Scottish Covenanters Form First Presbytery in Pennsylvania
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Time Period
1774
Description
"Covenanters" got their name from their adherence to the National Covenant of 1638, which established a Presbyterian form of church governance in Scotland in opposition to those who wanted to impose an Anglican, English-facing church.

As Covenanters emigrated to the American colonies, they continued to find their identity in the old country, not the new world like evangelical Presbyterianism. They particularly did not support political divisions between church and state in the U.S.

The first Covenanter church in the colonies was founded in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1743, but it was not until two ministers were sent from Scotland in 1774 that they could form a presbytery. In 1798 the denomination named itself the Reformed Presbyterians of the United States of America, later changed to the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA). Today the RPCNA reports some 6,600 members in 81 churches centered in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and the Midwest.
Interactive Timeline(s)
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Religious Groups
Presbyterian-Reformed Family: Other ARDA Links

Photographs

Middle Octorara Reformed Presbyterian Church, Lancaster County, PA- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Nyttend

Covenanter meeting- Internet Archive- from Scotland's Story by H. E. Marshall

Home of John Cuthbertson, Reformed Presbyterian missionary to America- Hathi Trust- from Register of Marriages and Baptisms performed by Rev. John Cuthbertson

Covenanter minister- Hathi Trust- from The Blue Flag by Robert Pollok Kerr

Reformed Presbyterian Church, New Alexandria, PA- Internet Archive- from History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of New Alexandria, PA by J. Calvin Elder and J. Oliver Beatty
Book/Journal Source(s)
Hart, D.G. and John R. Muether, 2007. Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism. P & R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ.
Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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