The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church had its beginnings in the preaching of John Knox in Scotland. The Scottish Church became the official church of that nation in 1560. In 1688, King William III reorganized the Church of Scotland into the Established Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In reaction to conflicts with the crown, a pastor by the name of Ebenezer Erskine led a group of Christians in forming a separate Associate Presbytery in 1733 (from thence comes the first part of our name). Ten years later, another group of Christians who for years had suffered problems with the established church organized themselves into the Reformed Presbytery (from thence comes the second part of our name). Both churches spread to Northern Ireland as the Scots were forced to emigrate and both came to America with those "Scots-Irish" folks. The immigrants came to the Pennsylvania area at first, and it was there that both the Associate and the Reformed Presbyteries of Pennsylvania were organized in the 1750-1770 time period. Formal union talks between the "Associates" and the "Reformed" began in 1777 and by 1782 the Associate Reformed Synod came to be in Philadelphia. This Synod, even though all "Associates" and "Reformeds" did not join, included churches in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, North and South Carolina and Georgia. Eight years later, the Associate Reformed Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia was formed in Abbeville County, South Carolina, followed some twenty years later (1803) by the division of the entire church into four Synods and one General Synod. The Synods were those of the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, New York and Scioto with the headquarters of the church in Philadelphia. In 1822 the Synod of the Carolinas was granted separate status as the Associate Reformed Synod of the South, and by the end of the century was the sole remaining body of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as several mergers over the years had absorbed the rest of the denomination into the old United Presbyterian Church. Over the years the Associate Reformed Synod of the South changed its name, becoming in succession the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod of the South (1891), the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod (1913), and the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, which it remains to this day.

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