A Communion for American Covenanters



Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

The entire service of Communion that Sabbath day on August 23, 1752 lasted nine hours. But for some two hundred and fifty Covenanters gathered on that spot, it was their first communion outside the British Isles.

The teaching elder on that Lord’s Day was the Rev. John Cuthbertson, who was the first Reformed Presbyterian minister in the colonies. As the only one, he had logged nearly 70,000 miles in the wilds of Colonial America, ministering to scattered Covenanters. Often, there was no church building. So they worshiped at various sites called “tents.” It consisted of a large tree, with a wooden stand for the minister, and another for a Bible, with rough pews for the people, and nothing but the open sky for the roof. On this occasion, they met at the Junkin Tent, just north of present day New Kingstown, Pennsylvania.

The communion at this first meeting in America lasted five days, with worship times on three of the five days. The first day, which was Thursday, was a day of fasting, with a sermon by Rev. Cuthbertson. Tokens of admission were given to those qualified spiritually to partake, after an exhortation for that purpose. Prospective members were examined and received into the congregation. On Friday and Saturday, no public worship was conducted.

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