Presbyterianism
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Presbyterianism is a part of the
Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theology, theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christ ...
within
Protestantism Protestantism is a Christian denomination, branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Reformation, Protestant Reformation, a movement that began seeking to reform the Catholic Church from within in the 16th century agai ...
that broke from the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland by John Knox, who was a priest at St. Giles Cathedral (Church of Scotland). Presbyterian churches derive their name from the
presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism that broke from the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland by John Knox, who was a priest at St. Giles Cathedral (Church of Scotland). Presbyterian churches derive their nam ...
form of church government by representative assemblies of elders. Many Reformed churches are organised this way, but the word ''Presbyterian'', when capitalized, is often applied to churches that trace their roots to the Church of Scotland or to English Dissenter groups that formed during the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governanc ...
. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures, and the necessity of
grace Grace may refer to: Places United States * Grace, Idaho, a city * Grace (CTA station), Chicago Transit Authority's Howard Line, Illinois * Little Goose Creek (Kentucky), location of Grace post office * Grace, Carroll County, Missouri, an unincor ...
through
faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the context of religion, one can define faith as "belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion". Religious people often ...
in Christ. Presbyterian church government was ensured in Scotland by the Acts of Union in 1707, which created the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain (officially Great Britain) was a Sovereign state, sovereign country in Western Europe from 1 May 1707 to the end of 31 December 1800. The state was created by the 1706 Treaty of Union and ratified by the Acts of ...
. In fact, most Presbyterians found in England can trace a Scottish connection, and the Presbyterian denomination was also taken to
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
, mostly by Scots and Scotch-Irish immigrants. The Presbyterian denominations in Scotland hold to the
Reformed theology Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theology, theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christ ...
of
John Calvin John Calvin (; frm, Jehan Cauvin; french: link=no, Jean Calvin ; 10 July 150927 May 1564) was a French Christian theology, theologian, pastor and Protestant Reformers, reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal ...
and his immediate successors, although there is a range of theological views within contemporary Presbyterianism. Local congregations of churches which use
Presbyterian polity Presbyterian (or presbyteral) polity is a method of ecclesiastical polity, church governance ("ecclesiastical polity") typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually ...
are governed by sessions made up of representatives of the congregation ( elders); a conciliar approach which is found at other levels of decision-making ( presbytery,
synod A synod () is a council of a Christian denomination, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word ''wikt:synod, synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the Latin ...
, and general assembly). There are roughly 75 million Presbyterians in the world. The roots of Presbyterianism lie in the
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
of the 16th century, the example of John Calvin's
Republic of Geneva The Canton of Geneva, officially the Republic and Canton of Geneva (french: link=no, République et canton de Genève; frp, Rèpublica et canton de Geneva; german: Republik und Kanton Genf; it, Repubblica e Cantone di Ginevra; rm, Republica e ...
being particularly influential. Most Reformed churches that trace their history back to Scotland are either presbyterian or congregationalist in government. In the twentieth century, some Presbyterians played an important role in the ecumenical movement, including the
World Council of Churches The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a worldwide Christianity , Christian inter-church organization founded in 1948 to work for the cause of ecumenism. Its full members today include the Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox Chur ...
. Many Presbyterian denominations have found ways of working together with other Reformed denominations and Christians of other traditions, especially in the
World Communion of Reformed Churches The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is the largest association of Calvinist churches in the world. It has 230 member denominations in 108 countries, together claiming an estimated 80 million people, thus being List of the largest Prote ...
. Some Presbyterian churches have entered into unions with other churches, such as
Congregationalists Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches or Congregationalism) are Protestant churches in the Calvinist tradition practising Congregationalist polity, congregationalist church governance, in which each Wiktionary:congregation, c ...
,
Lutherans Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism, identifying primarily with the theology of Martin Luther, the 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Cathol ...
,
Anglicans Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Euro ...
, and Methodists. Presbyterians in the United States came largely from Scottish immigrants, Scots-Irish immigrants, and also from
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts Massachusetts (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ''Muhsachuweesut assachusett writing systems, məhswatʃəwiːsət ...
Yankee The term ''Yankee'' and its contracted form ''Yank'' have several interrelated meanings, all referring to people from the United States. Its various senses depend on the context, and may refer to New Englanders, residents of the Northern United St ...
communities that had originally been Congregational but changed because of an agreed-upon Plan of Union of 1801 for frontier areas.


Presbyterian identity


Early history

Presbyterian tradition, particularly that of the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Scottish Reformation, Reformation of 1560, when it split from t ...
, traces its early roots to the Christian Church founded by
Saint Columba Columba or Colmcille; gd, Calum Cille; gv, Colum Keeilley; non, Kolban or at least partly reinterpreted as (7 December 521 – 9 June 597 AD) was an Gaelic Ireland, Irish abbot and missionary evangelist credited with spreading Christianity ...
, through the 6th century
Hiberno-Scottish mission The Hiberno-Scottish mission was a series of expeditions in the 6th and 7th centuries by Gaels, Gaelic Missionary, missionaries originating from Ireland that spread Celtic Christianity in Scotland, Wales, History of Anglo-Saxon England, England ...
. Tracing their apostolic origin to Saint John, the Culdees practised
Christian monasticism Christian monasticism is the devotional practice of Christians who live Asceticism#Christianity, ascetic and typically cloistered lives that are dedicated to Christian worship. It began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, m ...
, a key feature of
Celtic Christianity Celtic Christianity ( kw, Kristoneth; cy, Cristnogaeth; gd, Crìosdaidheachd; gv, Credjue Creestee/Creestiaght; ga, Críostaíocht/Críostúlacht; br, Kristeniezh; gl, Cristianismo celta) is a form of Christianity Christianity is an ...
in the region, with a
presbyter Presbyter () is an honorific title for Christian clergy. The word derives from the Greek ''presbyteros,'' which means elder or senior, although many in the ancient Christian, Christian antiquity would understand ''presbyteros'' to refer to the bis ...
exercising "authority within the institution, while the different monastic institutions were independent of one another." The Church in Scotland kept the Christian feast of Easter at a date different from the
See of Rome The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome, Petrine See or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome. It includes the apostolic see, apostolic episcopal see of the ...
and its monks used a unique style of
tonsure Tonsure () is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp as a sign of religious devotion or humility. The term originates from the Latin word ' (meaning "clipping" or "shearing") and referred to a specific practice in ...
. The
Synod of Whitby In the Synod of Whitby in 664, King Oswiu of Northumbria ruled that his kingdom would calculate Easter and observe the monastic tonsure according to the customs of Roman Catholic, Rome rather than the customs practiced by Irish monks at Iona and i ...
in 664, however, ended these distinctions as it ruled "that Easter would be celebrated according to the Roman date, not the Celtic date." Although Roman influence came to dominate the Church in Scotland, certain Celtic influences remained in the Scottish Church, such as "the singing of metrical psalms, many of them set to old Celtic Christianity Scottish traditional and folk tunes", which later became a "distinctive part of Scottish Presbyterian worship".


Development

Presbyterian history is part of the
history of Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christianity, Christian religion, Christendom, Christian countries, and the Christians with their various Christian denomination, denominations, from the Christianity in the 1st century, 1st century ...
, but the beginning of Presbyterianism as a distinct movement occurred during the 16th-century
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
. As the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
resisted the Reformers, several different theological movements splintered from the Church and bore different denominations. Presbyterianism was especially influenced by the French theologian
John Calvin John Calvin (; frm, Jehan Cauvin; french: link=no, Jean Calvin ; 10 July 150927 May 1564) was a French Christian theology, theologian, pastor and Protestant Reformers, reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal ...
, who is credited with the development of
Reformed theology Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theology, theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christ ...
, and the work of
John Knox John Knox ( gd, Iain Cnocc) (born – 24 November 1572) was a Scottish Ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, minister, Reformed theology, Reformed Christian theology, theologian, and writer who was a leader of Scottish Reformation, ...
, a Scottish Catholic Priest who studied with Calvin in Geneva. He brought back Reformed teachings to Scotland. The Presbyterian church traces its ancestry back primarily to Scotland. In August 1560, the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland from the 13th century until 1707. The parliament evolved during the early 13th century from the king's council of ...
adopted the '' Scots Confession'' as the creed of the Scottish Kingdom. In December 1560, the '' First Book of Discipline'' was published, outlining important doctrinal issues but also establishing regulations for church government, including the creation of ten ecclesiastical districts with appointed superintendents which later became known as presbyteries. In time, the Scots Confession would be supplanted by the
Westminster Confession of Faith The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the Stat ...
, and the larger and shorter catechisms, which were formulated by the
Westminster Assembly The Westminster Assembly of Divines was a council of Divinity (academic discipline), divines (theologians) and members of the English Parliament appointed from 1643 to 1653 to restructure the Church of England. Several Scots also attended, and ...
between 1643 and 1649.


