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Encyclopedia > Presbyterian Church (USA)
Emblem of the PC(USA)
Emblem of the PC(USA)

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or PC(USA) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. It is part of the Reformed family of Protestantism, descending from the branch of the Protestant Reformation begun by John Calvin. It is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the USA and was established by the 1983 merger of the former Presbyterian Church in the United States, a southern branch of American Presbyterianism, and the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, a northern branch. The unified body currently has approximately 2.4 million members, 11,100 congregations, and 14,000 ordained ministers. It is a member of the National Council of Churches. pcusa logo This work is copyrighted. ... Mainline is also rail terminology for the main and often most transited portion of a railroad, which is usually double- or more track. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... A Christian is a follower of Jesus, whom they regard as a/the Christ. ... A religious denomination, (also simply denomination) is a large, long-established subgroup within a religion that has existed for many years. ... The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations historically related by a similar Zwinglian or Calvinist system of doctrine but organizationally independent. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement in the 16th century to reform the Catholic Church in Western Europe. ... John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was an important French Christian theologian during the Protestant Reformation and is the namesake of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism. ... Presbyterianism is part of the Reformed churches family of denominations of Christian Protestantism based on the teachings of John Calvin which traces its institutional roots to the Scottish Reformation, especially as led by John Knox. ... The Presbyterian Church in the United States was the Southern branch of Presbyterianism in America. ... The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA or UPUSA) was the northern branch of Presbyterianism in the United States. ... Ordination is the process in which clergy become authorized by their religious denomination and/or seminary to perform religious rituals and ceremonies. ... For other types of minister, see Minister In Christian churches, a minister is a man or woman who serves a congregation or participates in a role in a parachurch ministry; such persons can minister as a Pastor, Preacher, Bishop, Chaplain, Deacon or Elder. ... The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (usually identified as National Council of Churches, or NCC) is a religious organization currently (2006) consisting of 35 Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, African-American and historic peace Christian denominations in the United States, and is widely regarded as a leading...

Contents


Structure

Presbyterian governance of a church is typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. ...

Constitution

The Constitution of PC(USA) is composed of two portions: Part I, the Book of Confessions and Part II, the Book of Order. The Book of Confessions outlines the beliefs of the PC(USA) by giving the creeds to which the Church adheres. Complementing that is the Book of Order which describes the organization and functioning of the Church at all levels. The Book of Order is divided into three sections - Form of Government, The Directory For Worship, and The Rules of Discipline The Book of Confessions is the book of doctrinal statements of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is designated Part 1 of the PCUSA Constitution. ... The Book of Order contains the Form of Government, Directory for Worship, and Rules of Discipline for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is designated Part 2 of the PC(USA) Constitution. ... The Book of Confessions is the book of doctrinal statements of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is designated Part 1 of the PCUSA Constitution. ... The Book of Order contains the Form of Government, Directory for Worship, and Rules of Discipline for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is designated Part 2 of the PC(USA) Constitution. ...


Governing bodies

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) has a representative form of government with four levels of government and administration, as outlined in the Book of Order. The governing bodies (as they are referred to) are as follows: The Book of Order contains the Form of Government, Directory for Worship, and Rules of Discipline for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is designated Part 2 of the PC(USA) Constitution. ...

  1. Session (Congregation)
  2. Presbytery
  3. Synod
  4. General Assembly

At the congregational level, the governing body is called the session. The session is made up of the pastors of the church and all elders in active service (selected by a nominating committee and elected by the members of the church). Session meetings are moderated by a called pastor and minutes are recorded by the elected clerk. This body takes care of the guidance and direction of the ministry of the local church. The session also oversees the work of the deacons, a congregational-level group whose duty is "to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress both within and beyond the community of faith." In some churches, the responsibilities of the deacons are taken care of by the session, so there is no board of deacons in the church. In some states, churches are legally incorporated and members or elders of the church serve as trustees of the corporation. However, “the power and duties of such trustees shall not infringe upon the powers and duties of the Session or of the board of deacons.” Note: this article name (or a redirect to it) is a homophone with cession. ... A presbytery can be - * the residence of one or more presbyters, priests, or religious elders; - * an area of a church or cathedral reserved for priests; - * the collective college of priests in a diocese, archdiocese, or prelature; - * the local unit in the polity of a Presbyterian church, consisting of presbyters (i. ... A synod (also known as a council) is a council of a church, usually a Christian church, convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. ... The term general assembly can refer to The largest unit of organisation in the polity of a (national) Presbyterian church, containing several synods or presbyteries. ... Note: this article name (or a redirect to it) is a homophone with cession. ... A religious elder (in Greek, πρεσβυτερος [presbyteros]) is valued for his or her wisdom, in part for their age, on the grounds that the older one is then the more one is likely to know. ... The diaconate is one of three ordained offices in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches. ...


