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The Christian Church and its Denominations

What is a Christian?
A Christian is someone who worships, believes and trusts in God and His Son Jesus Christ. Christians come together to worship, pray, to deepen their relationship with God and to try and live their lives by the teachings of Jesus.
Christians believe that God is trinitarian - three persons in one. There is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
• We are all children of one loving and caring Father in God.
• Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God incarnate, and through His life, death and resurrection we come to know God.
• The Holy Spirit is God with us and around us; inspiring and guiding all that we do.
The Christian Church is made up of many traditions and denominations, of which the ones mentioned below are just a few. The denominations differ in terms of their theology, authority structures, styles of worship, interpretation of Scripture, evangelism, ritual and liturgy. This makes the Christian Church an incredibly diverse and eclectic group of people.

Catholic Church
Catholics are Christians, this means they are followers of Christ. They believe Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, the Son of God, their friend, their liberator, Lord and Saviour. Catholics believe that Jesus Christ set up the Church (See Matthew Chapter 16, verse 18)

The word Catholic means Universal. There are over 1billion people worldwide who are members of the Catholic Church, which was founded by Jesus in the 1st Century AD. It is made up of a large family of people from every race, colour and social background, who share a common vision and beliefs. Whatever part of the world they live in, they are in communion (united) with one another in a special way through their leaders who they believe to be chosen and appointed by God.

The word Church means the gathering of the people of God. The church building is the focal point for the Catholic community gatherings, and is the place where friendships are made and lives shared. People gather there to pray, and to learn about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Sacraments are a very important part of Church life. These are God-given spiritual channels through which life flows. The Eucharist is a very special sacrament. When Catholics come together to celebrate the Eucharist (also called Mass) they share a holy meal. They believe that through it they are fed, under the appearance of blessed (consecrated) bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ. The seven sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the sick, Marriage and Ordination.
For more information, see

There is a Catholic Chapel (university church) in Exeter University on Streatham Campus. Click here  to find out where we are.

There are also two Catholic Churches in Exeter; the Church of the Sacred Heart in South Street (near the Cathedral)  and the Blessed Sacrament Church in Heavitree (near St Lukes’ campus)

Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Churches are self-governing bodies of Christians adhering to a pure and unbroken line from the first days of the Apostles and the disciples of Jesus. Originally in communion with the Catholic Church, the churches of East and West were divided by the Great Schism of 1054.

Orthodox Christians place great emphasis on worship, particularly the Divine Liturgy. By maintaining a traditional form of worship passed on from the very beginnings of the Christian faith, the Orthodox believe that they confess the true doctrine of God in the right (orthodox) way.

In England, there are a number of overlapping jurisdictions. The Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain represents the Greek Orthodox Church and the Diocese of Sourozh represents the Russian Orthodox Church.
There is an Orthodox Church in Exeter, the Parish of the Holy Prophet Elias. Visit  for more details.

Anglican Communion (Church)
The Anglican Communion is made up of thirty-eight self-governing churches (provinces), across 161 countries, and has more than seventy million adherents. This means that Anglicans come from many different races and colours, and speak many different languages. What they all have in common, however, is following the teachings of Christ.
The basic tenets of being an Anglican are known as the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. These are:
• Regarding the Old and New Testaments "as containing all things necessary for salvation".
• The "Apostles' Creed as the baptismal symbol, and the Nicene Creed as a sufficient statement of the Christian faith."
• The two Christ-ordained "sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are administered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution, and the elements are ordained by him."
• The "historic episcopate", that is deacons, priests and bishops.
Through baptism, the sacrament of initiation which is open to children and adults, Anglicans believe a person is made one with Christ and is welcomed into the family of the Church.
The celebration of the Holy Communion, commonly called the Eucharist or the Mass, is central to Anglican worship. Communion is an offering of prayer and praise through the celebration of the life, death and resurrection of Christ in the sacrament and through the proclamation of the word. Other sacraments include confirmation, holy orders, reconciliation, marriage and anointing of the sick.
There is an Anglican Chapel (university church) on both Streatham and St Lukes campus in Exeter University. Click here  for more details.
There are also other Anglican Churches in the centre of Exeter, the largest being Exeter Cathedral. See here  for further information

Baptist Church
Baptists form the fifth largest Christian church in the world with about 40 million members worldwide. It traces it origins to the sixteenth century when a Church of England minister, John Smyth, performed a radical and scandalous act of baptising himself and the congregation. It restored and recovered the ancient practice of the church which was to baptise by full immersion in water. Baptists reject infant baptism, thinking instead that baptism is for believers only - those who can personally declare Jesus as Lord. Baptists believe that the Bible shows us God's way for living. Baptists are congregational: each church is self-governing and self-supporting, but Baptists believe that churches should not live in isolation but be interdependent. Most Baptist churches belong to the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
There is a Baptist Church in the centre of Exeter. Visit  for more details. There is also a Baptist Church in Pinhoe. Visit  for more details.

Methodist Church
The Methodist Church was founded in the eighteenth century by John Wesley, a priest in the Church of England, whose teaching and methods whilst at the University of Oxford and during his time as a priest influenced many people compelling them to study the Gospels and pray together in small groups.
Today, the Methodist Church is the fourth largest church in Great Britain, after the Church of England, Roman Catholic Church, and the Church of Scotland, with some 330,000 members.
"Methodists try to reflect in their lives the love that God wishes to share with all people. In worship Methodists give thanks to God who loves us and has set us in this world of possibilities. They give thanks for one another. They pray that God will continue to sustain and enable everyone to live fulfilled lives. Methodist worship is characterised by a lively tradition of hymn singing and a passionate regard for preaching the love and justice of the gospel of Jesus."
There is a large Methodist Church in the centre of Exeter. Visit  for more details.

Independent Churches
These churches belong to the Protestant and Evangelical strand within the Christian faith. Many of these churches are of recent origin, often founded by a charismatic leader or group of leaders, or as "church plants". They are autonomous and self-governing, with little external accountability or oversight. They place great emphasis on the authority of scripture and on commitment to evangelism.

Some will display a particular loyalty to a confessional statement or doctrinal declaration, which emerged at the time of the Reformation. Others will look to a more contemporary rule of faith. Some will be charismatic evangelical, others will be reformed evangelical. Some will belong to a national or international network of churches, others will be fiercely independent. They represent a wide spectrum of theological thought and practice within the Evangelical tradition.

There are several Independent Churches in Exeter, the most frequented by students being Belmont Church  and St Leonards

United Reformed/ Presbyterian Church
Formed in 1972 by the union of the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England, the United Reformed Church comprises 250,000 throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Theologically, the United Reformed Church is a broad church. Its membership embraces congregations of evangelical, charismatic and liberal understandings of the Christian faith. 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. It 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 the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

There are several United Reformed churches in Exeter. Contact Rev Jacqui Knight 01392 274345 for details

Quaker/Society of Friends
Quakers have no priests or creeds. They believe there is `something of God´ in every person – and every time, and place, and thing – so there is no need for special feast days, ceremonies, and sacraments such as baptism or holy communion. The Meeting for Worship takes place in silence, during which someone may speak briefly.

There is a Quaker Meeting House in Exeter  will give you more detail.

With thanks to;
Catholic Enquiry Office
Exeter University MethAng
Sheffield University Christian Chaplaincy

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