|United Free Church of Scotland|
|Associations||majority incorporated into the Church of Scotland in 1929|
|Merger of||The United Presbyterian Church of Scotland and most of the Free Church of Scotland|
|Members||1988 (Communicant) |
|Official website|| ufcos|
The United Free Church of Scotland (UF Church; Scottish Gaelic : An Eaglais Shaor Aonaichte, Scots : 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) and the majority of the 19th-century Free Church of Scotland. The majority of the United Free Church of Scotland united with the Church of Scotland in 1929.
The Free Church of Scotland seceded from the Church of Scotland in the Disruption of 1843. The United Presbyterian Church was formed in 1847 by a union of the United Secession and Relief Churches, both of which had split from the Church of Scotland. The two denominations united in 1900 to form the United Free Church (except for a small section of the Free Church who rejected the union and continued independently under the name of the Free Church).
The minority of the Free Church, which had refused to join the union, quickly tested its legality. They issued a summons, claiming that in altering the principles of the Free Church, the majority had ceased to be the Free Church of Scotland and therefore forfeited the right to its assets – which should belong to the remaining minority, who were the true 'Free Church'. However, the case was lost in the Court of Session, where Lord Low (upheld by the second division) held that the Assembly of original Free Church had a right, within limits, to change its position.
An appeal to House of Lords, (not delivered until 1 August 1904 due to a judicial death), reversed the Court of Session's decision (by a majority of 5–2), and found the minority entitled to the assets of the Free Church. It was held that, by adopting new standards of doctrine (and particularly by abandoning its commitment to 'the establishment principle' – which was held to be fundamental to the Free Church), the majority had violated the conditions on which the property of the Free Church was held.
The judgement had huge implications; seemingly it deprived the Free Church element of the UF Church of all assets—churches, manses, colleges, missions, and even provision for elderly clergy. It handed large amounts of property to the remnant; more than it could make effective use of. A conference, held in September 1904, between representatives of the UF and the (now distinct) Free Church, to come to some working arrangement, found that no basis for agreement could be found. A convocation of the UF Church, held on 15 December, decided that the union should proceed, and resolved to pursue every lawful means to restore their assets. As a result, the intervention of Parliament was sought.
A parliamentary commission was appointed, consisting of Lords Elgin, Kinnear and Anstruther. The question of interim possession was referred to Sir John Cheyne. The commission sat in public, and after hearing both sides, issued their report in April 1905. They stated that the feelings of both parties towards the other had made their work difficult. They concluded, however, that the Free Church was in many respects unable to carry out the purposes of the trusts, which, under the ruling of the House of Lords, was a condition of their holding the property. They recommended that an executive commission should be set up by act of parliament, in which the whole property of the Free Church, as at the date of the union, should be vested, and which should allocate it to the United Free Church, where the Free Church was unable to carry out the trust purposes.
The Churches (Scotland) Act 1905,  which gave effect to these recommendations, was passed in August. The commissioners appointed were those on whose report the act was formed, plus two others. The allocation of churches and manses was a slow business, but by 1908 over 100 churches had been assigned to the Free Church. Some of the dispossessed UF Church congregations, most of them in the Highlands, found shelter for a time in the parish churches; but it was early decided that in spite of the objection against the erection of more church buildings in districts where many were now standing empty, 60 new churches and manses should at once be built at a cost of about £150,000. In October 1906 the commission intimated that the Assembly Hall, and the New College Buildings, were to belong to the UF Church, while the Free Church received the offices in Edinburgh, and a tenement to be converted into a college, while the library was to be vested in the UF Church, but open to members of both. After having held its Assembly in university class-rooms for two years, and in another hall in 1905, in 1906 the UF Church again occupied the historic buildings of the Free Church. All the foreign missions and all the continental stations were also adjudged to the United Free Church. (Incidentally, the same act also contained provided for the relaxation of subscription in the Church of Scotland, thus Parliament had involved itself in the affairs of all Presbyterian churches.)
|Religion in Scotland|
The United Free Church was during its relatively short existence the second largest Presbyterian church in Scotland. The Free Church brought into the union 1,068 congregations, the United Presbyterians 593. Combined they had a membership of some half a million Scots. The revenue of the former amounted to £706,546, of the latter to £361,743. The missionaries of both churches joined the union, and the united Church was then equipped with missions in various parts of India, in Manchuria, in Africa (Lovedale, Livingstonia, etc.), in Palestine, in Melanesia and in the West Indies.