Characteristics

Presbyterians distinguish themselves from other denominations by
doctrine Doctrine (from la, Wikt:doctrina, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification (law), codification of beliefs or a body of teacher, teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given ...
, institutional organisation (or "church order") and
worship Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being who is considered divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as a god In monotheistic thought ...
; often using a "Book of Order" to regulate common practice and order. The origins of the Presbyterian churches are in
Calvinism Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theology, theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christ ...
. Many branches of Presbyterianism are remnants of previous splits from larger groups. Some of the splits have been due to doctrinal controversy, while some have been caused by disagreement concerning the degree to which those ordained to church office should be required to agree with the
Westminster Confession of Faith The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the Stat ...
, which historically serves as an important confessional document – second only to the Bible, yet directing particularities in the standardisation and translation of the Bible – in Presbyterian churches. Presbyterians place great importance upon education and lifelong learning, tempered with the belief that no human action can affect
salvation Salvation (from Latin: ''salvatio'', from ''salva'', 'safe, saved') is the state of being saved or protected from harm or a dire situation. In religion and theology, ''salvation'' generally refers to the deliverance of the soul from sin and its c ...
. Continuous study of the scriptures, theological writings, and understanding and interpretation of church doctrine are embodied in several statements of faith and catechisms formally adopted by various branches of the church, often referred to as " subordinate standards". When the women with Eliza Thompson gathered to pray at a Presbyterian church in Hillsboro, Ohio, this became the birthplace of the highly influential Woman’s Temperance Crusade. Presbyterian evangelist Billy Sunday also persuaded many thousands who drank to turn to Christ instead - wanting Christ now and no more alcohol.


Government

Presbyterian government is by councils (still known as ''courts'' in some countries, as ''boards'' in others) of elders. Teaching and ruling elders are ordained and convene in the lowest council known as a ''session'' or '' consistory'' responsible for the discipline, nurture, and mission of the local
congregation A congregation is a large gathering of people, often for the purpose of worship Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being who is considered divine or sacred. The ''O ...
. Teaching elders (pastors or ministers) have responsibility for teaching, worship, and performing sacraments. Pastors or ministers are called by individual congregations. A congregation issues a call for the pastor or minister's service, but this call must be ratified by the local presbytery. The pastor or minister is a teaching elder, and Moderator of the Session, but is not usually a member of the congregation; instead, this person is a member of the Presbytery of which the given church is a member. Ruling elders are men or women who are elected by the congregation and ordained to serve with the teaching elders, assuming responsibility for the nurture and leadership of the congregation. Often, especially in larger congregations, the elders delegate the practicalities of buildings, finance, and temporal ministry to the needy in the congregation to a distinct group of officers (sometimes called deacons, which are ordained in some denominations). This group may variously be known as a "Deacon Board", "Board of Deacons" "Diaconate", or "Deacons' Court". These are sometimes known as "presbyters" to the full congregation. Above the sessions exist presbyteries, which have area responsibilities. These are composed of teaching elders and ruling elders from each of the constituent congregations. The presbytery sends representatives to a broader regional or national assembly, generally known as the General Assembly, although an intermediate level of a ''
synod A synod () is a council of a Christian denomination, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word ''wikt:synod, synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the Latin ...
'' sometimes exists. This congregation / presbytery /
synod A synod () is a council of a Christian denomination, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word ''wikt:synod, synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the Latin ...
/ general assembly schema is based on the historical structure of the larger Presbyterian churches, such as the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Scottish Reformation, Reformation of 1560, when it split from t ...
or the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); some bodies, such as the
Presbyterian Church in America The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the second-largest Presbyterian church body, behind the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the largest conservative Calvinist denomination in the United States. The PCA is Calvinist, Reformed in theology ...
and the
Presbyterian Church in Ireland The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI; ga, Eaglais Phreispitéireach in Éirinn; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ''Prisbytairin Kirk in Airlann'') is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the Republic of Ireland, and the largest Prote ...
, skip one of the steps between congregation and General Assembly, and usually the step skipped is the Synod. The
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Scottish Reformation, Reformation of 1560, when it split from t ...
abolished the Synod in 1993. Presbyterian governance is practiced by Presbyterian denominations and also by many other
Reformed churches Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theology, theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christ ...
.


Doctrine

Presbyterianism is historically a confessional tradition. This has two implications. The obvious one is that confessional churches express their faith in the form of "confessions of faith," which have some level of authoritative status. However this is based on a more subtle point: In confessional churches, theology is not solely an individual matter. While individuals are encouraged to understand Scripture, and may challenge the current institutional understanding, theology is carried out by the community as a whole. It is this community understanding of theology that is expressed in confessions.D. G. Hart, "The Lost Soul of American Protestantism." Rowman and Littlefield, 2004 However, there has arisen a spectrum of approaches to confessionalism. The manner of subscription, or the degree to which the official standards establish the actual doctrine of the church, turns out to be a practical matter. That is, the decisions rendered in ordination and in the courts of the church largely determine what the church means, representing the whole, by its adherence to the doctrinal standard. Some Presbyterian traditions adopt only the
Westminster Confession of Faith The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the Stat ...
as the doctrinal standard to which teaching elders are required to subscribe, in contrast to the Larger and Shorter catechisms, which are approved for use in instruction. Many Presbyterian denominations, especially in North America, have adopted all of the Westminster Standards as their standard of doctrine which is subordinate to the Bible. These documents are
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John C ...
ic in their doctrinal orientation. The
Presbyterian Church in Canada The Presbyterian Church in Canada (french: Église presbytérienne du Canada) is a Presbyterian denomination, serving in Canada under this name since 1875. The United Church of Canada claimed the right to the name from 1925 to 1939. According to ...
retains the Westminster Confession of Faith in its original form, while admitting the historical period in which it was written should be understood when it is read. The Westminster Confession is "The principal subordinate standard of the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Scottish Reformation, Reformation of 1560, when it split from t ...
" but "with due regard to liberty of opinion in points which do not enter into the substance of the Faith" (V). This formulation represents many years of struggle over the extent to which the confession reflects the Word of God and the struggle of conscience of those who came to believe it did not fully do so (e.g. William Robertson Smith). Some Presbyterian Churches, such as the Free Church of Scotland, have no such "
conscience Conscience is a cognitive process that elicits emotion and rational associations based on an individual's ethics, moral philosophy or value system. Conscience stands in contrast to elicited emotion or thought due to associations based on immedi ...
clause". The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has adopted the '' Book of Confessions'', which reflects the inclusion of other Reformed confessions in addition to the Westminster Standards. These other documents include ancient creedal statements (the
Nicene Creed The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea in 325. In 381, it was amended at the First Council of Constantinople. The amended form is a ...
, the
Apostles' Creed The Apostles' Creed (Ecclesiastical Latin, Latin: ''Symbolum Apostolorum'' or ''Symbolum Apostolicum''), sometimes titled the Apostolic Creed or the Symbol of the Apostles, is a Christianity, Christian creed or "symbol of faith". The creed most ...
), 16th-century Reformed confessions (the Scots Confession, the
Heidelberg Catechism The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), one of the Three Forms of Unity, is a Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jes ...
, the
Second Helvetic Confession The Helvetic Confessions are two documents expressing the common belief of the Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism t ...
), and 20th century documents ( The Theological Declaration of Barmen, Confession of 1967 and A Brief Statement of Faith). The Presbyterian Church in Canada developed the confessional document ''Living Faith'' (1984) and retains it as a subordinate standard of the denomination. It is confessional in format, yet like the Westminster Confession, draws attention back to original Bible text. Presbyterians in Ireland who rejected Calvinism and the Westminster Confessions formed the Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland. John Gresham Machen, the prominent Presbyterian theologian and Professor of
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...
at
Princeton Seminary Princeton Theological Seminary (PTSem), officially The Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, is a Private university, private seminary, school of theology in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1812 under the auspices of Archibald Alexan ...
between 1906 and 1929, led a revolt against modernist doctrine in his ''Christianity and Liberalism'' (1923) that critiqued theological modernism. He argued that modernism and liberal theology was a false religion, a pretender that cloaks itself in Christian language - "Liberalism". This religion is a marriage of naturalism, humanism, secularism, and sentimentalism all rolled into one.


