the London Missionary Society missionary John Williams on the island of Savai'i in the village of Sapapali'i. As the church grew it established and continues to support theological colleges in Samoa and Fiji. There are over 100,000 members attending over 2,000 congregations throughout the world, most of which are located in Samoa, American Samoa, New Zealand, Australia and America. The Christian Congregational Church of Jamaica falls under the constitution of the Samoan Church.
Congregational churches were brought to the Cape Colony by British settlers.
In 1972, about three-quarters of English Congregational churches merged with the Presbyterian Church of England to form the United Reformed Church (URC). However, about 600 Congregational churches have continued in their historic independent tradition. Under the Act of Parliament that dealt with the financial and property issues arising from the merger between what had become by then the Congregational Church of England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England, certain assets were divided between the various parties.
In England, there are three main groups of continuing Congregationalists. These are the Congregational Federation, which has offices in Nottingham and Manchester, the Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches, and about 100 Congregational churches that are loosely federated with other congregations in the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, or are unaffiliated.
In 1981, the United Reformed Church merged with the Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ and, in 2000, just over half of the churches in the Congregational Union of Scotland also joined the United Reformed Church. The remainder of Congregational churches in Scotland joined the Congregational Federation.
Wales traditionally is the part which has the largest share of Congregationalists among the population, most Congregationalists being members of Undeb yr Annibynwyr Cymraeg (the Union of Welsh Independents), which is particularly important in Carmarthenshire and Brecknockshire.
The London Missionary Society was effectively the world mission arm of British Congregationalists. It sponsored missionaries including Eric Liddell and David Livingstone. As thinking developed, particularly in the context of decolonisation, and churches wanted to recognise the gifts of people of the South, the London Missionary Society transformed into the Council for World Mission.
The current President of the Congregational Federation is Reverend Martin Spain.
In the United States, the Congregational tradition traces its origins mainly to Puritan settlers of colonial New England. Congregational churches have had an important impact on the political, religious and cultural history of the United States. Their practices concerning church governance influenced the early development of democratic institutions in New England, and many of the nation's oldest educational institutions, such as Harvard and Yale University, were founded to train Congregational clergy. In the 21st century, the Congregational tradition is represented by the United Church of Christ, the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, and the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference.
City Presbyterian Church (originally Park Congregational Church and later Pilgrim Congregational Church) is the name of a church located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The current congregation has no direct connection to the one which originally occupied the building. The building sits on a lot bound by 13th Street and Classen Drive, and therefore has two different street addresses. The "front" (main entrance) of the church is at 1433 Classen Drive, but the address listed on church literature and used for mail delivery is 829 NW 13th Street. The congregation, which informally calls itself "City Pres," is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America and is pastored by Rev. Doug Serven and Rev. Bobby Griffith.Clark Street Congregational Church, Morecambe
Clark Street Congregational Church, in Morecambe, Lancashire, England, was built in 1863 and designed by the Lancaster architect E. G. Paley. It provided seating for 350 people. The chapel has a northwest tower, a southwest porch, and windows containing plate tracery. The church closed before 1980, and has been converted into offices.Congregational Church in India
The Congregational Church in India wants to be the continuation of the former Independent Church of Maraland. Under the leadership of Rev. Mark Lapi a sizeable group left the Evangelical Church of Maraland in 1989. The headquarters is in Serkawr.
The church has 5,500 members and 23 congregations as of 2004.
A member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.Congregationalist polity
Congregationalist polity, or congregational polity, often known as congregationalism, is a system of ecclesiastical polity in which every local church congregation is independent, ecclesiastically sovereign, or "autonomous". Its first articulation in writing is the Cambridge Platform of 1648 in New England. Among those major Protestant Christian traditions that employ congregationalism are those Congregational churches known by the Congregationalist name that descended from the Independent Reformed wing of the Anglo-American Puritan movement of the 17th century, Quakerism, the Baptist churches, as well as the Congregational Methodist Church. More recent generations have witnessed also a growing number of non-denominational churches, which are most often congregationalist in their governance.Congregationalism is distinguished from episcopal polity which is governance by a hierarchy of bishop, and is distinct from presbyterian polity in which higher assemblies of congregational representatives can exercise considerable authority over individual congregations.
