United Free Church of Scotland
The denomination is a branch of the Presbyterian churches in Scotland. There were, in the 18th and 19th centuries, small groups of the Presbyterian order, each independent until some of them formed groupings to become a larger Presbyterian denomination. In 1843, the year of the Disruption, many congregations of the Church of Scotland seceded and became known as the Free Church of Scotland. It existed alongside other Presbyterian denominations, some of which became known later as the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In 1900 the Free Church of Scotland united with the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, to become the United Free Church of Scotland. This church united in 1929 with the Church of Scotland. A small minority continued as the United Free Church of Scotland, emphasizing the principles of voluntary support by its members, freedom from state control and religious equality. Since 1929 women have served the church as ministers and elders.
In recent years the United Free Church has been exploring closer cooperation with the Church of Scotland both nationally, through boards and committees, and locally through congregations sharing resources and working together in various ways. The purpose of this cooperation is that the church may more effectively engage in mission to the people of Scotland (and beyond) and make the best use of limited resources. In 2006 the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland signed a covenant with the purpose of promoting good relations between the two denominations. The United Free Church also takes an active interest in the various ecumenical bodies to which it belongs, particularly through Action of Churches Together in Scotland. Various initiatives are taking place to help the members of the church develop ways of moving forward more effectively in the service of Christ.