About the Presbyterian Church
Our denomination, The Presbyterian Church USA , is driven by the example of mission that Jesus Christ demonstrated in his life on earth.
Jesus has risen from the dead and is with us today though the power of the Holy Spirit, encouraging us and leading us in mission.
In today’s language this means that we have a mission charged by Jesus to improve the world with the ultimate goal being to make “…thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.” What we believe, we do. This is accomplished both through prayer and practice.
We believe and we practice God’s covenant love. A covenant is a promise based on grace. Covenant love begins with the promises of God to us given in the Bible and demonstrated in the history of Israel and the life of Jesus Christ. Covenant love is put into practice when we respond to God’s acts of grace through our promises and commitments
These covenant promises are signified in baptism and the Lord’s supper. We practice baptism for adults and children who all become members of God’s covenant community coming together in the local church. We believe that Baptism is an outward sign of an inner conversion in which a person asks God to come into their life as their constant companion and guide and promises (covenants) to live a Christian life. The Lord’s supper is a covenant event in which the promises of Jesus Christ are extended to all who wish to participate. We celebrate an “open Communion,” that is, anyone who seeks to respond to promises of God in Jesus Christ may participate.
Anyone can become a Presbyterian by confessing the Christian faith, trusting in Jesus as one’s guide throughout life, promising to follow Him and His example by committing oneself to attend church and to become involved in its work.
Our Organizational Structure
The Presbyterian Church USA has over 9,000 congregations in every state in the United States. There are over 90 million Presbyterian Church members world wide. Our Church shares statements of faith like the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds with many other denominations throughout the world. We also work in partnership with dozens of other denomination bodies to accomplish mission around the world.
We are distinguished by the representation of laymen and laywomen – called “elders” – in its government. Our denomination policies are set every two years in our General Assembly. Individual churches are members of “presbyteries” that set local programs and policies and own our churches and their lands. Presbytery policies are determined by democratic vote, with each church sending two lay members and a pastor to presbytery meetings quarterly. Each Presbyterian church is governed by a “Session” of our pastor/s and nine elected “Elders.” Decisions are made by majority vote. Our Book of Order guides the monthly meetings of the Session and the practices of our church.
Our local pastors are “called” by each congregation using a democratic process. There is no set term of years.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
- God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of life.
- Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.
- The Bible is God’s authoritative message on how humanity is reconciled to God and is to live as a new community modeling hope to a hurting world.
- The mission of the church is to love God and others through words and deeds that demonstrate the unconditional love, mercy, grace, and peace of God.
- With our faith we confront injustice, and proclaim that all things will be made new in Jesus Christ.
- The Church is God’s presence in our community, our nation, and the world, serving others, particularly those who are marginalized.
- Authenticity and transparency are essential characteristics to embrace for wholeness as humans.
- Confession of sin and giving/receiving forgiveness are normative Christian practices that are life-giving.
- God’s grace is costly, freely given, and unmerited, beckoning all humanity to recognize their need for salvation.
Learn more about the Presbyterian Church at pcusa.org.