Relief Church

Formed in Scotland in 1761 by Thomas Gillespie* and two other ministers, “for Christians oppressed in their Church privileges.” The reference is to those who had been compelled to accept a minister appointed by the patron, contrary to their wishes. Gillespie had been deposed by the general assembly of the Church of Scotland for his support of the town council, kirk session, and members of the parish of Inverkeithing who protested against the patron's choice of minister there. In 1766 it is reported that the Relief Church and the Associate Synods drew as many as 100,000 to their places of worship. In 1847 there was a union with the United Secession Church* to form the United Presbyterian Church.*