Congregationalism is not limited only to organization of Christian church congregations. The principles of congregationalism have been inherited by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Canadian Unitarian Council. Most Jewish synagogues, many Sikh Gurdwaras and most Islamic mosques in the US operate under congregational government, with no hierarchies.Dinosaurland Fossil Museum
Dinosaurland Fossil Museum (aka Dinosaurland) is a privately owned fossil museum in Lyme Regis, on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England. The museum is located in a historic Grade I listed former congregational church building.First Congregational Church (Detroit, Michigan)
The First Congregational Church is located at 33 East Forest Avenue (on the corner of Forest and Woodward Avenue) in Midtown Detroit, Michigan. It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1974 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.First Congregational Church (Salt Lake City, Utah)
The First Congregational Church of Salt Lake City, Utah is a Congregational church affiliated with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches. Established in 1865, it was the first church not a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Utah. The congregation started Utah's first free public schools.First Congregational Church (Stoneham, Massachusetts)
The First Congregational Church is an historic church located at 1 Church Street (corner of Main Street) in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Built in 1840, it is a fine local example of Greek Revival architecture, and is a landmark in the town center. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 13, 1984. The church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ; the current pastor is the Rev. Meredith Allen.Godalming Congregational Church
The building formerly known as Godalming Congregational Church was the Congregational chapel serving the ancient town of Godalming,in the English county of Surrey, between 1868 and 1977. It superseded an earlier chapel, which became Godalming's Salvation Army hall, and served a congregation which could trace its origins to the early 18th century. The "imposing suite of buildings", on a major corner site next to the Town Bridge over the River Wey, included a schoolroom and a manse (now demolished), and the chapel had a landmark spire until just before its closure in 1977. At that time the congregation transferred to the nearby Methodist chapel, which became a joint Methodist and United Reformed church with the name Godalming United Church. The former chapel then became an auction gallery before being converted into a restaurant; then in 2018 the premises were let to the Cotswold Company to be converted into a furniture and home accessories showroom. In 1991 the former chapel was listed at Grade II for its architectural and historical importance.Great George Street Congregational Church
Great George Street Congregational Church is on the corner of Great George Street and Nelson Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, England. It is no longer in use as a Congregational church, and has been converted into a community arts centre. Formerly nicknamed The Blackie, it has since been officially named The Black-E. The former church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.North Woodward Congregational Church
The St. John's Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is a church located at 8715 Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. It was built as the North Woodward Congregational Church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, and designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1998.Old Stone Congregational Church
The Old Stone Congregational Church, also known as the First Congregational Church of Lyons, is a historic church in Lyons, Colorado, built in 1894-5 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The First Congregational Church was organized under the sponsorship of the First Congregational Church of Longmont in 1889, less than a decade after E. S. Lyon arrived in the area from Connecticut and bought 160 acres (65 ha) of land that include the original townsite of Lyons. Construction of the church building, on the northwest corner of 4th and High Streets, began in 1894 and was completed on September 23, 1895. The minister and members of the congregation contributed much of the necessary labor, in addition to money and materials. The principal building material was sandstone that was locally quarried, cut by hand and laid in horizontal courses of irregularly sized blocks. The National Register nomination notes that much of the work on the building was done by master stonecutters with the result that the "cutting and fitting [of the stone] is exceptionally well executed." The walls are 20 inches (51 cm) thick.The facade is asymmetrical with the church's principal door leading into the base of a single tower. The door has a semicircular arch of radiating stone voussoirs. Central to the facade are a pair of windows topped by horizontal stone lintels. A decorative feature of the facade is the large arch of voussoirs which rises above the windows. In the gable is an ocular ventilation opening framed by voussoirs and set with louvres. The tower rises to a stone course at the height of the gable, above which is a louvred chamber with a "candle-snuffer" roof.
For more than ten years after the completion of the building (until a Methodist church was built in town), this was the only church in Lyons. At the time of its National Register listing, the congregation was affiliated with the United Church of Christ, but it no longer identifies itself with that denomination.Over United Reformed Church
Over United Reformed Church is in Swanlow Lane, Over, Winsford, Cheshire, England. It was built as a Congregational chapel and is now a United Reformed Church. It is a Grade II listed building,The church was the second to be designed by John Douglas. Building began in 1864 and was completed in 1865. Its exterior is in polychromatic brick, with a slate roof and red sandstone dressings.
