Cupar Baptist Church History
Cupar Baptist Church celebrates its 200th Anniversary in November this year (2016). Here is a bit of the history of our church.
In 1652 free church principles were introduced to Cupar by Mr. Broone (or Browne), chaplain to Colonel Fairfax's regiment of Cromwell's Parliamentary army. Several of the soldiers, together with members of Cupar's civilian population were baptised in the River Eden at that time. The baptised troops moved away, and the only specific mention of a Baptists thereafter was the excommunication from the Established Church of a young woman who defiantly held to Baptist principles. As dissent against the Established Church was fairly permanent and continuing, it is distinctly possible, even probable, that at least some dissenters were Baptist in all but name.
1662, Charles II issued a proclamation 'to apprehend such persons as Quakers and Anabaptists.' Since, at that time, all children were 'baptized' into the national church, those who followed the practice of believers' baptism were 'Anabaptists' since the word denotes those who were baptized again.
The Baptist Church in Cupar, as we now know it, was established with the coming of Jonathan Watson, a pharmacist from Montrose, who arrived in 1814. His dissatisfaction with the existing churches caused him to start his own services in Weavers' Hall in Lady Wynd and the Baptist Church was constituted in 1816 with Mr. Watson as Pastor. By 1821, that hall had become too small for the growing congregation. A decision was taken to move to larger premises, so the church bought the Kirkgate Chapel, 'a very solid and plain structure, seating 350' for £200.
Mr Watson's ministry spanned 25 years, providing teaching and pastoral care to those in the town and encouraging support for those further afield - the Irish poor and missionaries in India, for example. His preaching and commitment to national evangelism were recognised, when, in 1869, he became first president of the newly-formed Baptist Union of Scotland.
In 1849 the Baptists moved again - to the property in Provost Wynd, now occupied by Age Concern. In that year the annual assembly of the Baptist Churches in Scotland was held in that building.
Since its foundation the Church has continued its witness. There have been highlights - including, in the 19th century, a visit by the renowned preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and, in recent years, by the American evangelist Tony Campolo
There is a booklet available, 'A Brief History of Cupar Baptist Church' covering the period to 1935 and an update is in preparation.
In 1972 the Church of Scotland decided to close the Bonnygate Kirk. The building was offered to the Baptists. Many of the former Bonnygate Kirk members joined the Baptist Church, and this has been our place of worship since then. There have been many ministers over the years, as undernoted
Ministers of Cupar Baptist Church
Jonathan Watson - 1816-1841
Francis Johnstone - 1842-1845
William Landels - 1846-1849
L.J. Davies - 1850-1853
Philip W. Grant - 1854-1856
D.R. Watson - 1857-1859
David B. Joseph - 1861-1864
D McCallum - 1865-1868
John McLellan - 1869-1872
J.O. Wills - 1873-1877
A.E. Anderson - 1878-1880
W.W. Sidey - 1880-1885
John T. Forbes - 1886-1888
Alexander Riddell - 1888-1894
George Lauder - 1896-1898
Jonathan Holden - 1899-1919
T.S. Metrustry - 1919-1922
James Young - 1922-1925
David William Young - 1926-1930
George C. Thompson - 1930-1935
Robert B. Hannen - 1935-1940
A. Campbell Dovey - 1940-1944
Douglas D. McPhail - 1944-1949
John H. (Jack) Swanson - 1949-1962
Alan J.M. Stoddart - 1963-1966
Alex F. (Sandy) Duncan - 1966-1971
George Mossman - 1972-1981
W.W. (Bill) Macdonald - 1982-2011
Tim Power - inducted 2013