Worship and sacraments


Worship

Presbyterian denominations that trace their heritage to the British Isles usually organise their church services inspired by the principles in the
Directory of Public Worship The ''Directory for Public Worship'' (known in Scotland as the ''Westminster Directory'') is a liturgical manual produced by the Westminster Assembly in 1644 to replace the ''Book of Common Prayer''. Approved by the Parliament of England in 164 ...
, developed by the
Westminster Assembly The Westminster Assembly of Divines was a council of Divinity (academic discipline), divines (theologians) and members of the English Parliament appointed from 1643 to 1653 to restructure the Church of England. Several Scots also attended, and ...
in the 1640s. This directory documented Reformed worship practices and theology adopted and developed over the preceding century by British
Puritan The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Catholic Church, Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and should become m ...
s, initially guided by John Calvin and John Knox. It was enacted as law by the Scottish Parliament, and became one of the foundational documents of Presbyterian church legislation elsewhere. Historically, the driving principle in the development of the standards of Presbyterian worship is the Regulative principle of worship, which specifies that (in worship), what is not commanded is forbidden. Over subsequent centuries, many Presbyterian churches modified these prescriptions by introducing hymnody, instrumental accompaniment, and ceremonial
vestment Vestments are liturgy, liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christianity, Christian religion, especially by Eastern Christianity, Eastern Churches, Catholic Church, Catholics (of all rites), Anglicans, and Lutherans. ...
s into worship. However, there is not one fixed "Presbyterian" worship style. Although there are set services for the
Lord's Day The Lord's Day in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the ...
in keeping with first-day Sabbatarianism, one can find a service to be evangelical and even revivalist in tone (especially in some conservative denominations), or strongly liturgical, approximating the practices of
Lutheranism Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism, identifying primarily with the theology of Martin Luther, the 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Cathol ...
or more of
Anglicanism Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Euro ...
(especially where Scottish tradition is esteemed), or semi-formal, allowing for a balance of hymns, preaching, and congregational participation (favored by probably most American Presbyterians). Most Presbyterian churches follow the traditional liturgical year and observe the traditional holidays, holy seasons, such as Advent, Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, etc. They also make use of the appropriate seasonal liturgical colors, etc. Many incorporate ancient liturgical prayers and responses into the communion services and follow a daily, seasonal, and festival lectionary. Other Presbyterians, however, such as the Reformed Presbyterians, would practice
a cappella ''A cappella'' (, also , ; ) music is a performance by a singer or a singing group without Musical instrument, instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. The term ''a cappella'' was originally intended to differ ...
exclusive psalmody Exclusive psalmody is the practice of singing only the biblical Psalms The Book of Psalms ( or ; he, תְּהִלִּים, , lit. "praises"), also known as the Psalms, or the Psalter, is the first book of the ("Writings"), the third secti ...
, as well as eschew the celebration of holy days. Among the paleo-orthodox and
emerging church The emerging church is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life ...
movements in Protestant and evangelical churches, in which some Presbyterians are involved, clergy are moving away from the traditional black
Geneva gown The Geneva Gown, also called a pulpit gown, pulpit robe, or preaching robe, is an ecclesiastical garment convention (norm), customarily worn by Ordained Minister (Christianity), Ministers and Accredited Lay Preachers in the Christian Churches ...
to such vestments as the alb and
chasuble The chasuble () is the outermost Christian liturgy, liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist in Western-tradition Christianity, Christian churches that use full vestments, primarily in Catholic Church, Roman Catholic ...
, but also
cassock The cassock or soutane is a Christianity, Christian clerical clothing coat used by the clergy and Consecrated life, male religious of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, in addition to some clergy ...
and
surplice A surplice (; Late Latin ''superpelliceum'', from ''super'', "over" and ''pellicia'', "fur garment") is a liturgy, liturgical vestment of Western Christianity. The surplice is in the form of a tunic of white linen or cotton fabric, reaching t ...
(typically a full-length Old English style surplice which resembles the
Celtic Celtic, Celtics or Keltic may refer to: Language and ethnicity *pertaining to Celts The Celts (, see Names of the Celts#Pronunciation, pronunciation for different usages) or Celtic peoples () are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time pe ...
alb, an ungirdled liturgical tunic of the old
Gallican Rite The Gallican Rite is a historical version of Christian liturgy Christian liturgy is a pattern for worship used (whether recommended or prescribed) by a Christian congregation or denomination on a regular basis. The term liturgy comes from G ...
), which some, particularly those identifying with the Liturgical Renewal Movement, hold to be more ancient and representative of a more ecumenical past.


Sacraments

Presbyterians traditionally have held the Worship position that there are only two
sacraments A sacrament is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is recognized as being particularly important and significant. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments ...
: *
Baptism Baptism (from grc-x-koine, βάπτισμα, váptisma) is a form of ritual purification—a characteristic of many religions throughout time and geography. In Christianity, it is a Christian sacrament of initiation and adoption, almost i ...
, in which they would baptize infants, as well as unbaptized adults by the
Aspersion Aspersion (Latin, la. ''aspergere/aspersio''), in a religious context, is the act of sprinkling with water, especially holy water. Aspersion is a method used in baptism as an alternative to Immersion baptism, immersion or affusion. The word is form ...
(sprinkling) or
Affusion Affusion (Latin, la. ''affusio'') is a method of baptism where water is poured on the head of the person being baptized. The word "affusion" comes from the Latin ''affusio'', meaning "to pour on". Affusion is one of four methods of baptism used b ...
(pouring) method in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, rather than the Immersion method. * The
Lord's Supper The Eucharist (; from Greek , , ), also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an Ordinance (Christianity), ordinance in ot ...
(also known as Communion), in which Presbyterians believe in the Real Presence of Christ (pneumatic presence) in the spiritual sense, in the bread and wine through the Holy Spirit, as opposed to being locally present as in transubstantiation or consubstantiation.


Architecture

Some early Presbyterians, which were influenced by the puritan movement, were careful to distinguish between the "church," which referred to the ''members'', and the "meeting house," which was the building in which the church met. Until the late 19th century, very few Presbyterians ever referred to their buildings as "churches." Presbyterians believed that meeting-houses (now called churches) are buildings to support the worship of God. The decor in some instances was austere so as not to detract from worship. Early Presbyterian meeting-houses were extremely plain. No stained glass, no elaborate furnishings, and no images were to be found in the meeting-house. The pulpit, often raised so as only to be accessible by a staircase, was the centerpiece of the building. But these were not the standard characteristics of the mainline Presbyterians. These were more of the wave of Presbyterians that were influenced by the Puritans. In the late 19th century a gradual shift began to occur. Prosperous congregations built imposing churches, such as Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago and Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania, St Stephen Presbyterian in Fort Worth, Texas, and many many others. Usually a Presbyterian church will not have statues of saints, nor the ornate altar more typical of a
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan c ...
church. Instead, one will find a "communion table," usually on the same level as the congregation, and sometimes elevated like one would see with an altar, however surrounded by the chancel. There may be a rail between the communion table and the chancel behind it, which may contain a more decorative altar-type table, choir loft, or choir stalls, lectern and clergy area. The altar is called the communion table, and the altar area is called the chancel by Presbyterians. In Presbyterian, and in Reformed churches, there may be an altar cross, either on the communion table or on a table in the chancel. By using the "empty" cross, or cross of the Westminster/Celtic cross, Presbyterians emphasize the resurrection and that Christ is not continually dying, but died once and is alive for all eternity. Quite a few Presbyterian church buildings are often decorated with a cross, that has a circle around the center, or Celtic cross. This not only emphasizes the resurrection, but also acknowledges historical aspects of Presbyterianism. A baptismal font will be located either at the entrance or near the chancel area. Presbyterian architecture generally makes significant use of symbolism. One may also find decorative and ornate stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Bible. Some Presbyterian churches will also have ornate statues of Christ or graven scenes from the Last Supper located behind the Chancel. St. Giles' Cathedral in Scotland does have a crucifix next to an ornate elevated communion table that hangs alongside. The image of Christ is more of a faint image, with a more modern design.


