Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Last updated

The Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church is a Christian denomination in the United States that maintains less than 1,000 members among twelve congregations in Alabama and Tennessee.

Christian denomination identifiable Christian body with common name, structure, and doctrine

A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization, leadership and doctrine. Individual bodies, however, may use alternative terms to describe themselves, such as church or sometimes fellowship. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Alabama State of the United States of America

Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama is the 30th largest by area and the 24th-most populous of the U.S. states. With a total of 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of inland waterways, Alabama has among the most of any state.



The name Cumberland comes from the church's historic connection with the Cumberland Presbyterian (CP) denomination. The Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church uses a slightly revised version of the 1883 Confession of Faith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; the main body of the CPC adopted a new Confession Of Faith in 1984. The seeds of the Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church arose from a group known as the Fellowship of Cumberland Presbyterian Conservatives. Members of this group protested modernizing trends within that denomination, in particular the widespread usage of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible.

Revised Standard Version

The Revised Standard Version (RSV) is an English translation of the Bible published in 1952 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches. The RSV is a revision of the American Standard Version, and was intended to be a readable and literally accurate modern English translation which aimed to "preserve all that is best in the English Bible as it has been known and used through the centuries" and "to put the message of the Bible in simple, enduring words that are worthy to stand in the great Tyndale-King James tradition." The New Testament was first published in 1946, the Old Testament in 1952, and the Apocrypha in 1957; the New Testament was revised in 1971. The original Catholic edition of the RSV was published in 1966, and the Apocrypha was expanded in 1977. The second Catholic edition was published in 2006. In later years, the RSV served as the basis for two revisions – the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of 1989, and the English Standard Version (ESV) of 2001.

The Fellowship of Cumberland Presbyterian Conservatives formed a conference and planned a second one in Memphis, Tennessee. When the CP General Assembly declared their actions to be unconstitutional, several leaders of the group departed the CPC and formed the new Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Memphis, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Memphis is a city located along the Mississippi River in southwestern Shelby County, Tennessee, United States. The 2017 city population was 652,236, making Memphis the largest city on the Mississippi River, second-largest city in Tennessee, as well as the 25th largest city in the United States. Greater Memphis is the 42nd largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of 1,348,260 in 2017. The city is the anchor of West Tennessee and the greater Mid-South region, which includes portions of neighboring Arkansas and Mississippi. Memphis is the seat of Shelby County, the most populous county in Tennessee. As one of the most historic and cultural cities of the southern United States, the city features a wide variety of landscapes and distinct neighborhoods.

The Upper Cumberland part of the name refers to the fact that the denomination was established in Gallatin, Tennessee on the Upper Cumberland River, the section of the Cumberland River east of Nashville, Tennessee.

Gallatin, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Gallatin is a city in and the county seat of Sumner County, Tennessee. The population was 30,678 at the 2010 census and 32,307 in 2013. Named for U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, the city was established on the Cumberland River and made the county seat of Sumner County in 1802. It is located about 30.6 miles northeast of the state capital of Nashville, Tennessee.

Cumberland River river in the United States of America

The Cumberland River is a major waterway of the Southern United States. The 688-mile-long (1,107 km) river drains almost 18,000 square miles (47,000 km2) of southern Kentucky and north-central Tennessee. The river flows generally west from a source in the Appalachian Mountains to its confluence with the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky, and the mouth of the Tennessee River. Major tributaries include the Obey, Caney Fork, Stones, and Red rivers.

Nashville, Tennessee State capital and consolidated city-county in Tennessee, United States

Nashville is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. The city's population ranks 24th in the U.S. According to 2017 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the total consolidated city-county population stood at 691,243. The "balance" population, which excludes semi-independent municipalities within Davidson County, was 667,560 in 2017.

The King James Version is the official Bible of the denomination.


The Upper Cumberland Presbyterian congregations are mostly rural, country churches. They are located in three geographic areas; East of Nashville, South of Nashville, and North Central Alabama.


The representatives of the twelve congregations meet twice a year to form a presbytery. This is the highest church court of the denomination; there are no synods or general assemblies as in other Presbyterian bodies. A moderator of presbytery is elected for a six-month term. The denomination's official publication is called The Bulletin.

Training of ministers

The denomination does not have a college or seminary. Ministers are usually self-taught men who are then further trained by the Ministerial Training Committee. Some prominent ministers of the denomination have held other careers while serving as pastors.

Related Research Articles

Presbyterianism Branch of Protestant Christianity in which the church is governed by presbyters (elders)

Presbyterianism is a part of the reformed tradition within Protestantism, which traces its origins to Britain, particularly Scotland.

