What we are

Our Vision

City and community

‘There is no life that is not in community’
(T.S. Eliot, Choruses from the Rock)

In the heart of the city of Cambridge, surrounded by luxury shops, banks, bars, traffic and busy shoppers, we try to be a community. It is our firm belief that what binds us together most fully is not business, shopping or economic activity, but the infinite depths of God’s love. Whether you have little faith, or no faith, or are a lifelong churchgoer, you will be most welcome to join our friendly community.

We are a gathered church, drawing people from all over Cambridge and its surrounding villages, and seeking to witness to God’s love in the city centre.
Our Chapel is open during the week as a place for quiet prayer and reflection.


We seek to provide a haven for prayer and meditation in the bustle of central Cambridge. Through stillness and meditative prayer, word and sacrament, we respond to God’s call, and are refreshed in the depths of his infinite love. Our spirituality is at the heart of all that we do, an expression of God’s transforming Spirit in our everyday lives.
Preaching at Downing Place, Susan Durber writes that ‘we do not come to church to be in some special sense ‘spiritual’, but to learn how to be alive. We come to receive the gift of life – so that we can bear the burden of being human and accept its joy.’


Over the last year Downing Place URC has given a total of £30k spread amongst the following charities:

ADD (Action for Disability and Development)

Albert Kennedy Trust

Bible Society

Cam Sight

Cambridge Foodbank

Cambridge Street Aid

Cambridge Street Pastors

Cambridge Women’s Aid

CamCRAG (Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group)

CAP (Church Action on Poverty)

CCHP (Cambridge Churches Homelessness Project)

Centre 33

Christian Aid

Christians Against Poverty

Church Action on Poverty

Cogwheel Trust

Cyclone Idai Appeal

Cystinosis Foundation


Feed the Minds

Fulbourn Youth Centre

Home Start Cambridgeshire

Jiroff (Ghana)

Kite Trust

MAP (Medical Aid for Palestine)

MAP (Medical Aid for Palestine)

Mediterranean Hope

Odumase Krobo (Ghana)

Rebuilding churches in Sri Lanka

Red Balloon

Romsey Mill

SOS Children’s Villages

URC Commitment for Life 1% Appeal


There have been times when LGBTQ people have experienced churches as places of exclusion or of criticism and restriction, rather than of welcome and transformative love. We believe that this does not reflect the radical message of Jesus, who welcomed all to himself. As we try to live lives transformed by Christ, we are committed to being a place of welcome to all.


We host the NightLite initiative of Cambridge Street Pastors. Each Saturday evening, between 10pm and 4am, our chapel is open as a safe place where people who have lost their friends, been injured, become sick or distressed can find a warm drink, practical help, and a listening ear.

For more on our mission activities, see our Local Mission and World Church & World Mission pages

Inclusive Church


We believe in inclusive Church – church which does not discriminate, on any level, on grounds of economic power, gender, mental health, physical ability, race or sexuality. We believe in Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.

Safeguarding Policy

Click on the link below to view our Safeguarding Policy Statement:

Safeguarding Policy – Children and Adults at Risk

Reading Resources

Recommended Reading

Thinking about Christian Faith

  • Speaking Christian – Marcus Borg 2011
    Restoring the meaning of Christian words
  • Being Human – John de Gruchy 2006
    How can we follow Jesus today?
  • Tokens of Trust – Rowan Williams 2007
    An introduction to Christian belief

The United Reformed Church

  • Under God’s Good Hand – David Cornick 1998
    A history of the URC
  • ordinary time – Francis Brienen and Michael Jagessar (ed 2013)
    URC Prayer Handbook 2013
  • Stating the Gospel – David Thompson ed 1990
    Formulations and Declarations of Faith from the heritage of the URC
  • Reforming Theology – David Peel 2002
    The theological traditions of the URC
  • Shaping Up – Ernest Marvin 2005 (a former minister of St Columba’s)
    Re-forming Reformed Worship
  • Letting God be God – David Cornick 2008
    Reformed Spirituality
  • Being Biblical – John Campbell 2003
    Using the Bible in constructing ethics today
  • Rejoice and Sing 1991
    United Reformed Church hymnal


  • Columba: Pilgrim and Penitent – Ian Bradley 1996
    2013 sees the 1450th anniversary of St Columba’s arrival in Scotland 1450 years
  • Sisters of Sinai – Janet Soskice 2009
    The sisters from Cambridge who founded Westminster