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
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.
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
http://www.university.ex.ac.uk/catholic/map.htm to find out where
There are also two Catholic Churches in Exeter; the Church of the Sacred
Heart in South Street (near the Cathedral)
http://freespace.virgin.net/sacredheart.exeter/ 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.
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
• 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
There is an Anglican Chapel (university church) on both Streatham and St
Lukes campus in Exeter University. Click here
There are also other Anglican Churches in the centre of Exeter, the largest
being Exeter Cathedral. See here
http://exeter.anglican.org/database/database.php# for further
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
http://www.prbc.org.uk/ for more
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.
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
http://www.belmontchapel.co.uk 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
http://www.quakersindevon.org.uk/Exeter.html will give you more
With thanks to;
Catholic Enquiry Office
Exeter University MethAng
Sheffield University Christian Chaplaincy