By region


Europe


Scotland

John Knox John Knox ( gd, Iain Cnocc) (born – 24 November 1572) was a Scottish Ministers and elders of the Church of Scotland, minister, Reformed theology, Reformed Christian theology, theologian, and writer who was a leader of Scottish Reformation, ...
(1505–1572), a
Scot The Scots ( sco, Scots Fowk; gd, Albannaich) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish the ...
who had spent time studying under Calvin in Geneva, returned to
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
and urged his countrymen to reform the Church in line with
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John C ...
doctrines. After a period of religious convulsion and political conflict culminating in a victory for the Protestant party at the
Siege of Leith The siege of Leith ended a twelve-year encampment of French troops at Leith, the port near Edinburgh, Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland. The French troops arrived by invitation in 1548 and left in 1560 after an English force arrived to attempt to a ...
the authority of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...
was abolished in favour of
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
by the legislation of the
Scottish Reformation Parliament The Scottish Reformation Parliament was the assembly commencing in 1560 that claimed to pass major pieces of legislation establishing the Scottish Reformation, most importantly the Confession of Faith Ratification Act 1560; and Papal Jurisdicti ...
in 1560. The Church was eventually organised by
Andrew Melville Andrew Melville (1 August 1545 – 1622) was a Scottish scholar, theologian, poet and religious reformer. His fame encouraged scholars from the European continent Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent of ...
along Presbyterian lines to become the national
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Scottish Reformation, Reformation of 1560, when it split from t ...
.
King James VI and I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and Eng ...
moved the Church of Scotland towards an episcopal form of government, and in 1637, James' successor,
Charles I Charles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of Holy Roman Emperors and French kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of ...
and
William Laud William Laud (; 7 October 1573 – 10 January 1645) was a bishop in the Church of England. Appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by Charles I of England, Charles I in 1633, Laud was a key advocate of Caroline era#Religion, Charles I's religious re ...
, the
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally resp ...
, attempted to force the Church of Scotland to use the
Book of Common Prayer The ''Book of Common Prayer'' (BCP) is the name given to a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion and by other Christianity, Christian churches historically related to Anglicanism. The original book, published in 1549 ...
. What resulted was an armed insurrection, with many Scots signing the ''
Solemn League and Covenant The Solemn League and Covenant was an agreement between the Scottish Covenanters and the leaders of the English Roundhead, Parliamentarians in 1643 during the First English Civil War, a theatre of conflict in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. On 1 ...
''. The
Covenanter Covenanters ( gd, Cùmhnantaich) were members of a 17th-century Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish religious and political movement, who supported a Presbyterian polity, Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the primacy of its leaders in religious af ...
s would serve as the government of Scotland for nearly a decade, and would also send military support to the Parliamentarians during the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governanc ...
. Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II, despite the initial support that he received from the Covenanters, reinstated an episcopal form of government on the church. However, with the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus , also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or ''Glorious Crossing'' in the Netherlands, is the sequence of events leading to the deposition of King James II and ...
of 1688 the Church of Scotland was finally unequivocally recognised as a Presbyterian institution by the monarch due to Scottish Presbyterian support for the aforementioned revolution and the
Acts of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Act of Parliament, Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act 1707 passed by the Parliament of Scotland. They put ...
between Scotland and England guaranteed the Church of Scotland's form of government. However, legislation by the
United Kingdom parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
allowing
patronage Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows on another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists su ...
led to splits in the Church. In 1733, a group of ministers seceded from the Church of Scotland to form the Associate Presbytery, another group seceded in 1761 to form the Relief Church and the
Disruption of 1843 The Disruption of 1843, also known as the Great Disruption, was a schism in 1843 in which 450 evangelical ministers broke away from the Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland (1843–1900), Free Church of Scotland. The main con ...
led to the formation of the Free Church of Scotland. Further splits took place, especially over theological issues, but most Presbyterians in Scotland were reunited by 1929 union of the established Church of Scotland and the
United Free Church of Scotland The United Free Church of Scotland (UF Church; gd, An Eaglais Shaor Aonaichte, sco, The Unitit Free Kirk o Scotland) is a Scottish Presbyterian denomination formed in 1900 by the union of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland (or UP) an ...
. There are now eight Presbyterian denominations in Scotland today. These are, in order of size: the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Scottish Reformation, Reformation of 1560, when it split from t ...
, the Free Church of Scotland, the
United Free Church of Scotland The United Free Church of Scotland (UF Church; gd, An Eaglais Shaor Aonaichte, sco, The Unitit Free Kirk o Scotland) is a Scottish Presbyterian denomination formed in 1900 by the union of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland (or UP) an ...
, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), the Associated Presbyterian Church, the
Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland is a small, Scottish, Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism that broke from the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland by John Knox, who was a priest ...
, and the International Presbyterian Church. Combined, they have over 1500 congregations in Scotland. Within Scotland the term '
kirk Kirk is a Scottish and former Northern English word meaning "church". It is often used specifically of the Church of Scotland. Many place names and personal names are also derived from it. Basic meaning and etymology As a common noun, ''kirk'' ...
' is usually used to refer to a local Presbyterian church. Informally, the term 'The Kirk' refers to the Church of Scotland. Some of the values and ideals espoused in Scottish Presbyterian denominations can be reflected in this reference in a book from Norman Drummond, chaplain to the Queen in Scotland.


