The guidance documents below give advice on how URC churches and synods should care for their paper and electronic records. These documents include information on how long records should be kept for, how records should be managed and stored, what archives are and where they should be deposited, and where churches and synods can get further record keeping advice.
Records of the missionary activity of the constituent churches of the URC are held by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. SOAS holds the records of the London Missionary Society, its successor the Council for World Mission and the Presbyterian Church of England Foreign Missions Committee.
URC History Society Collections, 1643-present
Held at Westminster College, these collections include material relating to the Presbyterian and URC traditions, early editions of the Westminster Confession of Faith, S W Carruthers’ collection of seventeenth century Parliamentary Fast sermons, some of Philip Doddridge’s letters and many early printed books in the Reformed tradition. Westminster College also holds historical yearbooks and magazines (the Presbyterian Messenger, and the Congregational, Presbyterian and Churches of Christ yearbooks), a series of published church histories, and a run of composite biographical files about Presbyterian ministers, which are invaluable to family and local history researchers.
The United Reformed Church was created in 1972 by the uniting of the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales. The Reformed Association of Churches of Christ joined in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000.
The United Reformed Church (URC) archive collections embody the rich heritage of the URC. These collections reflect not just the forty years since the foundation of the URC but four hundred years of the history of our united denominations and theological colleges.
Please use the links below, or The United Reformed Church Archive Collections menu items on the left, to discover more about these collections:
United Reformed Church Archive, 1972-present
The URC archive was launched in early 2012 following a two year cataloguing programme. The collection tells the story of the national URC from its foundation in 1972 to the present day. It documents the URC’s activities in many areas, from youth work to ministries, ecumenical relations to work on social issues. It includes the records of the church’s governing committees, photos of URC events, audio recordings of General Assembly, resources produced by the URC and much more. The archive is housed in the Congregational Library at Dr Williams’s Library in London.
Pilots Archive, 1936-present
The archive of Pilots, a Christian organisation for young people, forms part of the URC archive.
Ministers’ records also form part of the main URC archive. However, these records are subject to data protection and security restrictions and are not accessible to researchers until 30-50 years after a minister’s death. For basic information on where ministers served and dates of service please contact the URC Records Manager at the address below.