Presbyterianism

Presbyterians affirm that God comes to us with grace and love in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived, died, and rose for us so that we might belong to God and serve Christ in the world. God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, giving us the energy, intelligence, imagination, and love to be Christ’s faithful disciples in the world.

The designation of churches as Presbyterian indicates their governance by presbyters—both Teaching Elders (ministers) and Ruling Elders, who are chosen by the congregation. These Elders serve together in a system of representative assemblies at the congregational, regional (presbytery), and national (general assembly) levels. On the local level, Ruling Elders make up a church’s Session.

Through the General Assembly, which is the biennial meeting of Teaching Elders and Ruling Elders commissioners elected to represent congregations, all Presbyterians have a voice in setting directions for mission. The majority of decisions made concerning an individual church are made by the church itself. The presbytery and general assembly serve as checks against doctrinal error, but they do not strictly control the local congregations.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the largest Presbyterian denomination, which was formed in 1983 as a result of reunion between the Presbyterian Church in the U.S., the so-called "southern branch," and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., the so-called "northern branch."

More information about the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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