Who we are
We are ordinary people who believe, through faith in God, that Jesus Christ, being the Son of God is our personal Saviour. We are but one 'denomination' of the people who are known throughout the world as Christians. Christians believe from the prophecies in the Old Testament and their fulfilment in the New Testament, that God sent Jesus into the world to:
Demonstrate his love for each individual
Offer each of us His forgiveness, if we repent, for the wrongs we have done
Promise His constant companionship with us in all circumstances
Take man's sins upon Himself, and die as a sacrifice to God, so that those sins may be forgiven
Rise from the dead, with the promise of eternal life to all who believe in Him
"Baptist" has been used as the name for this denomination because, unlike many of the other Christian groups who baptise infants, we regard the act of Christian baptism as a person's indication of his or her own decision to follow Jesus. This denomination therefore practices "believer's baptism", rather than automatic baptism of infants.
The early Church, founded by Jesus and recorded in the New Testament, describes only baptism of those who believed - there are no cases of infant baptism.
Baptism as practised in the Baptist denomination is by full immersion in water symbolising:
The death, burial and resurrection of Christ
"Washing away" the old life and rising to a new life with Christ
The Baptist Family
Cupar Baptist Church is a founding member of the Baptist Union of Scotland (BUS)
The BUS has a membership of around 12,000 although Baptists including those not in formal membership and members of independent Baptist churches reflect attendance at Baptist churches in Scotland of at least double that number.
The Baptist Union of Scotland is aligned to the Baptist World Alliance with membership of over 45 million. World-wide Baptist church membership exceed 100 million making the `denomination' the largest protestant church grouping in the world.
Declaration of Faith
Here in Cupar, church membership is open to all who state their allegiance to the following "Declaration of Faith"
I believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and accept Him as my Lord and my Saviour. I believe the Holy scriptures to be the inspired Word of God. I commit myself to serving Him in His Church, to following His teaching in my life, and to witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world.
A Brief History
Cupar Baptist Church celebrated its 200th Anniversary in November 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 recognized, 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 history in more detail.
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 3. 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 3. 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 - 2013–2018
Yeshwanth Bakka Vemana – 2023-