Local Ecumenical Partnerships

Churches Together in Cambridgeshire supports Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs), Emerging Partnerships, and Ecumenical Welcomes

What is a Local Ecumenical Partnership? 

Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs) are formed when Christian congregations and denominations work together under formal agreement to a shared life together. LEP agreements are a form of 'structural ecumenism,' meaning that church unity is made visible through shared structures. 

The ten LEPs in Cambridgeshire have each agreed to one (or more) of the following structures: 

Below you can read about the ten LEPs supported by Churches Together in Cambridgeshire. We encourage you to pray for these LEPs, visit for worship, and support them. These ecumenical churches show us the unity that Christ prays for: 'That all may be one.'

Looking for support? 

Churches Together in Cambridgeshire supports LEPs and their ministers through Local Advisory Groups, periodic reviews, and regular communication. 

Churches Together in England provides extensive written resources for LEPs

Denominational Ecumenical Officers are available for consultation. For one-on-one support, please contact the contact the County Ecumenical Officer

Praying for new ecumenical partnerships?

Scroll to the bottom of this page to read about Emerging Partnerships. Then contact the County Ecumenical Officer to discuss next steps. 

LEPs in Cambridgeshire

Bar Hill LEP modern church building with bell tower

Bar Hill Church

Bar Hill is a single-congregation LEP formed from the following denominations:

The LEP also has Covenants and Shared Building Agreements with

We celebrate the six churches involved in this Local Ecumenical Partnership! 

Bar Hill is one of the very earliest LEPs in England, and it was one of the first examples of ecumenical ministry in new housing. The building is owned by Shared Churches (Ely) Ltd. 

Bar Hill Church is located in Hanover Close, Bar Hill, Cambridge CB23 8EH

Visit the Bar Hill Church website to learn more. 

Trinity (Burwell) Church

Trinity Church in Burwell is a single-congregation LEP established in 1988 between the United Reformed Church and Methodist Church

Trinity (Burwell) is part of the Ely and Newmarket Methodist Circuit and served by a Methodist minister. The building, which was originally the Sunday School of the Congregational Church, can be found on Burwell High Street, CB25 0HD. 

Learn more at the Trinity (Burwell) Church website

Trinity Burwell LEP one-story church building
Cambourne LEP A-frame church building

Cambourne Church

Cambourne is a single-congregation LEP formed from the following denominations:

The LEP also has a Covenant and Shared Building Agreement with the Roman Catholic Church. The building is owned by Shared Churches (Ely) Ltd.  

The church is located in Jeavons Lane, Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, CB23 6AF

Visit the Cambourne Church website for more information. 

St Luke's (Cambridge) Church

The St. Luke's (Cambridge) LEP brings together the Church of England and the United Reformed Church. 

This LEP originally formed in the 1980s when two neighbouring congregations in Chesterton, Victoria Road Congregational Church and the Anglican St. Luke's, began to share one building under a Shared Building Agreement.

In 2005, the two churches became a single-congregation LEP. This church is part of the Parish of the Ascension and the ecumenical 'Church at Castle.'  

St. Luke's is located on Victoria Road, Cambridge, CB4 3DZ. 

Visit the St. Luke's website to learn more. 

St Luke's LEP Victorian church building
Emmanuel LEP church building with two stories

Emmanuel (Chatteris) Church

Emmanuel Church in Chatteris is a single-congregation LEP formed from the following denominations:

The church is located on East Park Street, Chatteris, PE16 6LD

Please see the Emmanuel (Chatteris) Church website for more information.

Little Downham Church

Little Downham is an Anglican/Methodist single-congregation LEP. It is part of the Ely and Newmarket Circuit for the Methodists and the Ely Team Ministry for the Anglicans. 

The church varies its worship style, and the Methodists lead a communion service once per quarter. The LEP believes that far more important than the style of service is that everyone comes together as a visible and united witness for Christ in the village. It is a relaxed church with a strong sense of community.

The church is located on Main Street, Little Downham, Ely, CB6 2ST. The Community Rooms used to be the Methodist Church building in Little Downham and can be found at the far end of the Main Street.

Learn more at the St. Leonard's (Little Downham) website.

Trinity (March) LEP church building with large front window above entrance

Trinity (March) Church

Trinity Church in March is a single-congregation LEP between the United Reformed Church and the Methodists. It is part of the Fens Circuit for the Methodists. 

The church is located on High Street, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 9LH. 

