Information about the beliefs and history of the United Reformed Church (URC)
Here are some interesting external documents
Where Do We Come From?
The United Reformed Church (URC) in England and Wales was formed in 1972 when the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches joined on a national basis. It subsequently joined with the Churches of Christ to become the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom and most recently, in 2000, with the Congregational Union of Scotland and to become known as simply the United Reformed Church.
The History of Avenue St Andrew’s
Avenue St Andrew’s was formed in 1986 when the congregations of the Avenue URC and St Andrew’s URC combined to worship in the Avenue church building.
Above Bar was the oldest Congregational Church in Southampton. It was founded in 1662 and its first minister was the Rev Nathaniel Robinson. It was located to the south of the present Avenue St Andrew’s site, in the centre of Southampton. On the night of 30th November 1940, during WWII, Above Bar was destroyed by incendiary bombs. The Secretary, Caretaker, and Minister were able to force the safe and rescue all the valuable records. These are now kept at Avenue St Andrew’s. Above Bar was the church at which Isaac Watts (the famous hymn writer) was a member. The 250th anniversary of Isaac Watts’ death was remembered in 1998 with services broadcast from Avenue St Andrew’s on BBC Radios 2 and 4 and ITV.
St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was founded in 1853, although the roots can be traced back to almost 100 years earlier, on a site about half way between Above Bar and the present Avenue St Andrew’s site. When Above Bar was destroyed in 1940 most of the congregation moved to St Andrew’s and the minister of Above Bar, the Rev Maxwell Jones, was recognized by the presbytery as the minister in charge of St Andrew’s. On the 1st January 1948 the two congregations officially united and the church grew throughout the 40s and 50s. However, in the 60s and early 70s much of the surrounding housing was demolished and the congregation decreased. In 1972 the United Reformed Church in England and Wales was formed when the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches joined on a national basis. This resulted in two URC churches within ten minutes walk of each other. In the early 1980s a survey of St Andrew’s buildings showed that £150,000 was needed to keep them safe. The congregation of St Andrew’s decided to combine with the congregation of the Avenue and worship in the Avenue church building. Subsequently, the St Andrew’s buildings were demolished.
Avenue Congregational Church was opened on Wednesday, 7th December 1898 to serve the increasing population of northern Southampton.