JurisdictionNorth of Scotland Circuit
Person NameNorth of Scotland Circuit; Methodist Church; 1765-
ActivityIt is thought that the origins of Methodism in Scotland lie with English troops sent north during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, though John Wesley (1703-1791), the church’s founder, did not visit Scotland until 1751. On that occasion he visited the dragoons stationed at Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, and he later also visited Glasgow. From these two cities the Methodist form of worship spread north and west: Wesleyan Methodism was more popular in central and east coast towns, extending as far north as Inverness, while Primitive Methodism was popular in industrial towns in the early nineteenth century because of its excellent preachers, though reluctance to build chapels restricted its growth. Independent Methodists had some support around Glasgow around the same time. The general success of the movement caused a reaction in the Church of Scotland and ministers refused to administer the sacraments to Methodist worshippers, so Wesley arranged for preachers to be established in the country and to adapt the established church’s manner of worship in many ways, perhaps preliminary to the setting up of a separate Scottish connection, as Wesley had done in Ireland and America. He died before this supposed project could be completed. Though sympathy with the Free Church and with Congregationalists caused many Methodists to leave for those churches, membership of the church more than doubled, to around 6,500, from 1860 to 1900. The Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists unified in 1932 with a peak in membership of nearly 12,000. It had dropped once again to around 6,000 by the 1990s. Union with the Church of Scotland was discussed and rejected in 1979, but the churches remain co-operative.In organisation the Methodist Church is similar in many respects (in structure, if not in substance) to that of the Presbyterian Church. The Annual Conference corresponds to the Presbyterian General Assembly; the Synods (District) Meetings correspond to the Presbyterian Synods; the Circuit (formerly Quarterly) Meetings to the Presbytery; and the Church Councils (formerly Leaders' Meetings) to the Kirk Session. Ministers are, however, generally itinerant, the basic unit in Methodism being the Circuit rather than the individual charge.The Aberdeen Circuit, which included Dundee for some time, was established in 1765 and the Circuit organisation varied from time to time according to the survival of the churches. Later it became known as the North of Scotland Mission Circuit as it is today (2001).
Corporate NameMethodist Church
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