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1. Presbyterian Church in U. S. of America (Northern), 2. Cumberland Presbyterian,
3. Cumberland Colored, 4. Welsh Calvinistic Methodist, 5. United Presbyterian, 6. Presbyterian Church in the United States (Southern), 7. Associate Church of North America, 8. Associate Reformed Synod of the South, 9. Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (Synod), 10. Reformed Presbyterian Church in N. America (General Synod), 11. Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanted), 12. Reformed Presbyterian Church in U. S. and Canada.
1. —THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA.
The earliest Presbyterian churches in this country go back to the first half of the seventeenth century. The elements composing them were chiefly English Puritans and Scotch and Irish immigrants. On Long Island a church was organized as early as 1640 by a Puritan minister named John Young. Another church was founded at Hempstead two years later. Presbyterian services were held on Manhattan Island in 1643 by Francis Doughty, and a Presbyterian church was established at Newark, N. J., in 1667. The claim has recently been advanced that the oldest Presbyterian church is the First Church of Norfolk, Va., which was established as a congregation on Elizabeth River in the first quarter of the seventeenth century. Rev. Francis Makemie, generally regarded as the father of American Presbyterianism, came to this country in 1683 from Ireland, where he had been a member of the Presbytery of Laggan. He organized a Presbyterian church at Snow Hill, Md., at the close of the century, and in 1706, with John Hampton, an Irishman, and George McNish, a Scotchman, and four other ministersJedediah Andrews (Philadelphia), Nathaniel Taylor (Maryland), and Samuel Davis and John Wilson (Delaware)
organized the first presbytery in America, the Presbytery of Philadelphia. The last four were Puritan ministers who had come from New England; Makemie was Scotch-Irish; Hampton, Irish; and McNish, Scotch.
The same year this presbytery ordained John Boyd at Freehold, N. J.
In 1716, the number of ministers having increased to seventeen and covering an extensive territory, a synod, the Synod of Philadelphia, was formed, and the presbytery was divided into three “subordinate meetings, or presbyteries." In 1741 there was a division in the synod in consequence of differences respecting subscription to the confession of faith and doctrines and practices, which an extensive revival movement brought into prominence. Those contending for a strict subscription and opposing what they regarded as errors of doctrine in the revival movement were known as Old Side, and the other party as New Side, Presbyterians. The latter organized the Synod of New York. In 1758 the two bodies were reunited as the Synod of New York and Philadelphia. At the opening of the Revolutionary War, in 1775, there were in connection with the synod 17 presbyteries and 170 ministers. The church suffered severely in the war for independence, but it became prosperous after peace was declared, and in 1788 the synod decided to organize a general assembly with four synods. It revised and adopted the Westminster Confession and Larger Catechism, form of government, book of discipline, and directory of worship. The first meeting of the general assembly was held in Philadelphia in 1789.
Early in the nineteenth century there was an extensive revival movement in the Cumberland Valley, Tennessee. Differences in doctrine and practice were developed by this movement, and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized.
In 1837, a little more than a century after the division in the Synod of Philadelphia into Old Side and New Side Presbyterians, the church was again divided into Old School and New School Assemblies, chiefly as the result of doctrinal differences concerning the atonement, whether it was general or for the elect only, and of differences concerning creed subscription and polity and discipline. In 1840 the Old School body had about 126,583 communicants, and the New School 102,060. In 1869 the two assemblies agreed to a reunion, which was consummated in the same year.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, in 1861, the churches in the South separated from the churches in the North, adhering to the Old School Assembly. The Southern churches adhering to the New School Assembly had also separated from the Northern churches belonging to the New School Assembly in 1858 on the question of slavery. The two bodies created in the South by this division united in 1865 and formed what is popularly known as the Southern Presbyterian Church.
The church in the North has grown rapidly since the reunion in 1869, and has extended into the South, where it has organized a number of presbyteries, chiefly of colored people. It is represented in all the States except Mississippi, and in all the Territories, including the District of Columbia. The largest number of communicants reported for a single State is 161,386 in Pennsylvania; New York comes second, with 154,083; and Ohio is third, with 82,444. Though there are more communicants in Pennsylvania by 7303 than in New York, the value of the church property in the latter State is much greater than the value of the church property in the former. While the 1086 edifices in Pennsylvania have an aggregate valuation of $15,491,680, the 932 edifices in New York have an aggregate of $21,293,992. Only 26 buildings other than churches are occupied in these two States. The total valuation for the whole church is $74,455,200, indicating an average value for each edifice of $11,173. The average seating capacity is 334. There are 556 halls, with a seating capacity of 57,805.
The general assembly of 1890 appointed a committee to revise the Westminster Confession, so as to soften, without impairing the integrity of the Calvinistic system, some of its expressions, particularly those setting forth the doctrine of preterition. The committee reported a revised confession to the general assembly of 1891, and the draft was sent down to the presbyteries for suggestions. The revision ultimately failed.
There are in all 214 presbyteries, of which 18 are in foreign lands. Of the 196 in this country, given in these tables, that of New York reports the largest number of communicants, 23,873, with 54 organizations and 68 edifices, valued at $8,628,000. The second presbytery in numerical order, the Central Philadelphia, has 38 organizations and 46 edifices, valued at $2,470,500, and 17,600 communicants. The Presbytery of Brooklyn has 17,170 communicants, with 39 edifices, worth $1,536,927.
There are thirty synods, of which two are foreign, one being in India and one in China. Synods are composed of commissioners chosen by the presbyteries. Within a few years they have been rearranged, so that their boundaries correspond with those of the various States as far as possible. There are, however, notable exceptions to this rule. The Synod of the Atlantic includes South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida; that of Catawba, Virginia and North Carolina.
SUMMARY BY STATES.
Seating Value of ComOrgani- Church
Church munizations. Edifices.
pacity. Property. cants. 5 4 1,050
$17,300 152 5 4 1,100 7.750
481 7 3 850 13,900
188 15 12 2,660
26,450 494 213 172 50,271 1,696,725 16,236 74 56
14,595 556,250 5,902 7 9
1,680 32 43 14,970
709,800 15 19 10,600
900,000 34 28
322,000 1,042 16 9 3,000 13,850
1,370 19 15 2,275 40,950 472 475
158,181 4,045,350 54, 744 308 32042 104, 143 2,338,900 35,464 70 54 8,018
39,763 1,803 369 347
300 8,000 70 3
800 8,000 205 77 90 33,020 1,488,124 10,593
18 18 10,125 365,500 3,570 236 230
2,214,636 25,088 167 154
1,292,670 13,732 207 193
54,815 1,328,700 17.272 24 18 4,150
88,000 1,232 228 1542 34,901 576,210 12,159 8 4 865 11,400
275 8 9 3,150
956 300 420
169,357 6,699, 100 58,759 39 17 2,815 45,675 1,275 932
378,411 21,293.992 154,083 109 103 26,650 89, 180 6,516 99 48 9,500 126,425
3,036 618 636 223,553 5,754,350 82,444 17 9 1,850 14.000
61 14,397 416,500 3,935 939 1,086% 427,059 15,491,680 161,386