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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Presbyterianism

In Scotland the Archbishop of St Andrews, Cardinal David Beaton was the main obstacle to the Reformation. On May 29, 1546 some frustrated Protestants led by Norman Leslie and his nephew William Kirkaldy stormed his castle at daybreak, burst into his room and started to stab him with repeated blows of their swords. Suddenly one of the party James Melville, held up his hand and cried "Stop! This is not being done godly. Let us pray!" So they get on their knees and prayed after which they finish off their butchering of the cardinal before hanging his body out of the window.

At the time it was widely believed that Beaton's death was in the interests of Henry VIII of England, who regarded the cardinal as the chief obstacle to his policy in Scotland; Beaton's murder was certainly a significant point in the eventual triumph of Protestantism north of the Border.

In 1560 The Scottish Parliament, influenced by the incendiary fiery sermons of John Knox, overthrew the pope's authority and forbids the saying of Mass, thus giving birth to the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

Statue of John Knox, a leading figure of the Scottish Reformation.

Presbyterian churches derive their name from the presbyterian form of church government, which is governed by representative assemblies of elders.

Irishman Francis Makemie (1658–1708) was ordained by the Presbytery of Laggan, in West Ulster, in 1681. At the request of Colonel William Stevens, an Episcopalian from Rehobeth, Maryland, Rev. Makemie was sent as a missionary to America, arriving in Maryland two years later.

Makemie initially preached in Somerset County, Maryland and established the Rehobeth Presbyterian Church the oldest Presbyterian Church in America, near the Coventry Parish Church which Col. Stevens attended.

Rehoboth Presbyterian Church By Jweaver28 - photographed, 

Around the same time, the Irish clergyman founded a Presbyterian community in the town of Snow Hill in the eastern part of Somerset County, with Makemie himself the moderator.

Makemie later arranged for four other Irish Presbyterian ministers to come over to build parishes on the Eastern coastline.

The United Reformed church was formed in England in 1972 by the union of the Congregational and Presbyterian denominations.

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