a type of Christianity in which the congregation of each church is responsible for its own affairs Culture The Congregational Church is one of the Protestant branches of the Christian Church and has its origins in 16th-century England. It spread to America in the early 17th century with the first English settlers, the Pilgrim Fathers, who came from a group of Congregationalists. Congregationalists were also known as Independents because of their belief that each local group should be independent of any central control. They had most influence during the Puritan period in England when the country was ruled by one of their members, Oliver Cromwell. English and Welsh Congregationalists joined with the Presbyterians to form a new Church, the United Reformed Church.