Getting to Know the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

"Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve."   - Presbyterian Church (USA) website

The Presbyterian Church can trace our roots back to John Calvin, a French lawyer, in 16th Century Europe, who was a major leader in the Protestant Reformation.   His reformed writings and along with the leadership of John Knox, a Protestant reformer from Scotland, the Presbyterian Church was born in the British Isles and western Europe.   Many Presbyterians came to the American colonies in the 1600 and 1700's.   Some took part in the makings of the United States government following the Revolutionary War.   The first American Presbytery was organized in 1706 in Philadelpia.   The first General Assembly took place in 1789 in Philadelphia.   Rev. John Witherspoon convened the first General Assembly and was the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Based on much of the writings of John Calvin, 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 have eternal and abundant life in him.   We have justification by grace through faith through God’s generous gift to us in the death of his son Jesus Christ, and not our own works.   We believe in the sovereignty of God.   We believe in the authority of the scriptures.   As Christ’s disciples, as part of the “Great Commission” found in Matthew 28:19-20, we are called to ministry in his name, we seek to continue his mission of teaching the truth, feeding the hungry, healing the broken, and welcoming strangers.   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.

There are about 2.2 million persons who call the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) their spiritual home.   Worshiping in 10,000 Presbyterian congregations throughout the United States, they engage the communities in which they live and serve with God’s love.   There are about 14,000 ordained and active ministers.   The Presbyterian Church has a representative form of government made up of individual church sessions, who are part of an area Presbytery, which in turn a number of Presbyteries make up a Synod.   The Synods then make up what is known as the General Assembly.   Representatives from each Presbytery convene every two years to discuss the work and business of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

For more information on what the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is doing in today’s world, you can log on to their website.  

http://www.pcusa.org/