Churches Together groups

Churches Together groups are unincorporated associations made by agreement between the local churches. They differ from Covenanted Partnership (Type 2) Local Ecumenical Partnerships because they do not need to have approval from their parent denominations and do not need approval from the sponsoring body. Most sponsoring bodies keep a record of the Churches Together groups in their area.

Churches Together groups originated with the formation of the new ecumenical instruments following the Swanwick Declaration in 1989. They are looser associations than LEPs and so can do less in terms of joint worship. They can however be more flexible in terms of membership, as there are no barriers to involvement for the Roman Catholic Church, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Churches, Fresh Expressions or other minority churches.

There are at present no model constitutions for Churches Together groups. As they do not require approval from denominational parent bodies, there has been no pressure to standardise the approach. Neighbouring Churches Toghether groups may be able to show you their constitutions, to help you write yours.  If something out of the ordinary is proposed in your district, it may be worth consulting ecumenical officers in other areas, who may know of similar established Churches Together groups with suitable constitutions.

Churches Together groups do not take on the charitable status of their parent denominations. This can be a problem where their members make a joint commitment to work in the community and make applications for funding. Some funding bodies expect recipients to be registered as charities and in some instances incorporation is advisable. It is worth considering whether this type of work in the community requires a separate charitable organisation to ensure funds for the work are kept apart from funds for the churches.

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