The UFC was broadly liberal Evangelical in its approach to theology and practical issues. It combined an acceptance of the findings of contemporary science, and the more moderate results of higher criticism with commitment to evangelism and missions. The UFC's approach to doctrinal conformity was fairly liberal for a Presbyterian denomination at the time. In its 1906 Act Anent Spiritual Independence of the Church, its General Assembly asserted the power to modify or define its Subordinate standard (the Westminster Confession) and its laws. Although its subordinate standard remained, ministers and elders were asked to state their belief in "the doctrine of this Church, set forth in the Confession of Faith". Thus the Church's interpretation of doctrine was prioritised over the confession.[ citation needed ]
The UFC had three divinity halls, at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, served by 17 professors and five lecturers. The first moderator was Robert Rainy. Its theologians and scholars have included H.R. Mackintosh, James Moffatt as well as John and Donald Baillie. British Prime Minister Bonar Law was raised in a Canadian Free Church manse and was a member of the United Free Church in Helensburgh. 
As its early days were preoccupied with the aftermath of union, so its later days were with the coming union with the Church of Scotland. The problem was the CofS's position as an established church conflicted with the Voluntaryism of the UFC. Discussions began in 1909, but were complex. The Very Rev William Paterson Paterson, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland made much progress during his period in office 1919/20. 
The main hurdles were overcome by two parliamentary statutes, firstly the Church of Scotland Act 1921, which recognised the Church of Scotland's independence in spiritual matters (a right asserted by its Articles Declaratory of 1919). The second was the Church of Scotland (Properties and Endowments) Act 1925, which transferred the secular endowment of the church to a new body called the General Trustees. These measures satisfied the majority of the UFC that the Church-state entanglement of the Church of Scotland, which had been the cause of the Disruption of 1843 had at last ended. In 1929, the merger with the Church of Scotland largely reversed the Disruption of 1843 and reunited much of Scottish Presbyterianism. On 2 October 1929, at an assembly at the Industrial Hall on Annandale Street off Leith Walk in Edinburgh, the two churches merged.  The Hall is now the central bus depot for Lothian Region Transport.
A relatively small minority stayed out of the union, and retained the name of U.F. Church.
Voluntaryism led some to oppose the union (the United Free Church Association, led by James Barr – minister of Govan and Labour MP for Motherwell). When it came, 13,000 UFC members remained outside, calling themselves the United Free Church (Continuing).  The phrase 'continuing' was used for five years to avoid confusion between the remaining United Free Church and the pre-union Church. It was dropped from the title in 1934. An agreement between the parties avoided the property disputes of the 1900 union. UFC members increased slightly during the 1930s, to a peak of 23, 000 by 1939, but it never regained anywhere near the numbers it had had prior to the union with the Church of Scotland. 
The ongoing UFC continues in the 'broad evangelical' tradition.
The continuing UFC agreed to permit the ordination of female ministers in 1929.  The church elected a woman as its moderator in 1960,  when Elizabeth Barr became the first female moderator of a general assembly of a Scottish church. 
In 2016, the UFC had 53 congregations in its three presbyteries.  These three presbyteries are 'The East', 'The West' and 'The North'.
The General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland meets annually, beginning on the Wednesday after the first Sunday in June, and lasting until the Friday. Since 2008, they have committed to having the General Assembly in a central location, meeting in the Salutation Hotel, Perth. 
In 2016, they had 60 ordained ministers, including retired and those serving part-time. There were three students, and a further three probationer ministers. The denomination has 388 Elders, and 255 Deacons, Managers or board members who are not Elders.
