National History

The Presbyterian Church in Canada is part of the world-wide family of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches. It was formed in 1875 by a union of Synods and Presbyteries which, from as early as 1786, had been constituted by the authority of the Church of Scotland, one of the Secession churches in Scotland, or Presbyteries which arose out of Irish and American Missions. We became a national church in 1875, but the first Presbyterian services in Canada were held for the Acadians in 1604.

Spiritually, we are the direct descendants of the leaders of the Reformation: Luther, Calvin and Knox.

While our mother church is the Church of Scotland, many other churches have contributed to the Canadian church to enrich our heritage. We also draw on the heritage of the other Presbyterian churches of the British Isles and the U.S.A., and the Reformed churches of France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland and many other members of the Calvinist-Reformed family.

We insist with Luther, Calvin and Knox that we are the holy catholic church, re-formed according to the teachings of the Bible. We believe we continue in a direct line with the apostles and the earliest worshippers of Jesus Christ. We seek to remain true to the principles of the church of apostolic times.

We accept Jesus Christ as the only King and Head of the Church. Therefore, we freely and gladly recognize as fellow-Christians all who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. We believe that the many denominations reflect the result of God working through His people in history. We work closely with many other churches in ecumenical (worldwide) councils and coalitions of churches which express our unity in Jesus Christ and common mission. Uniformity would be a reversal of the liberty that God allows in His Church. With St. Augustine, we believe ‘In essentials Unity, In non-essentials Liberty, In all things Charity.’