About City TempleJesus, “by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God . . . (Rev. 5:9–10 ESV)
“Our Polycultural Vision”
City Temple is one of the few churches in central London to have a truly diverse congregation, with no majority ethnic group represented in the church. Some people might say we’re “multicultural”, but for us “multicultural” seems to describe a situation in which various cultures exist side-by-side, affirming one another yet maintaining cultural separation. We prefer the word “polycultural”. For us, “polycultural” affirms the value and uniqueness of people from all ethnic backgrounds as created in God’s image, but at the same time encourages people from various backgrounds to influence and change one another in love, uniting us as God’s people. The result is a personal and corporate transformation that brings a greater sense of unity, respect and love among people. In a polycultural context, we are personally changed by the interaction with others from diverse backgrounds. We want to represent a new human “culture” – one filled with the love of Jesus. It’s not easy, but we’ve found it is worth it.
City Temple has its roots in the Reformation of the 16th century. The church possibly started around 1640 as a nonconformist, congregational church, but some evidence suggests that the church could have begun as early as the 1560s. Some Christians worshipping together became known as Non-Conformists, because they refused to conform with the Book of Common Prayer. They wanted the freedom to worship God according to the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
City Temple has had several famous ministers, including – Thomas Goodwin, chaplain to Oliver Cromwell; Joseph Parker, the great Victorian preacher; and Leslie Weatherhead, who led the church from 1936-1960.
Throughout our history, we’ve worshipped in many buildings in the City of London. Since 1874, we’ve met in our building on Holborn Viaduct. No matter where we’ve worshipped, we’ve always been what’s called a “gathered church”, drawing people from all across London. We are the only historic English Free Church in the City of London worshipping in its own building every Sunday.
We cherish our history, but we look forward to many more years of serving Jesus in the City of London. We invite people to come and make new history with us.
Our Beliefs & Values
Our beliefs as a church flow from the Bible as God’s written word, fully trustworthy and reliable. We believe in one sovereign God, who lives eternally in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God manifests love, grace and goodness. We also believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who was born of the Virgin Mary, living among us as truly human and truly God, yet without sin. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and to defeat evil, an amazing act of love to reconcile us with God. Jesus rose bodily from the grave on the third day, giving eternal life to all who turn away from sin and surrender their lives to Jesus in faith. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who leads us to turn away from sin, unites us with Jesus by faith, and empowers us to live for Jesus. We believe in the Church, the people of God, who have received the Spirit’s gifts to worship God and share the Gospel, promoting justice and love in the world. Of course, no brief statement can express everything we believe, so we welcome questions about our faith in Jesus Christ.
Our values for living also flow from the Bible and our faith in Jesus. We seek to live in ways that please God. With God’s help and by God’s grace, we pursue giving generously, serving faithfully, sharing hospitality, showing mercy, cooperating humbly, living in holiness, and showing honour. We want to be open and authentic, filled with grace and God’s love. We celebrate our diversity as a reflection of God’s image in us. We embrace people from all socio-economic backgrounds.
Redeveloping Our Building & Our Temporary Meeting Place
Since 1874, we’ve met on Holborn Viaduct. The original building was rebuilt following bomb damage in WWII and reopened in 1958. Now, it is time to redevelop that post-war building. We have begun work on a major redevelopment that should be complete in 2024-25. The renewed City Temple building will provide a fabulous resource for a new generation.
While we’re out of our building, a few aspects of church life in these pages will pause, but most will continue uninterrupted in temporary facilities and online. We are currently meeting with the Chelsea Community Church on Edith Grove SW10 0LB on Sundays. Our hope is to renew the Chelsea church while we wait for our new building.
We look forward to resuming everything afresh in a renewed building. Until then, we welcome you to come with us on the journey. Join our email list for more information and updates.
Rev Dr Rodney D Woods
Who We Are
Rod and Karen have served City Temple since September 2001. CT has elders (the biblical word for leaders in the local church) who oversee the life of the church, and Rod serves as the leader of this team. CT’s elders reflect the diversity of our congregation. CT also has church members who help choose the elders and share in other decisions regarding church life. The governance of City Temple is healthy and balanced, promoting a high-trust environment in the church.
Rev Dr Rodney D Woods
Worship & Children
City Temple is an international church in the heart of London, bringing together people from many different nations in unity with each other and with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Come just as you are and meet us!
City Temple URC
Company Number: 08357702
Charity Number: 1151257
Get In Touch
0207 583 5532
Some pictures – usually the best ones – provided courtesy Niki Gorick. © Niki Gorick Photography Ltd. 2018, www.nikigorick.com