The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which is holding its 202nd annual General Assembly in Salt Lake City, traces its beginnings to 1562 when the French Huguenots set up colonies in Florida and Southern Carolina.
During the Civil War, because of dangers in crossing enemy lines to attend the General Assembly, the church was split into two general assemblies.The southern church was called the Presbyterian Church in the United States, and the northern church was called the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
The change was necessary because the Presbyterian Church is a "connectional" church, referring to how groups and committees relate to each other and how they meet to consider and vote on matters affecting the church.
Here are some significant dates in the history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.):
-1562 - French Huguenots, Protestants, arrive in Florida and South Carolina.
-1630 - The Rev. Richard Denton, the first Presbyterian minister, reaches America and settles in Wethersfield, Conn.
-1706 - First presbytery organizes in Philadelphia.
-1789 - First General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. is held May 21 in Philadelphia.
-1812 - First theological seminary is organized in Princeton, N.J.
-1861 - Presbyterian Church in the confederate states of America is established as offshoot of both old and new schools of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.
-1865 - Name of Presbyterian Church in the confederate states of America changes to Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS).
-1958 - Consolidation of United Presbyterian Church of North America and Presbyterian Church U.S.A. into United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA).
-1982 - General assemblies in Columbus, Ga., (PCUS), and Hartford, Conn., (UPCUSA), call for vote on reunion.
-1983 - Presbyteries of UPCUSA approve reunion 151 to 0 and presbyteries of PCUS approve reunion 53 to 8.