Congregationalism is a religious tradition that originated in the English Reformation of the late 1500s and early 1600s, emphasizing the freedom of local churches from hierarchical control.
As a Protestant denomination rooted in the churches formed by the New England Puritans in the 1600s and early 1700s, Congregationalism went on to exercise a broad influence on American theological and intellectual development, and on efforts for social reform.
Congregationalism exists today as one of four denominations that merged in 1957 to form the United Church of Christ, and in two continuing bodies, the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, and the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference.
For a more detailed description of the development of the Congregational Way, please see this historical overview.
For suggestions of more in-depth materials, please see our Studying Congregationalism page.