The modern UFC is involved in the ecumenical movement in Scotland and is a member of Action of Churches Together in Scotland.  Internationally, it is a member of the World Council of Churches, 
The denomination currently has 53 congregations.
|Canonbie United Parish Church||Canonbie, Dumfries and Galloway||Joint CoS / UFCS congregation|
|Ardeer UFC||Ardeer, North Ayrshire|
|Largs UFC||Largs, North Ayrshire|
|Maxwell UFC, Kilmaurs||Kilmaurs, East Ayrshire|
|St Andrew's UFC, Cumnock||Cumnock, East Ayrshire|
|Ayr UFC||Ayr, South Ayrshire|
|Calder UFC, Lochwinnoch||Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire||1791|
|Candlish Wynd UFC, Govanhill||Govanhill, Glasgow|
|Cathcart UFC||Cathcart, Glasgow||1929|
|Croftfoot UFC||Croftfoot, Glasgow|
|Darnley UFC||Darnley, Glasgow||1977|
|Drumchapel UFC||Drumchapel, Glasgow||1958|
|Knightswood UFC||Knightswood, Glasgow|
|Millerston UFC||Millerston, Glasgow|
|Shieldhall and Drumoyne UFC||Shieldhall, Glasgow|
|Dalreoch UFC||Dalreoch, West Dunbartonshire|
|Milngavie UFC||Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire|
|Bargeddie UFC||Bargeddie, North Lanarkshire|
|St Andrew's UFC, Bellshill||Bellshill, North Lanarkshire||1762|
|Chryston UFC||Chryston, North Lanarkshire|
|Wishaw UFC||Wishaw, North Lanarkshire|
|Park Church, Uddingston||Uddingston, South Lanarkshire||1863||Left Church of Scotland in 2007|
|Paterson UFC, Stonehouse||Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire|
|Broxburn UFC||Broxburn, West Lothian|
|Craigmailen UFC, Bo'ness||Bo'ness, West Lothian|
|Limefield UFC, West Calder||West Calder, West Lothian|
|Corstorphine Community Church||Corstorphine, Edinburgh||1929|
|Ebenezer UFC, Leith||Leith, Edinburgh|
|Wilson Memorial Church, Edinburgh||Craigentinny, Edinburgh||1933|
|Murrayfield UFC, Bannockburn||Bannockburn, Stirling|
|St Ninians UFC, Stirling||Stirling, Stirling||1773|
|Menstrie UFC||Menstrie, Clackmannanshire|
|Moncrieff UFC, Alloa||Alloa, Clackmannanshire|
|Sauchie and Fishcross UFC||Sauchie, Clackmannanshire||1913|
|Erskine:Burntisland UFC||Burntisland, Fife|
|Cornerstone St Andrews UFC||St Andrews, Fife|
|Tayport UFC||Tayport, Fife|
|Auchterarder UFC||Auchterarder, Perth and Kinross|
|Balbeggie UFC||Balbeggie, Perth and Kinross|
|Trinity Church, Crook of Devon||Crook of Devon, Perth and Kinross|
|Erskine UFC, Carnoustie||Carnoustie, Angus|
|Knox's UFC, Montrose||Montrose, Angus|
|Dundee UFC||Dundee, Dundee|
|Northfield UFC||Northfield, Aberdeen|
|Torry UFC||Torry, Aberdeen||1929|
|Lossiemouth UFC||Lossiemouth, Moray||1930|
|Balintore UFC||Balintore, Highland|
|Cunningsburgh UFC||Cunningsburgh, Shetland|
1900 - 1929
Presbyterianpolity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply. Groups of local churches are governed by a higher assembly of elders known as the presbytery or classis; presbyteries can be grouped into a synod, and presbyteries and synods nationwide often join together in a general assembly. Responsibility for conduct of church services is reserved to an ordained minister or pastor known as a teaching elder, or a minister of the word and sacrament.
The Church of Scotland is the national church in Scotland.
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.