The next level is the presbytery formed by all the congregations and ministers in a geographic area together with elders selected (proportional to congregation size) from each of the congregations. A few PC(USA) synods (see below) have a non-geographical presbytery for Korean language Presbyterian congregations. There is one non-geographical presbytery, the Dakota Presbytery, for Native American congregations. The presbytery has responsibility for ordaining and installing ministers in congregations and also acts as a court of appeal from sessions in individual congregations. While the members of the congregation generally choose their own pastor, the presbytery must approve the choice and officially install the pastor in the position. Additionally, the presbytery must consent if the congregation wants to remove their pastor from office. The presbytery has authority over many affairs of its local congregations. The moderator of the presbytery, as well as a stated clerk, is elected annually. All pastors of congregations in a presbytery are members of the presbytery, not of their own congregation. Additionally, an executive presbyter is often appointed as an administrative staff member to care for the day-to-day duties of the presbytery. Presbyteries must meet at least twice a year, but they have the discretion to meet more often. A presbytery can be - * the residence of one or more presbyters, priests, or religious elders; - * an area of a church or cathedral reserved for priests; - * the collective college of priests in a diocese, archdiocese, or prelature; - * the local unit in the polity of a Presbyterian church, consisting of presbyters (i. ... Presbyter in the New Testament refers to a leader in local Christian congregations, a synonym of episkopos, which has come to mean bishop. ...


Several presbyteries join together to form a synod. Each synod contains at least three presbyteries, and its membership includes both Ministers of the Word and Sacrament (that is, pastors) and elders. The synod is an intermediate level of government between the presbytery and General Assembly levels. Although the synod has many duties, they are primarily responsible for: developing and implementing the mission of the church throughout the region, facilitating communication between presbyteries and the General Assembly, and mediating conflicts between the churches and presbyteries. Synods are required to meet at least biennially, and meetings are moderated with the help of an elected Moderator and Stated Clerk. A synod (also known as a council) is a council of a church, usually a Christian church, convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. ... A pastor is the head minister or priest of a Christian church. ...


The General Assembly is the highest governing body of the PC(USA). Until 2004, the General Assembly met once a year; it now meets in even-numbered years. It consists of commissioners elected by presbyteries and is evenly divided between pastors and elders. There are many important responsibilities of the General Assembly. Among them, the Book of Order lists these four: The term general assembly can refer to The largest unit of organisation in the polity of a (national) Presbyterian church, containing several synods or presbyteries. ...

  1. to set priorities for the work of the church in keeping with the church’'s mission under Christ,
  2. to develop overall objectives for mission and a comprehensive strategy to guide the church at every level of its life,
  3. to provide the essential program functions that are appropriate for overall balance and diversity within the mission of the church, and
  4. to establish and administer national and worldwide ministries of witness, service, growth, and development.

The General Assembly elects a moderator at each assembly who chairs the rest of the sessions. A stated clerk is appointed to serve for a longer term and is responsible for the Office of the General Assembly which conducts the ecclesiastical work of the church. The Office of the General Assembly carries out most of the ecumenical functions and all of the constitutional functions at the Assembly. The General Assembly also elects a General Assembly Council (GAC) consisting of 72 ministers and elders responsible for advising the General Assembly on priorities, programs and strategies and implementing its decisions. The GAC meets three times a year. The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is an honorary role, held for 12 months. ...


Worship in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The Session of the local congregation has a great deal of freedom in the style and ordering of worship in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Worship varies from congregation to congregation. The order may be very traditional and highly liturgical, or it may be very simple and informal. Many congregations offer a form of contemporary worship or emerging worship. It is very common to see churches use the Service for the Lord's Day. The Service for the Lords Day is the name given to the general format or ordering of worship in the Presbyterian Church (USA). ...


The Directory for Worship in the Book of Order provides the rules for what must be, or may be included in worship. During the 20th Century, Presbyterians were offered optional use of liturgical books: The Book of Order contains the Form of Government, Directory for Worship, and Rules of Discipline for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is designated Part 2 of the PC(USA) Constitution. ...

