Reformed Presbyterian Church of Australia
|Reformed Presbyterian Church of Australia|
The Banner of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Australia
|Associations||Reformed Presbyterian Church|
|Branched from||Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland|
The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Australia is a Calvinist denomination in Australia. It is a small Presbyterian denomination numbering slightly over 200 persons with its largest congregation in the area of Geelong, Victoria. The first church, in Geelong, was started in 1858. It links itself historically with those in the Covenanter movement in Scotland who did not accept the settlement of Presbyterianism in that country in 1690, and has sister denominational relations with the Reformed Presbyterian Churches of North America, Ireland, and Scotland. Fraternal relations exist with the very similar Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia.
A number of Reformed Presbyterians had migrated from Scotland or Ireland to Australia. A number who did not join other branches of the Presbyterian Church were against occasional hearing, and they wanted a minister of their own. They wrote to the parent church requesting this. The Rev. A. M. Moore eventually answered. He was ordained in Belfast 18 August 1857, and arrived in Melbourne in late December 1857, to commence the work in Geelong which he served until his death in 1897. Geelong was the only congregation for many years, the most notable minister after Moore being H.K. Mack who served 1909-46. Congregations were begun in McKinnon, Victoria (1933 begun/1946 organised, Rev. W. R. McEwen), Frankston, Victoria (1971/1977), and Sunbury, Victoria (1979/1981, closed 2006).
In 1959, the Rev. A. Barkley, RP minister in Geelong, became the founding principal of the Reformed Theological College.
In 1974, the Australian Presbytery petitioned the parent body, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and was made a separate denomination on 12 June. In former times, church law required members to believe that the Solemn League and Covenant were still binding and forbade them from participating in government because the Constitution does not explicitly make the Australia an officially Christian country; these provisions have been repealed.
The Geelong congregation, currently pastored by Rev. Andrew Stewart, is still growing, with a congregation of 170.
The Frankston congregation, after closing in 1989, was revived around 2004 as a preaching station of the McKinnon congregation. Organising pastor from February 2006 was Rev. Ed Blackwood from the USA. In 2008 it became a separate congregation. The pastor resigned in August 2015 and has returned to the USA.
The McKinnon congregation is currently pastored by Rev. Graeme Hart.
Organisations and relations
Sister denominations are listed on the Reformed Presbyterian Church (denominational group) page.
- Reformed Theological College (in conjunction with the Christian Reformed Church of Australia and the Reformed Churches of New Zealand)