We are the Walsall Pastorate of the United Reformed Church (URC), a mainstream denomination of the Christian church in the United Kingdom. The URC has approximately 68,000 members in 1500 congregations with some 700 ministers. It was created in 1972 as a result of a union of the Presbyterian Church of England with the Congregational Church in England and Wales. The URC subsequently united with the Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ in 1981 and the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000. The present General Secretary of the URC is Revd John Proctor, who spent his teenage years in Walsall and attended Queen Mary's Grammar School.
The URC is organised into 13 Synods, each having a Moderator. The Moderator of the West Midlands Synod is Revd Steve Faber, with responsibility for over 120 churches & their clergy. Within Synods there are ministers in pastoral charge of a church who also serve as part-time Area Ministers. The Walsall Pastorate comprises three churches: Blakenall, Broadway and Hatherton sharing one minister. Our last minister was Revd Wilbert Sayimani who came to us from Zimbabwe and is now serving a church in Bournemouth. We are currently awaiting the appointment of a new Minister to the pastorate.
Revd John Proctor
URC General Secretary
Revd Steve Faber
URC West Midlands Moderator
Each congregation within the URC is governed by a Church Meeting consisting of all its church members, which is the ultimate decision-making body in the congregation. There is also an Elders' Meeting (similar to the presbyterian Kirk Session in the Church of Scotland) which advises the Church Meeting and shares with the minister the spiritual and pastoral oversight of the church. Elders are ordained for life, but are normally elected to serve for a specific period of time in a local church.
In 1982 the URC voted in favour of a covenant with the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the Moravian Church, which would have meant remodelling our synod moderators as bishops and incorporating our ministry into the apostolic succession. However, the Church of England rejected the covenant. In 2011, the URC allowed the blessing of same-sex civil unions in its UK churches, and our General Assembly now allows its churches to choose to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies.