Partner Church

Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa (UPCSA)

Partnership History

  • UPCSA traces its roots back to the garrisoning of the Cape colony by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1806
  • The first church was established in 1824 and from here missionary work established a Presbyterian presence across southern Africa, including Zimbabwe and Zambia
  • 1896 – The first Presbyterian congregation was established in Zimbabwe (then Matabeleland) in 1896
  • The issue of race relations began to intervene in the life of the church - in 1857 a group of whites in eastern Cape colony were allowed to have whites-only communion
  • In 1923 a blacks-only Bantu Presbyterian Church (BPC) was founded
  • A 1954 Church of Scotland statement on apartheid declared that it was "contrary to the law of God and that therefore it will be disastrous"
  • In 1960 members of the BPC and Church of Scotland missionaries were amongst those who supported the Cottesloe Declaration which rejected race as the basis of exclusion from churches
  • In 1980 Zimbabwe gained independence and ZANU, led by Robert Mugabe, won the first election
  • With the end of apartheid in 1994, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, successor to the BPC and the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa, which had been whites-only, looked to unite
  • This eventually happened in 1999, and UPSCA now has around 500,000 members and 18 presbyteries, including those in Zambia and Zimbabwe

Twinnings and Projects

  • Congregational and presbytery twinnings between Scotland and Zimbabwe
  • Presbytery of Zimbabwe – HIV/AIDS Programme
  • Lovemore Children's Hospital
  • Capacity building for conflict resolution and peace building, Presbytery of Zimbabwe

To see some photographs of our work in Zimbabwe please visit our Flickr account.