Churches coming together at a local level is at the heart of Christian unity. 

Throughout the country, from the largest of towns to the smallest of villages, the church is active. Because of their shared Christian faith, churches in local areas are forming deeper relationships and working more closely together to serve their local communities in a wide variety of ways. This is often called working together ecumenically. 

When local congregations meet regularly together to deepen their relationships and do mission together, they often call themselves a ‘Churches Together’ group. Many have their own websites, and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) provides a directory which lists a number of these local Churches Together websites across England: visit the directory at

There are also countless other ways, some more informal and some more formal, in which Christians and churches work together at the local level.  

Praying and worshipping together 

Many Churches Together groups unite in prayer and worship, whether regularly throughout the year, or on particular occasions such as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Good Friday Walks of Witness or Thy Kingdom Come. 

Some local groups also gather Christians from different churches to build relationships, fellowship and grow in faith together, through things such as Lent study groups or small group courses such as Sharing our spiritual treasures or Gifts from the treasure trove

For example in Liverpool, a group of young Christian adults meets together regularly to build relationships and celebrate what they have in common through their Christian faith. The group, called ‘Churches Together on Merseyside 18+’ is made up of members from the Salvation Army, Methodist, Anglican, Pentecostal and Catholic Churches. 

Read more of their story.

Churches Together on Merseyside 18+

Active in their communities 

Street Angels Tamworth

Many local groups are active in united social action, coordinating activities such as Street Pastors/Angels, homeless shelters or foodbanks (see more in our Social action section).  

Local groups are also working together to tackle issues such as racial justice, the climate crisis or mental health.

Others might come together with a particular focus on sharing the good news of Jesus with their neighbours, for example on New Housing Estates, in Rural Contexts or with young people or older people (see more in our mission section). 

Read some great examples of churches coming together in mission locally; including Cornwall, North Yorkshire, Herefordshire, Devon and Staffordshire.

In our short resource Re-imagining Churches Together groups you’ll also find three brief stories of what other local groups are doing in their communities, alongside questions that your group might find helpful to consider together.

At Churches Together in England, we love to share stories of how churches are uniting at the local level. You’ll find some local stories at the bottom of this page, and we’d love to hear about unity stories in your area.  

Local Ecumenical Partnerships  

Sometimes churches work together through a very formal agreement, creating a new legal entity. These are called Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs) and they need agreement from your denomination beyond the local level.  

LEPs come in all shapes and sizes. The most common is where two or more church denominations come together locally to set up a single congregation (a local church). Other agreements involve the sharing of a church building or co-operating in chaplaincy work (such as hospital or prison chaplaincy).  

Support for local groups: 

Helping local churches collaborate with confidence – A Flexible Framework for Local Unity in Mission 

A lot of what local Churches Together groups want to do together doesn’t need much structure beyond a clear note in an e-mail. But sometimes you need more than that.  

A Flexible Framework for Local Unity in Mission is an easy-to-use framework which helps local churches to collaborate with confidence and flexibility, for example through a holiday club, mission event, messy church, homeless shelter or community café.  

The framework’s toolkit guides readers step by step, helping you decide which type of agreement will work best for your local group. It points to the key questions to ask and the practical steps to follow. Find out more and download the toolkit.

A Flexible Framework for Local Unity in Mission.
A Flexible Framework for Local Unity in Mission.

Re-imagining Churches Together groups

Download our short resource to help local groups re-focus and find new life. It is written by County Ecumenical Officers from around the country, and includes three brief stories of what other local groups are doing. We’ve also provided some questions that your group might find helpful to consider together.

Starting a new local group 

Are you interested in starting up a local Churches Together group (or similar) in your area?

If so, read our top tips to help you get started… 

Unity at the county level 

Intermediate Bodies provide support to all local groupings of churches – whether formal or informal groups, whatever they choose to call themselves. They work between the local and the national, most often at a county level. 

Most areas have a County Ecumenical Officer (with many and varied titles) whose job is to enable unity and mission in the area. If you’re involved in church unity at a local, city or county level, we’d encourage you to get in touch with your local County Ecumenical Officer. Find out more in our section on unity at a County level

Our friends the GATHER network also support new networks for mission which have been forming in towns and cities across England over recent years.  

Sharing your stories 

At Churches Together in England, we love to share stories of how churches are uniting at the local level. You’ll find some local stories at the bottom of this page, and we’d love to hear about unity stories in your area.

Access more resources and stories in our local unity section.

Share your unity story

We'd love to hear your story of churches working together in unity.

Share your unity story