England

In England, Presbyterianism was established in secret in 1592. Thomas Cartwright is thought to be the first Presbyterian in England. Cartwright's controversial lectures at
Cambridge University The University of Cambridge is a Public university, public collegiate university, collegiate research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by Henry III of England, Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the world' ...
condemning the episcopal hierarchy of the Elizabethan Church led to his deprivation of his post by Archbishop
John Whitgift John Whitgift (c. 1530 – 29 February 1604) was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1583 to his death. Noted for his hospitality, he was somewhat ostentatious in his habits, sometimes visiting Canterbury and other towns attended by a retinue of 8 ...
and his emigration abroad. Between 1645 and 1648, a series of ordinances of the
Long Parliament The Long Parliament was an Parliament of England, English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament, which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640 after an Personal Rule, 11-y ...
established Presbyterianism as the polity of the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
. Presbyterian government was established in London and Lancashire and in a few other places in England, although Presbyterian hostility to the
execution Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned practice of deliberately killing a person as a punishment for an actual or supposed crime, usually following an authorized, rule-governed process to ...
of
Charles I Charles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of Holy Roman Emperors and French kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of ...
and the establishment of the republican
Commonwealth of England The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales, later along with Ireland and Scotland, were governed as a republic after the end of the Second English Civil War and the High Court of Ju ...
meant that Parliament never enforced the Presbyterian system in England. The Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 brought the return of
Episcopal church government An episcopal polity is a Hierarchy, hierarchical form of Ecclesiastical polity, church governance ("ecclesiastical polity") in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. (The word "bishop" derives, via the British Latin and Vulgar ...
in England (and in Scotland for a short time); but the Presbyterian church in England continued in Non-Conformity, outside of the established church. In 1719 a major split, the Salter's Hall controversy, occurred; with the majority siding with
nontrinitarian Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity that rejects the mainstream Christian theology, Christian doctrine of the Trinity—the belief that God in Christianity, God is three distinct Hypostasis (philosophy and religion), hypostases or perso ...
views. Thomas Bradbury published several sermons bearing on the controversy, and in 1719, "An answer to the reproaches cast on the dissenting ministers who subscribed their belief of the Eternal Trinity." By the 18th century many English Presbyterian congregations had become Unitarian in doctrine. A number of new Presbyterian Churches were founded by Scottish immigrants to England in the 19th century and later. Following the 'Disruption' in 1843 many of those linked to the Church of Scotland eventually joined what became the Presbyterian Church of England in 1876. Some, such as Crown Court (Covent Garden, London), St Andrew's (Stepney, London) and
Swallow Street Swallow Street is a small street in the West End of London, running north from Piccadilly. It is about long. History The street was previously much longer and stretched as far north as Oxford Street. The first section of the street was built ...
(London), did not join the English denomination, which is why there are Church of Scotland congregations in England such as those at
Crown Court The Crown Court is the court of first instance of England and Wales responsible for hearing all Indictable offence, indictable offences, some Hybrid offence, either way offences and appeals lied to it by the Magistrates' court, magistrates' court ...
, and St Columba's, Pont Street (Knightsbridge) in London. There is also a congregation in the heart of London's financial district called London City Presbyterian Church that is also affiliated with Free Church of Scotland. In 1972, the Presbyterian Church of England (PCofE) united with the
Congregational Church in England and Wales The Congregational Union of England and Wales brought together churches in England and Wales in the Congregational tradition between 1831 and 1966. The Congregational churches emerged from the History of the Puritans from 1649, Puritan movement, e ...
to form the
United Reformed Church The United Reformed Church (URC) is a Protestant Christian church in the United Kingdom. As of 2022 it has approximately 40,000 members in 1,284 congregations with 334 stipendiary ministers. Origins and history The United Reformed Church resulte ...
(URC). Among the congregations the PCofE brought to the URC were Tunley (Lancashire), Aston Tirrold (Oxfordshire) and John Knox Presbyterian Church, Stepney, London (now part of Stepney Meeting House URC) – these are among the sole survivors today of the English Presbyterian churches of the 17th century. The URC also has a presence in Scotland, mostly of former Congregationalist Churches. Two former Presbyterian congregations, St Columba's, Cambridge (founded in 1879), and St Columba's, Oxford (founded as a chaplaincy by the PCofE and the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Scottish Reformation, Reformation of 1560, when it split from t ...
in 1908 and as a congregation of the PCofE in 1929), continue as congregations of the URC and university chaplaincies of the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Scottish Reformation, Reformation of 1560, when it split from t ...
. In recent years a number of smaller denominations adopting Presbyterian forms of church government have organised in England, including the International Presbyterian Church planted by evangelical theologian
Francis Schaeffer Francis August Schaeffer (January 30, 1912 – May 15, 1984) was an American evangelicalism, evangelical theology, theologian, Christian philosophy, philosopher, and Bible Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian pastor. He co-founded the L'Abri c ...
of the L'Abri Fellowship in the 1970s, and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales founded in the North of England in the late 1980s.


Wales

In
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
, Presbyterianism is represented by the
Presbyterian Church of Wales The Presbyterian Church of Wales ( cy, Eglwys Bresbyteraidd Cymru), also known as Calvinistic Methodist Church (), is a denomination of Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Ab ...
, which was originally composed largely of
Calvinistic Methodists Calvinistic Methodists were born out of the 18th-century Welsh Methodist revival and survive as a body of Christians now forming the Presbyterian Church of Wales. Calvinistic Methodism became a major denomination in Wales, growing rapidly in the ...
who accepted Calvinist theology rather than the
Arminianism Arminianism is a branch of Protestantism based on the Christian theology, theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) and his historic supporters known as Remonstrants. Dutch Arminianism was originally arti ...
of the Wesleyan Methodists. They broke off from the Church of England in 1811, ordaining their own ministers. They were originally known as the Calvinist Methodist connexion and in the 1920s it became alternatively known as the Presbyterian Church of Wales.


Ireland

Presbyterianism ( ga, Preispitéireachas) is the largest Protestant denomination in
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
and the second largest on the island of Ireland (after the
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, ...
Church of Ireland The Church of Ireland ( ga, Eaglais na hÉireann, ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots, Kirk o Airlann, ) is a Christian church in Ireland and an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. It is organised on an all-Ireland bas ...
), and was brought by Scottish plantation settlers to
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional provinces of Ireland, Irish provinces. It is made up of nine Counties of Ireland, counties: si ...
who had been strongly encouraged to emigrate by James VI of Scotland, also James I of Ireland and England. An estimated 100,000 Scottish Presbyterians moved to the northern counties of Ireland between 1607 and the
Battle of the Boyne The Battle of the Boyne ( ga, Cath na Bóinne ) was a battle in 1690 between the forces of the Glorious Revolution, deposed King James II of England, James II of England and Ireland, VII of Scotland, and those of King William III of England, ...
in 1690. The Presbytery of Ulster was formed in 1642 separately from the established Anglican Church. Presbyterians, along with
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan c ...
s in Ulster and the rest of Ireland, suffered under the discriminatory Penal Laws until they were revoked in the early 19th century. Presbyterianism is represented in Ireland by the
Presbyterian Church in Ireland The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI; ga, Eaglais Phreispitéireach in Éirinn; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ''Prisbytairin Kirk in Airlann'') is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the Republic of Ireland, and the largest Prote ...
, the Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland, the
Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster :''Distinct from Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland and Free Church of Scotland (post 1900)'' The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster ( ga, Eaglais Phreispitéireach Saor Uladh) is a Calvinist denomination founded by Ian Paisley in 1951. Doctri ...
, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.


France

There is a Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) in central Paris: The Scots Kirk, which is English-speaking, and is attended by many nationalities. It maintains close links with the Church of Scotland in Scotland itself, as well as with the
Reformed Church of France The Reformed Church of France (french: Église réformée de France, ERF) was the main Protestant religious denomination, denomination in France with a Calvinist orientation that could be traced back directly to John Calvin. In 2013, the Church ...
.


Italy

The Waldensian Evangelical Church (Chiesa Evangelica Valdese, CEV) is an Italian Protestant denomination. The church was founded in the 12th century, and centuries later, after the Protestant Reformation, it adhered to Calvinist theology and became the Italian branch of the Presbyterian churches. As such, the church is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.


North America

Even before Presbyterianism spread with immigrants abroad from Scotland, there were divisions in the larger Presbyterian family. Some later rejoined only to separate again. In what some interpret as rueful self-reproach, some Presbyterians refer to the divided Presbyterian churches as the "Split Ps".