It is an unusual building that Douglas' biographer Edward Hubbard describes as being "experimental" and as presenting "an astonishing sight". The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner called it "very ugly".Pilgrim Congregational Church (Redding, California)
Pilgrim Congregational Church in Redding, California was designed in 1958 by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and built between 1960 and 1963.
One of the parishioners contacted Wright, the architect, to inquire about designing a building. Mr. Wright responded to the proposal in January 1958 with these words: "Tell the people of the little church that I will help them out. If I like the ‘feel’ of a job, I take it."
This church is one of Wright's last designs and the last church designed by Wright before he died in 1959. Referring to the church's design, Wright once said, "this little church" was designed as a "Pole and Boulder Gothic". The design was to represent the form of a tent, the ancient dwelling of Israel, as a symbol of temporary, migratory and transient lives. Wright died before he could finish all the drawings for the church.
Unable to secure a bid within their budget, the congregation's building committee voted to build the church themselves. With oversight from Taliesin West, excavation began in June, 1960. With its massive desert rubblestone walls and the 23 giant steel and concrete roof supports that envelop the building, the church seems almost to grow out of the rocky hillside setting. The pulpit area was designed to resemble a cave. The building was dedicated in 1963.
The full plans of the multi-building design are yet to be realized. There is a fireplace in the fellowship hall, which is used as the sanctuary. This wing was to extend into the middle of today’s parking lot where it would intersect the real, 300 seat sanctuary, 100 seat chapel wing, and 17 classroom church school wing - all in a triangular fashion. This central core would have been topped off by a massive, boulder belfry tower at the south end housing the minister's study on its upper floor.Saltaire United Reformed Church
Saltaire United Reformed Church (originally Saltaire Congregational Church) is a church at Saltaire, West Yorkshire, England. Commissioned and paid for by Titus Salt in the mid 19th century, the church is a Grade I listed building and sits within the Saltaire World Heritage Site.The Octagon, Christchurch
The Octagon, Christchurch, the former Trinity Church or Trinity Congregational Church designed by Benjamin Mountfort, later called the State Trinity Centre, is a Category I heritage building listed with Heritage New Zealand. Damaged in the 2010 Canterbury earthquake and red-stickered after the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the building was threatened with demolition like most other central city heritage buildings. In June 2012, it was announced that the building will be saved, repaired and earthquake strengthened.United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
The United Congregational Church in Southern Africa began with the work of the London Missionary Society, who sent missionaries like Dr. Theodorus van der Kemp to the Cape colony in 1799. He was established the first Congregational church in Cape Town in 1801. LMS missionaries like David Livingstone spread the Gospel among the Batswana and Amandbele peoples. After 1820 English and Welsh settlers established their own congregational congregations. Congregationalist missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions began work in KwaZulu-Natal in 1830, and several congregations of white settlers formed the Congregational Union of South Africa. These three bodies united to form the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa in 1967.
It has approximately 500,000 members in 450 local congregations.The United Congregational Church is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.It has a Synod in Mozambique, its office is located in Maputo. The Igreja Congregacional Unida do Africa do Sul in Portuguese had 13,400 members in 27 congregations. It traces back their origin to the first evangelist Rev. Edwin Richards sent in 1880 to Mozambique by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Later the mission decided to close the work, Richards and most members followed joined the Methodist church. Small part maintained the congregational heritage. Congregations located in Inhambane, Gaza, Maputo. Official languages are Portuguese, Xitxe, Tsonga and Tyopi.There are 51 congregations in Botswana with more than 20,300 members.In Zimbabwe it runs several schools and as of 1995 the Congregational Church had 160 congregations and 11,000 communicant members and 16,700 adherents.The Namibia Regional Council of the denomination has 3,000 members and 7 congregations in Duineveld, Rehoboth, Karlfeld, Windhoek, Luderitz, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Grootfrontein. Since 1933 congregational people begun moving to Namibia. In 1982 these congregations formed this independent regional council.United Reformed Church
The United Reformed Church (URC) is a Protestant Christian church in the United Kingdom. It has approximately 46,500 members in 1,383 congregations with 608 active ministers, including 13 church related community workers.Wananalua Congregational Church
The Wananalua Congregational Church is a historic 19th-century building on the remote coast of Maui in Hawaii.