The Book of Common Worship of 1906 was the first liturgical book of the Presbyterian Church (USA). ... The Book of Common Worship of 1932 was the second liturgical book of the Presbyterian Church (USA). ... The Book of Common Worship of 1946 was the third liturgical book of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and provided for more congregational participation than previous versions. ... The Worshipbook of 1970 is a liturgical book of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and was a radical departure from previous works. ... The Book of Common Worship of 1993 is the fifth liturgical book of the Presbyterian Church (USA). ...

PC(USA)-affiliated seminaries, colleges and universities

The denomination maintains affiliations with 10 seminaries in the United States. These are:

Two other seminaries are related to the PC(USA) by covenant agreement: Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, NY, and Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico in San Juan, PR. Columbia Theological Seminary is one of the ten official seminaries of the Presbyterian Church (USA). ... one of ten seminaries in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is distinguished by its nationally recognized field education and marriage and family therapy programs, its focus on nurturing faith development within congregations, communities and families, the scholarship and church service among its faculty, and a commitment to training women... McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago educates ministers of the Presbyterian Church USA. After serving as pastoral intern at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, Mamie Broadhurst receives her Master of Divinity degree on May 7, 2005. ... Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a graduate theological institution associated with the Presbyterian Church USA. It is located in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh. ... The steeple of Alexander Hall Princeton Theological Seminary is a theological seminary located in Princeton Township, New Jersey in the United States. ... Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education is an institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA). ...


For more information, see the article PC(USA) seminaries Educational institutions run by the Presbyterian Church (USA) which are geared primarily towards the training of ministers. ...


There are numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States affiliated with PC (USA). For a complete list, see the article Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities. Introduction The Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities is a private, not-for-profit organization of colleges and universities associated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), a Protestant Christian religious denomination. ...


External links

  • Constitution The Book of Confessions, as well as the Book of Order
  • Governing Bodies
  • Seminaries and also a list of all PC(USA)-affiliated colleges and universities

Church history

Presbyterian Church
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Presbyterian Church

Image File history File links USVA_headstone_emb-33. ... Image File history File links USVA_headstone_emb-33. ...

Early history to 1801

Presbyterians trace their history to the sixteenth century and the Protestant Reformation. Presbyterian heritage, and much of what they believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings solidified much of the Reformed thinking that came before him. (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement in the 16th century to reform the Catholic Church in Western Europe. ... John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was an important French Christian theologian during the Protestant Reformation and is the namesake of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism. ... The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations historically related by a similar Zwinglian or Calvinist system of doctrine but organizationally independent. ...


Calvin did most of his writing from Geneva, Switzerland. From there, the Reformed movement spread to other parts of Europe. John Knox, a Scotsman who studied with Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland, took Calvin's teachings back to Scotland. Other Reformed communities developed in England, Holland and France. The Presbyterian church traces its ancestry back primarily to Scotland and England. Geneva (pronunciation //; French: Genève //, German: //, Italian: Ginevra) is the second most populous city in Switzerland, and is the most populous city of Romandy (the French-speaking part of Switzerland). ... John Knox (1505, 1513 or 1514 – 1572) was a Scottish religious reformer who played the lead part in reforming the Church in Scotland in a Presbyterian manner. ... Geneva (pronunciation //; French: Genève //, German: //, Italian: Ginevra) is the second most populous city in Switzerland, and is the most populous city of Romandy (the French-speaking part of Switzerland). ...


The early Presbyterians in America came from England, Scotland and Ireland. The first American Presbytery was organized at Philadelphia in 1706 . The first General Assembly was held in the same city in 1789. The Assembly was convened by the Rev. John Witherspoon, the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence. This was indicative of the active support of Presbyterians for the American War of Independence. Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location (dark green) within the United Kingdom (light green), with the Republic of Ireland (blue) to its west Languages English Capital London Largest city London Area – Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population –mid-2004... Motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (English: No one provokes me with impunity) Scotlands location within Europe Scotlands location within the United Kingdom Languages English, Gaelic, Scots Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow First Minister Jack McConnell Area - Total - % water Ranked 2nd UK 78,782 km² 1. ... Philadelphia is a village located in Jefferson County, New York. ... John Witherspoon Statue, Princeton Dr. John Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Jersey. ... U.S. Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence is the document in which the Thirteen Colonies declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. ... The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a war fought primarily between Great Britain and revolutionaries within thirteen of her North American colonies. ...


