The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a confessional and a connectional church, distinguished by the representation of elders ”laymen and laywomen” in its government. The church has a membership of 1.9 million in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Currently there are nearly 9 thousand congregations, more than 18,000 ordained ministers, more than 700 candidates for ministry and approximately 56,000 elders.

The Presbyterian church of Bella Vista (PCBV) belongs to the Presbyterian Church USA, the oldest denomination of Presbyterians in the United States. The Church divided over the Civil War and reunited in 1983 joining some 2.5 million Presbyterians north and south in over 11,000 congregations.

Presbyterians are distinctive in two major ways. They adhere to a pattern of religious thought known as Reformed theology and a form of government that stresses the active, representational leadership of both ministers and church members.

In America the first presbytery was organized in 1706, the first synod in 1717; the first General Assembly was held in 1789. Today’s Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was created by the 1983 reunion of the two main branches of Presbyterians in America separated since the Civil War – the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The latter had been created by the union of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the United Presbyterian Church of North America in 1958.

Q&A: What Is A Presbyterian?

What is unique about the Presbyterian Church USA?

Presbyterians are distinctive in two ways: First, our pattern of religious thought grows out of the 16th century Protestant movement known as Reformed theology; and secondly, our form of government stresses representative leadership by both ministers and members. Leaders are known as elders from the Greek New Testament word “presbueros” from which we also get the name Presbyterian.

What do I have to believe to join the Presbyterian Church?

You have to believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Members are received in one of three ways. Those who are currently active members of another church join by transfer. Those who were baptized but are no longer active in another church join by reaffirmation of faith. Those who have never been baptized are received by profession of faith and baptism.

What do Presbyterians believe about predestination?

Predestination teaches that we love God because God first loves us. God does not desire the death of anyone, and has provided in Christ’s salvation sufficient for all. Predestination teaches that we are not called to privilege but to service.

What do Presbyterians believe about baptism?

The sacrament of Baptism is a sign and seal of God’s covenant of grace in Jesus Christ. Children of believers and those making a profession of faith in Christ are eligible for baptism. Those previously baptized in other churches are not re-baptized upon reception into the PC (USA).

What do Presbyterians believe about mission?

Presbyterian mission extends throughout the US and 63 countries through the work of 2.5 million members, 14,053 ministers and 500 fraternal workers. Our mission is to bear witness to the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ in all we say and do.

What do Presbyterians believe about the Lord’s Supper?

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is extended to all who have been baptized regardless of denominational affiliation, including children who are being nutured regarding the meaning of the Lord’s Table. On average among Presbyterian churches nationwide, communion is celebrated once a month.

What does the PC(USA) teach about the role of women in the Church?

Women fulfill vital ministries in every area of church life. Women have been ordained elders since 1930 and as ministers of the word and sacrament since 1956. Our constitution provides fair representation for both male and female members. Additionally, Presbyterian Women meet monthly September through May.

What do Presbyterians believe about the Bible?

Through the Holy Spirit, the Bible is the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal. Presbyterians look to the Bible for guidance, inspiration, and courage. The language of Scripture informs and shapes our worship, prayer, and service We are a people of the book.