The Presbyterian Church of Scotland in British Columbia

Presbyterian Church in British Columbia - Tofino, Vancouver Island
Tofino, British Columbia

Free Presbyterian Church in British Columbia – Early Twentieth Century

The witness of the Free Presbyterian Church in British Columbia began during the early 20th Century. At this time Gaelic speaking people settled from the northern Highlands of Scotland, forming The Free Presbyterian congregation in Vancouver.

The Free Presbyterian Church maintained its distinctive witness in Vancouver from the outset. In so doing, it kept its distance from other denominations, such as the Free Church of Scotland.

In 1916, the Rev. Donald Beaton visited Vancouver as the first Deputy of the Free Presbyterian Church in Vancouver. Many other Deputies visited from Scotland after this time. In addition to Vancouver, some Deputies visited places further afield in British Columbia such as Tofino on Vancouver Island.

During 1922 the congregation moved into a new church bulding at Fifteenth Avenue and Scott Street, Vancouver. In the early years about 29 families and 70 people attended. 

Mr Donald Matheson, missionary, arrived in Vancouver in September 1920 and ministered to the congregation, assisted by Mr. Hugh Mackay, remaining until 1928.

The first Communion services in the Free Presbyterian Church in British Columbia took place in 1930. Rev. William Grant was the Deputy on the occasion. He recorded “special care was exercised in admitting to membership. The same remark applies to the administering of baptism here and elsewhere.” 

Mr. Hugh Mackay, Elder, who was so instrumental in setting up and maintaining the Free Presbyterian witness in British Columbia, passed away in 1966. You can find His obituary here.

Dr. R. Macdonald was inducted to the Vancouver congregation in January 1951 where he laboured faithfully in the Gospel of God’s grace until his passing on the 1st of March 1974.

Vancouver: The Later Years

In 1989 a group agitating for more freedom in matters of Christian practice split from the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland to form the Associated Presbyterian Churches (APC). The final occasion of their departure was the church disciplining an elder who held the position of Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, for attending a Roman Catholic requiem mass. Most of the Vancouver congregation joined the APC, in sympathy with the ecumenical group who defended attendance at Roman Catholic worship. The APC adopted a qualified relation to the Westminster Confession. A remnant of the congregation remained faithful to the position of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, including some on Vancouver Island.

Church services and annual Communion seasons recommenced in Vancouver in 2017 and continued for a number of years. Ministers and elders continue to visit British Columbia and Alberta, and services may be arranged.

We invite you to learn more about our history and our worship. You can learn more about the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland as a global denomination by visiting the website.

Check out upcoming events posted on the Events Notice Board.

Contact: [email protected]

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