About Us

Duke Street URC

We are a Church with a rich history that has been in Duke Street since 1867.   Occupying a modern multi-functional space on the site of the original building, today’s congregation has roots beyond Duke Street from a number of other former churches in Leith, Edinburgh and Portobello.  

The congregation is keen to grow by continuing to form new friendships with visitors and neighbours, just as has been done for over 150 years.


The United Reformed Church

The URC is a group of Christian churches across England, Scotland and Wales that is part of the worldwide family of Reformed Churches.

In 1972 The United Reformed Church Act  formally merged the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales. The Church expanded when the Churches of Christ joined in 1981, followed by the Congregational Union of Scotland in 2000, which Duke Street and its other component congregations were members.

We are committed to working closely with Churches of all traditions, in prayer, worship and social action, and many of our congregations are now united with local churches from other traditions.

Duke Street URC takes an active part in Leith Churches Together.


What we believe

We believe that in the Bible we can hear the Word of God speaking to us today and that each of us can find fulfilment through loving and serving Jesus Christ. 

The absence of hierarchy and a respect for individual conscience means that the URC is not dogmatic as it embraces a wide variety of opinions and is open to change.  However, in the words of our Statement of Nature, Faith and Order, we are committed to ‘God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the living God, the only God, ever to be praised.’ 

We are proud to be an inclusive and intercultural Church, where people of all identities, experiences and cultural roots enrich one another’s Christian living. 

Being ‘Reformed’ means that we delight in exploring the Bible.  We do not fear change and try to operate with respect in ways that take in to account all insights and contributions. 

Our Structure and Governance

The United Reformed Church has a democratic three-tier structure that holds a balance of our past traditions in presbyterianism and congregationalism.  

Local church congregations, such as Duke Street,  hold meetings to govern their affairs. Each congregation has leadership from elected elders but the Church Meeting of members is the main decision making body at local level. 

There are 13 synods in the URC.  These comprise the national synods of Scotland and Wales plus 11 regional synods across England. Each Synod provides oversight of regional matters and is led by a synod moderator. 

General Assembly meets to celebrate, discuss and make decisions on the life and work of the United Reformed Church.  Mission Council, which meets more frequently, is the executive body of the General Assembly.

The decision making power of the individual member in the United Reformed Church is one of the main characteristics that sets the URC apart from other denominations that may appear to worship and operate in a similar way.

Duke Street URC

In Duke Street United Reformed Church our main service of worship takes place at 10am on a Sunday.  This is at the centre of our church life and is open to everyone. 

Throughout the week, the month and the year, there are a wide range of other events and activities that are well supported by members, friends and neighbours.  These are also open to all.

The congregation is also an active supporter of the Bethany Night Shelter and Care Van as well as Scottish Churches Housing Action.