WHO WE ARE
The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland – the RP Church – has been a recognised part of the Scottish church for a long time and, although it is the second oldest Presbyterian Church in Scotland, it is really as old as the Church of Scotland itself.
Although it springs out of the Scottish Reformation in the 16th century, its more immediate roots are found in the ‘Covenanters’ – those men and women of the 17th century who fought to protect the church from the tyranny of the state. They were sometimes called ‘Cameronians’ in honour of one of their most prominent preachers and an outspoken critic of the monarchy, Richard Cameron – who, incidentally, had a famous Scottish Regiment named after him too (The Cameronians).
It is now widely accepted that these Covenanters, through their principled stand and their writings, didn’t just secure the freedom of the church from state tyranny but also helped to limit the power of the monarchy by advocating a constitutional monarchy such as we now have.
Several thousand of these Covenanters could not accept the terms on which the church in Scotland was re-settled in the so-called ‘Glorious Revolution’ under King William in 1690. Consequently, they chose to remain outside the re-constituted Church of Scotland and commenced a parallel existence which has continued to this day. This existence was originally in local groups meeting for worship and fellowship but, in 1743, they formally organised as the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. For more information on the origin of the RP church, see here.
The RP church was once much stronger than it is at present and it was strongest in central Scotland, Ayrshire and the Borders. Although it took root and spread in other countries, it began to enter into what became serious decline in Scotland from the late 19th century. However, the Scottish RP Church is now, thankfully, seeing renewed growth and is part of a large and growing global family of RP churches throughout the world – these include the churches in Ireland (which has a Training College), North America (which has around 100 congregations, a Theological College and an Arts College), Japan (again, with a Theological College), India and France – as well as an extensive work in an area of the world where sensitivity is required in connection with publicity.
The Glasgow congregation is a new RP congregation which began meeting in the Thornwood Primary school in 2011. However, in 2012, and with God’s evident help and leading, we were able to obtain the Church of Scotland building on Gardner Street, Partick – and that is where we now meet (see 'Where We Meet').