With connections to Dissenting congregations of 1684 and earlier, St James's is the oldest Free Church in Newcastle.
The name was used first by the Presbyterian congregation who worshipped in Blackett Street, which cut the Scottish connection in 1833 and became a Congregational Church. The current building in Northumberland Road opened in 1884.
In 1972 the Congregational Church and Presbyterian Church of England and Wales united to form the United Reformed Church, which in 1981 united with the re-formed Association of the Churches of Christ, becoming the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom, or URC for short.
As a Reformed Church, the URC has its roots in the reformation of the 17th century and follows in the tradition of John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli.
The URC is a Trinitarian church, and emphasises the importance of preaching and studying the Bible. It believes that salvation is freely given, by God’s grace, rather than earned by our actions.
It believes that the ministry of the Church is shared by all its members, and thus its govenance is by a Synod, comprised of elected Elders and Ministers.
It follows that the church is not dogmatic and embraces a wide variety of opinions. It takes the name “Reformed” partly because of its roots, but also because it seeks to be continually reforming, to equip itself to be a Church for today .
Although it is a minority Church in the UK, with nearly 90,000 members and regular worshippers in 1500 local congregations, it is part of the worldwide family of Reformed Churches, which has a total membership of around 70 million people.
Our minister, James Breslin, summed up our philosophy:
'Reformed churches, at their best, do not seek to copy the practices and actions of their forefathers, but rather seek to address the questions their forefathers addressed and provide answers for today, and not for yesterday.
Today St James’s URC is a shared ministry with St Andrew’s URC Kenton. While we hold regular shared worship in both buildings, we have monthly communion services in St James’s, to which any member of Christ’s family is invited.
Times of services can be found under “Service Details”.