In 1662, an attempt by Charles II to impose his will on the Church of England led to 2,000 clergymen leaving their parishes in dissent. The history of the "dissenters" or non-conformists goes back over three hundred years in Marlow. There is a record of a visiting preacher called Samuel Pomfret, who came to the town in 1693, but he was probably not the first to preach against the Act of Uniformity. Certainly he sowed seeds in the town and by the early 1700s there are mentions of a Dissenting Meeting House. In 1726 they built a larger chapel and this in turn gave way to the present building in 1840.
Christ Church was built as a Congregational chapel and is now part of the United Reformed Church (URC). The church's long involvement with the town of Marlow has been important particularly for its work with young people. The building is used not only by our congregation of around 50 members but also by many community organisations and a daily pre-school.
The United Reformed Church was formed in 1972 by the union of the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England. The United Reformed Church has continued to express its deep commitment to the visible unity of the whole Church. In 1981 it entered into union with the Re-formed Churches of Christ and in the year 2000 with the Congregational Union of Scotland. The United Reformed Church is in frequent dialogue on unity with other traditions and has more than 400 local churches united with other denominations.
Though one of the smaller of Britain’s ‘mainstream’ denominations, the United Reformed Church stands in the historic Reformed tradition, whose member denominations make up the largest single strand of Protestantism with more than 70 million members world-wide. Along with other Reformed churches the United Reformed Church holds to the Trinitarian faith expressed in the historic Christian creeds and finds its supreme authority for faith and conduct in the Word of God in the Bible, discerned under guidance of the Holy Spirit. The United Reformed Church’s structure also expresses its faith in the ministry of all God’s people through the structure of democratic Councils by which the Church is governed.
Theologically, the United Reformed Church is a broad church. Its membership embraces congregations of evangelical, charismatic and liberal understandings of the Christian faith – in a variety of mixtures!