United States

Presbyterianism first officially arrived in Colonial America in 1644 with the establishment of Christ's First Presbyterian Church in Hempstead, New York. The Church was organized by the Rev. Richard Denton. Another notable church was established in 1703 the first Presbytery in Philadelphia. In time, the presbytery would be joined by two more to form a synod (1717) and would eventually evolve into the
Presbyterian Church in the United States of America The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA) was the first national Presbyterian denomination in the United States, existing from 1789 to 1958. In that year, the PCUSA merged with the United Presbyterian Church of North Americ ...
in 1789. The nation's largest Presbyterian denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – PC (USA) – can trace their heritage back to the original PCUSA, as can the
Presbyterian Church in America The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the second-largest Presbyterian church body, behind the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the largest conservative Calvinist denomination in the United States. The PCA is Calvinist, Reformed in theology ...
(PCA), the
Orthodox Presbyterian Church The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) is a confessional Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism that broke from the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland by John Knox, who was a priest at St. Gi ...
(OPC), the Bible Presbyterian Church (BPC), the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church The Cumberland Presbyterian Church is a Presbyterian denomination spawned by the Second Great Awakening.Matthew H. Gore, The History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Kentucky to 1988, (Memphis, Tennessee: Joint Heritage Committee, 2000). ...
(CPC), the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), and the
Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians is an Evangelicalism, evangelical Presbyterianism, Presbyterian denomination in the United States. As a Presbyterian church, ECO adheres to Reformed church, Reformed theology and Presbyterian po ...
(ECO). Other Presbyterian bodies in the United States include the
Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) is a Presbyterianism, Presbyterian church with congregations and missions throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, and Chile. Its beliefs—held in common with other members of the Refo ...
(RPCNA), the
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC), as it exists today, is the historical descendant of the Synod of the South, a Synod of the Associate Reformed Church. The original Associate Reformed Church resulted from a merger of the Associate ...
(ARP), the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS), the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly, the Reformed Presbyterian Church – Hanover Presbytery, the Covenant Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Reformed Church, the Westminster Presbyterian Church in the United States, the Korean American Presbyterian Church, and the Free Presbyterian Church of North America. The territory within about a radius of
Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte ( ) is the List of municipalities in North Carolina, most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Located in the Piedmont (United States), Piedmont region, it is the county seat of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Meckl ...
, is historically the greatest concentration of Presbyterianism in the Southern United States, while an almost identical geographic area around
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh ( ) is a city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States, and the county seat of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County. It is the most populous city in both Allegheny County and Wester ...
, Pennsylvania, contains probably the largest number of Presbyterians in the entire nation. The PC(USA), beginning with its predecessor bodies, has, in common with other so-called "mainline" Protestant denominations, experienced a significant decline in members in recent years. Some estimates have placed that loss at nearly half in the last forty years. Presbyterian influence, especially through Princeton theology, can be traced in modern
Evangelicalism Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide interdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity that affirms the centrality of being " born again", in which an individual exp ...
. Balmer says that: In the late 1800s, Presbyterian missionaries established a presence in what is now northern New Mexico. This provided an alternative to the Catholicism, which was brought to the area by the Spanish Conquistadors and had remained unchanged. The area experienced a "mini" reformation, in that many converts were made to Presbyterianism, prompting persecution. In some cases, the converts left towns and villages to establish their own neighboring villages. The arrival of the United States to the area prompted the Catholic church to modernize and make efforts at winning the converts back, many of which did return. However, there are still stalwart Presbyterians and Presbyterian churches in the area. Historically, along with Lutherans and
Episcopalians Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Euro ...
, Presbyterians tend to be considerably wealthier and are better educated (having more graduate and post-graduate degrees per capita) than most other religious groups in United States; a group known as
White Anglo-Saxon Protestants In the United States, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants or WASPs are an ethnoreligious group who are the White Americans, white, American upper class, upper-class, Protestantism in the United States, American Protestant historical elite, typically ...
(WASPs), they are disproportionately represented in the upper reaches of American business, law, and politics.


Canada

In Canada, the largest Presbyterian denomination – and indeed the largest Protestant denomination – was the
Presbyterian Church in Canada The Presbyterian Church in Canada (french: Église presbytérienne du Canada) is a Presbyterian denomination, serving in Canada under this name since 1875. The United Church of Canada claimed the right to the name from 1925 to 1939. According to ...
, formed in 1875 with the merger of four regional groups. In 1925, the
United Church of Canada The United Church of Canada (french: link=no, Église unie du Canada) is a mainline Protestant denomination that is the largest Protestant Christian denomination in Canada and the second largest Canadian Christian denomination after the Catholic ...
was formed by the majority of Presbyterians combining with the
Methodist Church Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related Christian denomination, denominations of Protestantism, Protestant Christianity whose origins, doctrine and practice derive from the life and teachings of John W ...
, Canada, and the Congregational Union of Canada. A sizable minority of Canadian Presbyterians, primarily in southern Ontario but also throughout the entire nation, withdrew, and reconstituted themselves as a non-concurring continuing Presbyterian body. They regained use of the original name in 1939.


Latin America

Presbyterianism arrived in Latin America in the 19th century.


Mexico

The biggest Presbyterian church is the
National Presbyterian Church in Mexico The National Presbyterian Church in Mexico ( es, La Iglesia Nacional Presbiteriana de México A.R.) is the second-largest Protestant church, and the largest Reformed church, Reformed denomination in Mexico. It is present throughout the country, an ...
(''Iglesia Nacional Presbiteriana de México''), which has around 2,500,000 members and associates and 3000 congregations, but there are other small denominations like the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Mexico which was founded in 1875 by the Associate Reformed Church in North America. The Independent Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Mexico, the National Conservative Presbyterian Church in Mexico are existing churches in the Reformed tradition.


Brazil

In Brazil, the
Presbyterian Church of Brazil The Presbyterian Church of Brazil ( Portuguese: ''Igreja Presbiteriana do Brasil'', or ''IPB'') is an Evangelical Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide Interdenominationalis ...
(''Igreja Presbiteriana do Brasil'') totals approximately 1,011,300 members; other Presbyterian churches (Independents, United, Conservatives, Renovated, etc.) in this nation have around 350,000 members. The Renewed Presbyterian Church in Brazil was influenced by the charismatic movement and has about 131 000 members as of 2011. The Conservative Presbyterian Church was founded in 1940 and has eight presbyteries. The Fundamentalist Presbyterian church in Brazil was influenced by Karl McIntire and the Bible Presbyterian church USA and has around 1 800 members. The Independent Presbyterian Church in Brasil was founded in 1903 by pastor Pereira, has 500 congregations and 75 000 members. The United Presbyterian Church in Brazil has around 4 000 members. There are also ethnic Korean Presbyterian churches in the country. The Evangelical Reformed Church in Brazil has Dutch origin. The Reformed Churches in Brazil were recently founded by the Canadian Reformed Churches with the Reformed Church in the Netherlands (liberated). Congregational churches present in the country are also part of the Calvinistic tradition in Latin America.


Other Latin American states

There are probably more than four million members of Presbyterian churches in all of Latin America. Presbyterian churches are also present in Peru, Bolivia, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Argentina, Honduras and others, but with few members. The Presbyterian Church in Belize has 17 churches and church plants and there is a Reformed Seminary founded in 2004. Some Latin Americans in North America are active in the Presbyterian Cursillo Movement.


Africa

Presbyterianism arrived in Africa in the 19th century through the work of Scottish missionaries and founded churches such as St Michael and All Angels Church, Blantyre, Malawi. The church has grown extensively and now has a presence in at least 23 countries in the region. African Presbyterian churches often incorporate diaconal ministries, including social services, emergency relief, and the operation of mission hospitals. A number of partnerships exist between presbyteries in Africa and the PC(USA), including specific connections with Lesotho, Cameroon, Malawi, South Africa, Ghana and Zambia. For example, the Lackawanna Presbytery, located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, has a partnership with a presbytery in Ghana. Also the Southminster Presbyterian Church, located near Pittsburgh, has partnerships with churches in Malawi and Kenya. The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, western Africa is also healthy and strong in mostly the southern states of this nation, strong density in the south-eastern states of this country. Beginning from Cross River state, the nearby coastal states, Rivers state, Lagos state to Ebonyi and Abia States. The missionary expedition of Mary Slessor and Hope Waddel and their group in the mid 18th century in this coastal regions of the ten British colony has brought about the beginning and the flourishing of this church in these areas.


Kenya

The Presbyterian Church of East Africa, based in Kenya, is particularly strong, with 500 clergy and 4 million members.


Malawi

The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Malawi has 150 congregations and 17 000–20 000 members. It was a mission of the Free Presbyterian church of Scotland. The Restored Reformed Church works with RPCM. Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Malawi is an existing small church. Part of the Presbyterian Church in Malawi and Zambia is known as CCAP, Church of Central Africa-Presbyterian. Often the churches there have one main congregation and a number of prayer houses develop. Education, health ministries, and worship and spiritual development are important.


Southern Africa

Southern Africa is a major base of Reformed and Presbyterian Churches.


Northern Africa

* The Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and Sudan, founded in 1902 by American missionaries in
Malakal Malakal is a city in South Sudan. It is the capital of Upper Nile (state), Upper Nile State, South Sudan, along the White Nile, White Nile River. It also serves as the headquarter of Malakal county and it used to be the headquarter of Upper Nile R ...
, was deprived of foreign pastors since 1962 by decision of the Sudanese government but it continued to grow. It is now the 3rd largest Christian church in Sudan with 1,000,000 members, now shared between
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān, officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It shares borders with the Central African Republic ...
and
South Sudan South Sudan (; din, Paguot Thudän), officially the Republic of South Sudan ( din, Paankɔc Cuëny Thudän), is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Con ...
.. * The Presbyterian Evangelical Church of Sudan was founded in the north of the country and in Khartoum by the same American missionaries in the late 19th century but left under the guidance of Egyptian evangelical pastors of Coptic origin. In addition, there are a number of Presbyterian Churches in north Africa, the most known is the Nile Synod in Egypt and a recently founded synod for Sudan.


