When the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches formed the Uniting Church of Australia in 1977, those Congregational churches opting to remain independent linked together to form the Fellowship of Congregational Churches. By an act of Parliament, the Fellowship of Congregational Churches was declared to be the legal successor to the Congregational Union of NSW.
Today the Fellowship of Congregational Churches embraces churches in five states of Australia and is a warm family of Congregational Christians with a firm Biblical base, a strong evangelical commitment, and a keen optimism for the spread of the Lord’s work across Australia and around the world.
Congregational Churches are ‘independent’ churches. Congregationalists believe in the autonomy of the local church. In some denominations, considerable influence is exerted ‘from the top.’ In contrast, many independent churches have no formal ties with other churches and experience little inter-church fellowship. The Fellowship of Congregational Churches provides a ‘middle ground’ between these two extremes. Each local church is autonomous and no denominational authority can interfere in the life of the local church. Likewise, the Fellowship of Congregational Churches is not a court of appeal for local churches or members. At the same time there is a strong spirit of fellowship, co-operation and support between member churches and a framework for working together for the spread of the Gospel. This co-operation finds expression in the FCC’s annual Assemblies, its committees, camps, conferences and similar events. Support of various means is available to member churches through the Fellowship.
The Fellowship of Congregational Churches seeks to preserve the following:
- The Lordship of Christ over the local church
- The autonomy of each local church under Christ’s Lordship, and freedom from all external ecclesiastical control
- Co-operation between churches of similar faith and order
- Commitment to the principles of our Puritan forefathers:
- Purity of Life
- Purity of Doctrine
- Purity of Worship
- Purity of Church Government
The Fellowship of Congregational Churches is a member of the World Evangelical Congregational Fellowship. (See WECF)