Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America
|Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America|
|Theology||New School Presbyterian|
|Associations||World Communion of Reformed Churches|
The church was formed after black delegates to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church's May 1869 General Assembly asked for assistance in organizing a separate body for African Americans, allowing them to become more independent and self-reliant, develop their own clergy and other leaders, and maintain their own church buildings, all with financial support from the parent denomination. The new church was organized in May 1874 as the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It later was known as the Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church before assuming its current name.
Relations between the two Cumberland Presbyterian groups have for the most part been very cordial, and many of the CPCA ministers have trained at Memphis Theological Seminary. A reunion attempt on the part of both denominations failed to win approval in the late 1980s. The African American church wanted equal representation on all boards and agencies, feeling that otherwise they would be swallowed up by the larger white church. The joint committee drafting the plan of union agreed and made such a stipulation in its reporting to the General Assembly. However, many in the white, rural, southern-based church were not willing to cede that much power and balked at the plan. No other plans for union have been attempted. However, the two denominations share a confession of faith and cooperate in many common ministries.
Organization and membership
Denominational headquarters are located in Huntsville, Alabama. There are 153 congregations, which are organized into 15 presbyteries and four synods, in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas. Membership is primarily concentrated in Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas, but the church extends north to Cleveland, Chicago, and Marshalltown, Iowa.
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