about us

about us

Welcome to the website of the United Reformed Church, National Synod of Scotland.

2023 URC National Synod of Scotland – Profile

The Synod was formed in 2000 when many of the Scottish Congregational Churches joined the United Reformed Church, combining with a small numbers of Churches of Christ that were already part of the United Reformed Church.

There are currently 47 Churches in the Synod. The Synod covers the whole of Scotland – from Annan in the South to Kirkwall on Orkney. The Churches are organised into four Link groups – North, South, East and West.

The National Synod of Scotland has an Ecumenical focus as we seek to live out the prayer of the prayer of Jesus, ‘that they be one’.

A quarter of the congregations in the Synod are part of nationally recognised Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs). In the URC as a whole the proportion is closer to a third of all congregations, indicating that although we have good ecumenical relations in Scotland there is scope for encouraging more co-operation at local level.

Most LEPs involving the URC in Scotland are united congregations, where two or more different denominations have come together to form a new united church.

Another model involves congregations of different denominations in a local area who remain individual churches, but agree to work in partnership. This enables them to achieve more than they would be able on their own in a relationship recognised and supported by the wider church. There is also one place where such a partnership involving a URC congregation is recognised simply by a local agreement.

Where a congregation is the only Christian presence in a particular area it is also possible for it to apply to be recognised as a ‘place of ecumenical welcome’. At present there is only one URC congregation recognised in this way.

It is not uncommon for congregations to allow other Christian fellowships to use their premises. This is also a recognised method of ecumenical co-operation.

In addition to this all of our congregations are encouraged to engage in their local ‘Churches Together’ groups or equivalent. Typically such groups organise joint services and acts of witness (for example at Easter, Christian Aid Week or for Remembrance Sunday) and co-operate in serving their local community. In many places local clergy of different denominations meet together for fellowship.

Since 2010 the Synod as a whole has been part of a national ecumenical partnership called the EMU Partnership (Episcopal, Methodist and URC). We seek to work in partnership with other denominations at local and national level where possible.

The National Synod of Scotland exists to serve and support the local churches as they preach and bring the Word throughout Scotland.

Should you wish to find a church local to you, then please consult the Local Churches webpage – we offer you a warm welcome wherever you decide to Worship.