Visit the Trinity Church webpage

Sawston Free Church 

Sawston Free Church relates to both the United Reformed Church and the Methodist Church. In the 1980s, the congregational church voted to change its name to "Sawston Free Church" in order to reflect the multiple denominational backgrounds of people in the church. The church has a Shared Building Agreement, and, according to their history: "Sawston Free Church is a shared church. It is owned by the United Reformed Church but is shared with the Methodist Church." 

Sawston Free Church is located on 1 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3BG. 

Visit the Sawston Free Church website

church building with the words "Sawston Free Church (United Reformed / Methodist)"
drawing of a church building with the words "The Church in Toft" at the top and "The Methodist and Parish Churches" at the bottom

The Church in Toft

The Church in Toft is a Covenanted Partnership LEP between two congregations, one Methodist and one Anglican. 

These two churches in Toft work together for ministry in the village. Collectively they are known as “The Church in Toft.” In their words: 

'The Church in Toft is a small, friendly, village church community. We are an ‘ecumenical' bunch led by Methodists and Anglicans, but do as much as we can together as one church community through a Local Ecumenical Partnership.'

The churches continue to be governed separately and have separate finances, but they worship together all the time and act as one church. An Ecumenical Ministry Team work together to lead the life of the church.

You can find St Andrew's Parish Church on Church Road, Toft, Cambridge, CB23 2RH and Toft Methodist Chapel on High Street,Toft, Cambridge, CB23 2RL

Learn more at the Church in Toft website.

Whittlesford Covenanted Partnership

The Whittlesford Covenanted Partnership LEP is formed by Whittlesford Parish Church (St Mary's and St Andrew's) and Whittlesford United Reformed Church. The two churches renew the covenant every 7 years, with the most recent signing service on 15 March 2020. 

The URC worship with the Parish Church on Sunday mornings and use the URC building for community ministry. They are exploring this meaning of Local Ecumenical Partnership (LEP) : ‘One Church – two buildings’.

Whittlesford URC is located on Duxford Road, Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire CB22 4ND. St Mary's and St Andrew's Church is located on Church Lane, Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire, CB22 4NX. 

Emerging Partnerships

Flexible Framework

If you are interested in partnering with other churches, your first stop should be A Flexible Framework for Local Unity in Mission. This framework from Churches Together in England helps you to determine the level of structure that you need for your endeavor: 

While the LEPs described above all use constitutions, emerging partnerships may find that it is most beneficial to have a "Working Agreement" or "Partnership Agreement." You can see this below in the example of the Northstowe Church Network

The goal is to have the least-burdensome structure for achieving the goals of the partnership. If you would like help working through A Flexible Framework, please contact the County Ecumenical Officer.

a gray circle with "N" at the top and a multi-colored cross acting as a compass pointed slightly west of north (the logo of Northstowe Church Network)

Northstowe Church Network

The Northstowe Church Network is an ecumenical partnership of the Eastern Synod of the United Reformed Church, the Eastern Baptist Association of the Baptist Union, and the Diocese of Ely of the Church of England. Their Ecumenical Vision Statement is also prayerfully supported by the Cambridgeshire Area Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). 

The Ecumenical Vision Statement tells the story: 

"God has called together people from across Christian traditions and those new to faith, who are putting down roots in Northstowe and developing into an ecumenical worshipping community."  

The Northstowe Church Network will "become a network of worshipping and missional communities." These communities will work together. As the partner churches explain:  

"Locally led, they will be part of a visible and sustainable network, not just sharing ecumenical governance but periodically coming together in prayer, worship, and to do things that could not be done alone." 

Keep the Northstowe Church Network in your prayers as these emerging communities pioneer new ways of being church together. 

Read about Northstowe Church Network in this article from Churches Together in England

Learn more at the Northstowe Church website

Ecumenical Welcomes 

When congregations conclude ministry, a church of a different tradition may want to welcome them to their local church. An 'Ecumenical Welcome' statement recognises their faith and denominational affiliation. The receiving congregation then makes certain changes to accommodate the Christians from a different tradition. 

Five member churches of Churches Together in England offer guidance on Ecumenical Welcomes. These 'Ecumenical Welcome' statements are informal and not legally binding, so congregations that adopt an 'Ecumenical Welcome' are not technically LEPs. These statements are, however, a crucial expression of ecumenical hospitality. 

If your congregation has extended an Ecumenical Welcome, or if you have a question about Ecumenical Welcomes, please contact the County Ecumenical Officer