Asia


Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China (CCC) is a uniting church formed by
Presbyterians Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theol ...
and
Congregationalists Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches or Congregationalism) are Protestant churches in the Calvinist tradition practising Congregationalist polity, congregationalist church governance, in which each Wiktionary:congregation, c ...
, which inherited the
Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the Christian theology, theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christ ...
. HKCCCC is also the only mainline Reformed church in Hong Kong. Cumberland Presbyterian Church Yao Dao Secondary School is a Presbyterian school in
Yuen Long Yuen Long is a town in the western New Territories, Hong Kong. To its west lie Hung Shui Kiu (), Tin Shui Wai, Lau Fau Shan and Ha Tsuen, to the south Shap Pat Heung and Tai Tong, to the east Au Tau and Kam Tin (), and to the north ...
,
New Territories The New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong, alongside Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It makes up 86.2% of Hong Kong's territory, and contains around half of the population of Hong Kong. Historically, it is ...
. The
Cumberland Presbyterian Church The Cumberland Presbyterian Church is a Presbyterian denomination spawned by the Second Great Awakening.Matthew H. Gore, The History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Kentucky to 1988, (Memphis, Tennessee: Joint Heritage Committee, 2000). ...
also have a church on the island of
Cheung Chau Cheung Chau (lit. "Long Island") is an island southwest of Hong Kong Island. It is nicknamed the 'dumbbell island (啞鈴島)' due to its shape. It has been inhabited for longer than most other places in Hong Kong, and had a population of 2 ...
. There are also Korean Christians resident in Hong Kong who are Presbyterians.


South Korea

Presbyterian Churches are the biggest and by far the most influential Protestant denominations in South Korea, with close to 20,000 churches affiliated with the two largest Presbyterian denominations in the country. In South Korea there are 9 million Presbyterians, forming the majority of the 15 million Korean
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
s. In South Korea there are 100 different Presbyterian denominations. Most of the Korean Presbyterian denominations share the same name in Korean, 대한예수교장로회 (literally means the Presbyterian Church of Korea or PCK), tracing its roots to the United Presbyterian Assembly before its long history of disputes and schisms. The Presbyterian schism began with the controversy in relation to the Japanese shrine worship enforced during the Japanese colonial period and the establishment of a minor division (Koryu-pa, 고려파, later The Koshin Presbyterian Church in Korea, Koshin 고신) in 1952. And in 1953 the second schism happened when the theological orientation of the Chosun Seminary (later Hanshin University) founded in 1947 could not be tolerated in the PCK and another minor group (The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, Kijang, 기장) was separated. The last major schism had to do with the issue of whether the PCK should join the WCC. The controversy divided the PCK into two denominations, The Presbyterian Church of Korea (Tonghap, 통합) and The General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in Korea (Hapdong, 합동) in 1959. All major seminaries associated with each denomination claim heritage from the Pyung Yang Theological Seminary, therefore, not only Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary and Chongsin University which are related to PCK but also Hanshin University of PROK all celebrated the 100th class in 2007, 100 years from the first graduates of Pyung Yang Theological Seminary. Korean Presbyterian denominations are active in evangelism and many of its missionaries are being sent overseas, being the second biggest missionary sender in the world after the United States. GMS, the missionary body of the "Hapdong" General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches of Korea, is the single largest Presbyterian missionary organization in Korea.. In addition there are many Korean-American Presbyterians in the United States, either with their own church sites or sharing space in pre-existing churches as is the case in Australia, New Zealand and even Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia with Korean immigration. The Korean Presbyterian Church started through the mission of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Australian Presbyterian theological tradition is central to the United States. But after independence, the 'Presbyterian Church in Korea (KoRyuPa)' advocated a Dutch Reformed position. In the 21st century, a new General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Korea (Founder. Ha Seung-moo) in 2012 declared itself an authentic historical succession of Scottish Presbyterian John Knox.


Taiwan

The
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT; ; ) is the largest Protestant Christian Protestantism is a Christian denomination, branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Reformation, Protestant Reformation, a movement th ...
(PCT) is by far the largest Protestant denomination in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
, with some 238,372 members as of 2009 (including a majority of the island's aborigines). English Presbyterian Missionary
James Laidlaw Maxwell James Laidlaw Maxwell Senior (Pe̍h-ōe-jī (; ; ), also sometimes known as the Church Romanization, is an orthography used to write variants of Southern Min Chinese, particularly Taiwanese Hokkien, Taiwanese and Amoy dialect, Amoy Hokkien ...
established the first Presbyterian church in
Tainan Tainan (), officially Tainan City, is a special municipality in southern Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in th ...
in 1865. His colleague George Leslie Mackay, of the Canadian Presbyterian Mission, was active in
Tamsui Tamsui District (Hokkien The Hokkien () Varieties of Chinese, variety of Chinese is a Southern Min language native to and originating from the Minnan region, where it is widely spoken in the south-eastern part of Fujian in southeastern mai ...
and north Taiwan from 1872 to 1901; he founded the island's first university and hospital, and created a written script for
Taiwanese Minnan Taiwanese Hokkien () (; Tâi-lô: ''Tâi-uân-uē''), also known as Taigi/Taigu (; Pe̍h-ōe-jī/Tâi-lô: ''Tâi-gí / Tâi-gú''), Taiwanese, Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien language spoken natively by about 70% ...
. The English and Canadian missions joined as the PCT in 1912. One of the few churches permitted to operate in Taiwan through the era of Japanese rule (1895–1945), the PCT experienced rapid growth during the era of
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT), also referred to as the Guomindang (GMD), the Nationalist Party of China (NPC) or the Chinese Nationalist Party (CNP), is a major political party in the Taiwan, Republic of China, initially on the Mainland China, Chin ...
-imposed martial law (1949–1987), in part due to its support for democracy, human rights, and
Taiwan independence Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
. Former ROC president
Lee Teng-hui Lee Teng-hui (; 15 January 192330 July 2020) was a Taiwanese statesman and economist who served as president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) under Constitution of the Republic of China, the 1947 C ...
(in office 1988–2000) was a Presbyterian.


India

In the mainly Christian Indian state of
Mizoram Mizoram () is a state in Northeast India, with Aizawl as its seat of government and capital city. The name of the state is derived from "Mizo people, Mizo", the endonym, self-described name of the native inhabitants, and "Ram", which in the Mizo ...
, Presbyterianism is the largest of all
Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, tea ...
s. It was brought there by
missionaries A missionary is a member of a Religious denomination, religious group which is sent into an area in order to promote its faith or provide services to people, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development.Tho ...
from
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
in 1897. Prior to Mizoram, Welsh Presbyterians started venturing into the northeast India through the
Khasi Hills The Khasi Hills () is a low mountain formation on the Shillong Plateau in Meghalaya state of India. The Khasi Hills are part of the Garo-Khasi-Jaintia range and connects with the Purvanchal Range and larger Patkai Range further east. Khasi Hills ...
(now in the state of
Meghalaya Meghalaya (, or , meaning "abode of clouds"; from Sanskrit , "cloud" + , "abode") is a states and union territories of India, state in northeastern India. Meghalaya was formed on 21 January 1972 by carving out two districts from the state of As ...
in India) and established Presbyterian churches all over the Khasi Hills from the 1840s onwards. Hence, there is a strong presence of Presbyterians in
Shillong Shillong () is a hill station and the capital of Meghalaya, a Indian state, state in northeastern India, which means "The Abode of Clouds". It is the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district. Shillong is the list of most populous cities in ...
(the present capital of Meghalaya) and the areas adjoining it. The Welsh missionaries built their first church in Sohra (aka
Cherrapunji Cherrapunji () or Sohra is a subdivisional town (Proposed District) East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is the traditional capital of ka ''hima'' Sohra (Khasi tribal kingdom). Sohra has often been credited as being t ...
) in 1846. The Presbyterian church in India was integrated in 1970 into the United Church of Northern India (originally formed in 1924). It is the largest Presbyterian denomination in India.


