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In the history of the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition in the United States, there have been a number of judicatories named Kentucky Synod.

Kentucky Synod, PC(USA)

The first, and probably most well known, of these was that established by the Presbyterian Church in the late 1700s. As a body, Kentucky Synod was a great deal more conservative than the Presbyterian Church as a whole — especially in its opposition to many aspects of the Second Great Awakening, a revival movement that thrived in Kentucky from about 1798 to about 1820. After Synod ejected a number of revivalist Presbyterian ministers, these ministers continued to preach and minister to their congregations. Eventually, Barton W. Stone, ejected by Kentucky Synod in 1803, formed Springfield Presbytery, which eventually became the Christian Church . In 1810, ministers from Cumberland Presbytery, dissolved by Kentucky Synod in 1805, reformed into an independent presbytery which became the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Following the American Civil War, Kentucky Synod divided along primarily political lines. Dr. Robert J. Breckinridge led the "Northern" or Presbyterian Church (USA) faction, but the majority of members and congregations became part of the new "Southern" Presbyterian Church.

Kentucky Synod, Cumberland Presbyterian Church 1845–1865

Formed from Green River Synod in 1845 and dissolved back into Green River Synod in 1865. This Kentucky Synod's history is largely unknown. It was dissolved for repeatedly failing to meet.

Kentucky Synod, Presbyterian Church in the United States (Southern)

During the American Civil War, the majority of Kentucky Presbyterians supported the Confederacy. The division forced by the war became permanent shortly after its conclusion. Stuart Robinson and Bennett Young led the new "Southern" synod. The two denominations battled in the courts over control of property and institutions.

Kentucky Synod, Cumberland Presbyterian Church 1888–1988

In 1888, the name of Green River Synod was changed to Kentucky Synod. In 1988, Kentucky Synod merged with North Central Synod to form the Synod of the Midwest. Kentucky Synod was, perhaps, the best funded and organized of all Cumberland Presbyterian synods. Few other judicatories exercised synodic authority to the same degree. The synod maintained a "Center" in Bowling Green, Kentuckymarker, and employed an executive and staff. The last Executive Presbyter was Rev. James W. Knight.


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