The Free Church of Scotland is a Scottish denomination which was formed in 1843 by a large withdrawal from the established Church of Scotland in a schism known as the Disruption of 1843. In 1900, the vast majority of the Free Church of Scotland joined with the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland to form the United Free Church of Scotland. In 1904, the House of Lords judged that the constitutional minority that did not enter the 1900 union were entitled to the whole of the church's patrimony, the Free Church of Scotland acquiesced in the division of those assets, between itself and those who had entered the union, by a Royal Commission in 1905. Despite the late founding date, Free Church of Scotland leadership claims an unbroken succession of leaders going all the way back to the Apostles.
The United Presbyterian Church (1847–1900) was a Scottish Presbyterian denomination. It was formed in 1847 by the union of the United Secession Church and the Relief Church, and in 1900 merged with the Free Church of Scotland to form the United Free Church of Scotland, which in turn united with the Church of Scotland in 1929. For most of its existence the United Presbyterian Church was the third largest Presbyterian Church in Scotland, and stood on the liberal wing of Scots Presbyterianism. The Church's name was often abbreviated to the initials U.P.
The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland was formed in 1893. The Church identifies itself as the spiritual descendant of the Scottish Reformation. The Church web-site states that it is 'the constitutional heir of the historic Church of Scotland'. Its adherents are occasionally referred to as Seceders or the Wee Wee Frees. Although small, the church has congregations on five continents.
The Presbyterian Church in 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 the Canada 2001 Census 409,830 Canadians identify themselves as Presbyterian, that is, 1.4 percent of the population.
St. Andrew's Church is a historic Presbyterian church located at the corner of King Street West and Simcoe Street in the city's downtown core of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was designed by William George Storm in the Romanesque Revival style and completed in 1876.
The Free Church of Scotland is an evangelical, Calvinist denomination in Scotland. It was historically part of the original Free Church of Scotland that remained outside the union with the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1900. Now, it remains a distinct Presbyterian denomination in Scotland.
Bannatyne v Overtoun  AC 515, was a protracted legal dispute between the United Free Church of Scotland and the minority of the Free Church who had remained outside of the union.
As of the 2011 census, Christianity was the largest religion in Scotland, chosen by 53.8% of the Scottish population identifying when asked: "What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?" This represented a decline from the 2001 figure of 65.1%.
The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) (Scottish Gaelic: An Eaglais Shaor Leantainneach) is a Scottish Presbyterian denomination which was formed in January 2000. It claims to be the true continuation of the Free Church of Scotland, hence its name.
The Free Presbyterian Church of Victoria, also known as the Free Church of Australia Felix, was an Australian Presbyterian denomination founded in Melbourne, Victoria in 1846 as a result of the Disruption of 1843 in the Church of Scotland.
The Rev William Miller (1815–1874) was a Scots-born minister of the Free Presbyterian Church of Victoria who served the John Knox Church, cnr Little Lonsdale and Swanston Streets, Melbourne 1851–64, and was the first Chairman of the council of Scotch College in Melbourne.
The First Secession was an exodus of ministers and members from the Church of Scotland in 1733. Those who took part formed the Associate Presbytery and later the United Secession Church. They were often referred to as Seceders.
Nathaniel Paterson was a Scottish minister who served as Moderator of the General Assembly to the Free Church of Scotland in 1850/51. He was a close friend of Walter Scott and was included in his circle of "worthies".
William Henry Goold was a Scottish minister of both the Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland. He was the last Moderator of the majority Reformed Presbyterian Church Synod before the union with the Free Church in 1876 when most of the R. P. congregations entered the union. He was also called to be Moderator of General Assembly of the Free Church in the following year: 1877.
Walter Ross Taylor (1838–1907) was a Scottish minister of the Free Church of Scotland who served as Moderator of the General Assembly in the critical year of Union in 1900. From 1900 he led the United Free Church of Scotland with its Moderator Rev Robert Rainy.
Robert James Drummond (1858–1951) was a Scottish minister who served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland in 1918. He served as Chaplain to the King in Scotland.
The Highland Church was a Gaelic-speaking congregation of the Church of Scotland, based in Tollcross, Edinburgh. Formed by the union of St Oran's Church and St Columba's Gaelic Church in 1948, the congregation continued united with Tolbooth St John's in 1956.