Oceania


Australia

In Australia, Presbyterianism is the fourth largest denomination of Christianity, with nearly 600,000 Australians claiming to be Presbyterian in the 2006 Commonwealth Census. Presbyterian churches were founded in each colony, some with links to the Church of Scotland and others to the Free Church. There were also congregations originating from United Presbyterian Church of Scotland as well as a number founded by
John Dunmore Lang John Dunmore Lang (25 August 1799 – 8 August 1878) was a Scottish-born Australian Presbyterian minister, writer, historian, politician and activist. He was the first prominent advocate of an independent Australian nation and of Australian rep ...
. Most of these bodies merged between 1859 and 1870, and in 1901 formed a federal union called the
Presbyterian Church of Australia The Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA) is the largest Presbyterian denomination in Australia. (The larger Uniting Church in Australia incorporated about two-thirds of the PCA in 1977.) History Beginnings When captain James Cook landed ...
but retaining their state assemblies. The Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia representing the Free Church of Scotland tradition, and congregations in Victoria of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, originally from Ireland, are the other existing denominations dating from colonial times. In 1977, two-thirds of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, along with most of the
Congregational Union of Australia The Congregational Union of Australia was a Congregational church, Congregational Christian denomination, denomination in Australia that stemmed from the Congregational church, Congregational Church in England as settlers migrated from there to ...
and all the
Methodist Church of Australasia The Methodist Church of Australasia was a Methodist Christian denomination, denomination based in Australia. On 1 January 1902, five Methodist denominations in Australia – the Wesleyan Methodist Church (Great Britain), Wesleyan Methodist Church, ...
, combined to form the
Uniting Church in Australia The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) was founded on 22 June 1977, when most Wiktionary:congregation, congregations of the Methodist Church of Australasia, about two-thirds of the Presbyterian Church of Australia and almost all the churches of ...
. The third who did not unite had various reasons for so acting, often cultural attachment but often conservative theological or social views. The permission for the ordination of women given in 1974 was rescinded in 1991 without affecting the two or three existing woman ministers. The approval of women elders given in the 1960s has been rescinded in all states except New South Wales, which has the largest membership. The theology of the church is now generally conservative and Reformed. A number of small Presbyterian denominations have arisen since the 1950s through migration or schism.


New Zealand

In
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and over 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands. It is the ...
, Presbyterian is the dominant denomination in Otago and Southland due largely to the rich Scottish and to a lesser extent Ulster-Scots heritage in the region. The area around Christchurch, Canterbury, is dominated philosophically by the
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, ...
denomination. Originally there were two branches of Presbyterianism in New Zealand, the northern Presbyterian church which existed in the North Island and the parts of the South Island north of the
Waitaki River The Waitaki River is a large braided river that drains the Mackenzie Basin and runs some south-east to enter the Pacific Ocean between Timaru and Oamaru on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It starts at the confluence of ...
, and the Synod of Otago and Southland, founded by
Free Church A free church is a Christian denomination that is intrinsically separate from government (as opposed to a state church). A free church does not define government policy, and a free church does not accept church theology or policy definitions from ...
settlers in southern South Island. The two churches merged in 1901, forming what is now the
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ) is a major Christian denomination in New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North I ...
. In addition to the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, there is also a more conservative Presbyterian church called Grace Presbyterian Church of New Zealand. Many of its members left the largely liberal PCANZ because they were seeking a more conservative church. It has 17 churches throughout New Zealand.


Vanuatu

The Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu is the largest denomination in the country, with approximately one-third of the population of Vanuatu members of the church. The PCV was taken to Vanuatu by missionaries from Scotland. The PCV (Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu) is headed by a moderator with offices in
Port Vila Port Vila (french: Port-Vila), or simply Vila (; french: Vila; bi, Vila ), is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Vanuatu. It is located on the Efate, island of Efate. Its population in the last census (2009) was 44,040, an incre ...
. The PCV is particularly strong in the provinces of Tafea, Shefa, and
Malampa Malampa is one of the six provinces of Vanuatu, located in the center of the country. It consists of three main islands: Malakula, Ambrym and Paama, and takes its name from the first syllable of their names. It includes a number of other islands ...
. The Province of Sanma is mainly Presbyterian with a strong Roman Catholic minority in the
Francophone French became an international language in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical ...
areas of the province. There are some Presbyterian people, but no organised Presbyterian churches in Penama and Torba, both of which are traditionally Anglican. Vanuatu is the only country in the South Pacific with a significant Presbyterian heritage and membership. The PCV is a founding member of the
Vanuatu Christian Council Vanuatu ( or ; ), officially the Republic of Vanuatu (french: link=no, République de Vanuatu; bi, Ripablik blong Vanuatu), is an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is east of no ...
(VCC). The PCV runs many primary schools and Onesua secondary school. The church is strong in the rural villages.


See also

*
Celtic cross The Celtic cross is a form of Christian cross featuring a halo (religious iconography), nimbus or ring that emerged in Ireland, France and Great Britain in the Early Middle Ages. A type of ringed cross, it became widespread through its use ...
*
English Presbyterianism Presbyterianism in England is practised by followers of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism who practise the Presbyterian polity, Presbyterian form of church government. Dating in England as a movement from 1588, it is distinct from Contin ...
* Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy * Ghost Ranch * Puritan's Pit * Presbyterian confessions of faith *
Religion in Scotland As of the United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 census, Christianity was the largest religion in Scotland with the 53.8% of the Scottish population identifying as Christian when asked: "What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to? ...
* :Presbyterian universities and colleges * :Presbyterians


Churches

* List of Christian denominations#Presbyterianism * List of Presbyterian churches *
St Giles' Cathedral St Giles' Cathedral ( gd, Cathair-eaglais Naomh Giles), or the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is a parish church A parish church (or parochial church) in Christianity is the Church (building), church which acts as the religious centre of a paris ...
, Edinburgh (Church of Scotland) – famous among Presbyterians worldwide for John Knox's success in preaching there


References


Sources

* Stewart J Brown. ''The National Churches of England, Ireland, and Scotland, 1801–46'' (2001) *
William the Baptist
' by James M. Chaney (Reformed Presbyterian perspective on baptism and infant baptism) * Jay E. Adams. ''The Meaning and Mode of Baptism'' Thomas Shepard. (1975) (Reformed Presbyterian perspective on
Aspersion Aspersion (Latin, la. ''aspergere/aspersio''), in a religious context, is the act of sprinkling with water, especially holy water. Aspersion is a method used in baptism as an alternative to Immersion baptism, immersion or affusion. The word is form ...
and
Affusion Affusion (Latin, la. ''affusio'') is a method of baptism where water is poured on the head of the person being baptized. The word "affusion" comes from the Latin ''affusio'', meaning "to pour on". Affusion is one of four methods of baptism used b ...
) *
THE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP OF CHILDREN, AND THEIR RIGHT TO BAPTISM
'' (1662) (Reformed Presbyterian perspective on infants' right to church membership)

– full-text history of early North Carolina and its Presbyterian churches * * William Klempa, ed. ''The Burning Bush and a Few Acres of Snow: The Presbyterian Contribution to Canadian Life and Culture'' (1994) * Marsden, George M. ''The Evangelical Mind and the New School Presbyterian Experience'' (1970) * Mark A Noll. ''Princeton And The Republic, 1768–1822'' (2004) * Frank Joseph Smith, ''The History of the Presbyterian Church in America'', Reformation Education Foundation, Manassas, VA 1985 * William Warren Sweet, ''Religion on the American Frontier, 1783—1840, vol. 2, The Presbyterians'' (1936), primary sources * Ernest Trice Thompson. ''Presbyterians in the South'' vol 1: to 1860; Vol 2: 1861–1890; Vol 3: 1890–1972. (1963–1973) * Leonard J. Trinterud, ''The Forming of an American Tradition: A Re-examination of Colonial Presbyterianism'' (1949) * ''Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America'' (1884) * St.Andrews Prebystarian church in Lahore, Pakista
Church Website
* *


Further reading

* * * *


External links

*
Presbyterian Heritage and History Center

Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing
{{Authority control Christian terminology