Presbyterian Church (USA) Mainline Protestant denomination in the USA

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a mainline Protestant denomination in the United States. A part of the Reformed tradition, it is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US, and known for its relatively progressive stance on doctrine. The PC (USA) was established by the 1983 merger of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, whose churches were located in the Southern and border states, with the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, whose congregations could be found in every state. The similarly named Presbyterian Church in America is a separate denomination whose congregations can also trace their history to the various schisms and mergers of Presbyterian churches in the United States.

Presbyterian Church in America Conservative Reformed Christian denomination in the United States and Canada

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the second largest Presbyterian church body and the largest conservative Reformed denomination in the United States. The PCA is Reformed in theology, Presbyterian in government, and active in missions. It is characterized by a blend of Reformed practice and broad evangelicalism.

Cumberland Presbyterian Church Protestant Christian religious denomination

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church is a Presbyterian Christian denomination spawned by the Second Great Awakening. In 2015, it had 70,810 members and 709 congregations, of which 51 were located outside of the United States. The word Cumberland comes from the Cumberland River valley where the church was founded.

Presbyterian Church in the United States organization

The Presbyterian Church in the United States was a Protestant Christian denomination in the Southern and border states of the United States that existed from 1861 to 1983. That year it merged with the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA) to form the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland was formed in 1893 and claims to be the spiritual descendant of the Scottish Reformation: its web-site states that it is 'the constitutional heir of the historic Church of Scotland'. It is occasionally referred to by the pejorative term the Wee Wee Frees. Although small the church has congregations on five continents.

Presbyterian Church in the United States of America Historical Presbyterian organization

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 America, a denomination with roots in the Seceder and Covenanter traditions of Presbyterianism. The new church was named the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. It was a predecessor to the contemporary Presbyterian Church (USA).

Presbyterian Church of Australia

The Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA) is the largest Presbyterian denomination in Australia.

Bible Presbyterian Church

The Bible Presbyterian Church is an American Protestant denomination in the Reformed tradition.

Kentucky Synod was a synod of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America established in the late 18th century. As a body, Kentucky Synod was a great deal more conservative than the Presbyterian Church as a whole — especially in its opposition to many aspects of the Second Great Awakening, a revival movement that thrived in Kentucky from about 1798 to about 1820. Synod suspended or deposed a number of revivalist Presbyterian ministers, but these men continued to preach to their former congregations. Eventually, Barton W. Stone, who abandoned Washington Presbytery in 1803, formed Springfield Presbytery, which eventually became the Christian Church. In 1810, ministers from the former Cumberland Presbytery, which had been dissolved by Synod five years earlier, left the church and created an independent presbytery which became the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America is a Historically African-American denomination which developed from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1874.

The Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod was a Reformed and Presbyterian denomination in the United States and Canada between 1965 and 1982.

Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America

The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) is a Presbyterian church with congregations and missions throughout the United States, Canada, and Japan. Its beliefs—formulated via membership in the Reformed Presbyterian Church and RP Global Alliance—place it in the conservative wing of the Reformed family of Protestant churches. Below the Bible—which is held as divinely inspired and without error—the church is committed to several "subordinate standards," together considered with its constitution: the Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms, along with its Testimony, Directory for Church Government, the Book of Discipline, and Directory for Worship.

Presbyterian Church in Ireland

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is the largest Presbyterian denomination in Ireland, and the largest Protestant denomination in Northern Ireland. Like most Christian churches in Ireland, it is organised on an all-island basis, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The church has approximately 225,000 members.

ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians

ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians is an evangelical Presbyterian denomination in the United States. As a Presbyterian church, ECO adheres to Reformed theology and Presbyterian polity. It was established in 2012 by former congregations and members of the Presbyterian Church (USA), abbreviated PC(USA). Dissatisfaction with the declining membership of the PC(USA) along with growing denominational disputes over theology and bureaucracy led to the founding of ECO. ECO has over 380 congregations and over 500 pastors.

National Presbyterian Church in Mexico

The National Presbyterian Church in Mexico is the second-largest Protestant church, and the largest Reformed denomination in Mexico. It is present throughout the country, and is particularly strong in the states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatan, Nuevo León, Aguascalientes and Mexico City.

The Presbyterian Church of the Philippines (PCP), officially The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the Philippines, is a growing evangelical, Bible-based Reformed church in the Philippines. It was officially founded in 1987 and the General Assembly was organized in September 1996.

The Reformed Presbyterian Church of India is a historic confessional Presbyterian denomination in India, established in the 19th century by Scottish and Irish missionaries.

The Africa Evangelical Presbyterian Church (AEPC) is a growing conservative Presbyterian and Reformed Church which adheres to the Westminster Confession of Faith started in Kenya, later spread to the surrounding countries like Burundi, Tanzania, Congo and as far as Zimbabwe. The headquarters of the church is located in Nairobi, Kenya.

Presbyterianism in the United States

Presbyterianism has had a presence in the United States since colonial times and has exerted an important influence over broader American religion and culture.