Church history 1801-1900

In the early years of the 1800s, the church carried on revivals and organized congregations, presbyteries, and synods wherever they went, emphasizing the connectional nature of the church. Presbyterians also helped to shape voluntary societies that encouraged educational, missionary, evangelical, and reforming work. As the church began to realize that these functions were corporate in nature and as the century proceeded, it formed its own boards and agencies to address these needs at home and abroad. Mission to Native Americans, African Americans, and populations all over the world became a hallmark of the church. A Sioux in traditional dress including war bonnet, circa 1908. ... African Americans, also known as Afro-Americans or black Americans, are an ethnic group in the United States of America whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Sub-Saharan and West Africa. ...


The nineteenth century was also characterized by disagreement and division over theology, governance, and reform - particularly slavery. In 1803, Barton W. Stone led a group of revivalist New Light Presbyterian ministers to form independent Springfield Presbytery which eventually became the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In 1810, a number of Presbyterian congregations and ministers, ejected by Kentucky Synod for their pro-revival position and their relaxation of ordination requirements in a frontier setting, formed the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination, although they never intended the split to be permanent. The century also saw the formation of the United Presbyterian Church of North America. When the country could not reconcile the issue of slavery and the federal union, the southern Presbyterians split from the original PC(USA), forming the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America in 1861, which became the Presbyterian Church in the United States after the American Civil War. For other uses, see Slavery (disambiguation). ... Barton W. Stone (December 24, 1772 - November 9, 1844) was a religious reformer of the early 19th century associated with the Restoration Movement. ... The Springfield Presbytery was dissolved by the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery. ... The Disciples of Christ, also known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) or simply as the Christian Church, is a denomination of Christian Protestantism based on the teachings of Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell of Pennsylvania and Barton W. Stone and Virginia Stone of Kentucky. ... Kentucky Synod. ... On February 4, 1810 in the log cabin home (near what later became the town of Burns, Dickson County, Tennessee) of Rev. ... The United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA) was an American Presbyterian denomination that existed for one hundred years. ... The Presbyterian Church in the United States was the Southern branch of Presbyterianism in America. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederate) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties Killed in action: 110,000 Total dead: 360,000 Wounded: 275,200 Killed in action: 93,000 Total dead: 258...


Church history 1901-today

The early part of the twentieth century saw continued growth in both major sections of the church. It also saw the growth of Fundamentalist Christianity who believed in the written word of the Bible as the fundamental source of the religion as opposed to Modernist Christianity who believed that Christianity needed to be re-interpreted in light of modern scientific theories such as evolution. This article concerns the self-labeled Fundamentalist Movement in Protestant Christianity. ... Modernism, modernist Christianity, and liberalism are labels applied to proponents of a school of Christian thought which rose as a direct challenge to more conservative traditional Christian orthodoxy. ... A hypothetical phylogenetic tree of all extant organisms, based on 16S rRNA gene sequence data, showing the evolutionary history of the three domains of life, bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes. ...


This controversy reached a head in 1924 after the General Assembly adopted five "essential and necessary" pillars of Christian belief. This move toward fundamentalism and centralisation caused a backlash in the form of the Auburn Affirmation -- a document embracing modernism and "liberty of thought and teaching". The conflict continued in the 1970's over the issue of ordination of women and more recently over the issue of ordination of homosexuals. 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... In comparative religion, fundamentalism has come to refer to several different understandings of religious thought and practice, through literal interpretation of religious texts such as the Bible or the Quran and sometimes also anti-modernist movements in various religions. ... Centralization is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding decision-making, become concentrated within a particular location and/or group. ... The Auburn Affirmation was a document dated May 1924, with the title AN AFFIRMATION designed to safeguard the unity and liberty of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, authored by an eleven-member Conference Committee and signed by 1274 ministers of the PCUSA. The Affirmation challenged the...


The Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. was joined by the majority of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1906. In 1920, it absorbed the Welsh Calvinist Methodist Church. The United Presbyterian Church of North America merged with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1958 to form the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. On February 4, 1810 in the log cabin home (near what later became the town of Burns, Dickson County, Tennessee) of Rev. ...


This sparked a period of ecumenical activism similar to the Second Vatican Council. This culminated in the development of the Confession of 1967 which was the church's first new confession of faith in three centuries. The 170th General Assembly in 1958 authorised a committee to develop a brief contemporary statement of faith. The 177th General Assembly in 1965 considered and amended the draft confession and sent a revised version for general discussion within the church. The 178th General Assembly in 1966 accepted a revised draft and sent it to presbyteries throughout the church for final ratification. As the confession was ratified by more than 90% of all presbyteries, the 178th General Assembly finally adopted it in 1967. The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, or Vatican II, (Vatican two) was an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church opened under Pope John XXIII in 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI in 1965. ... The Confession of 1967 is a confessional standard or guide of the Presbyterian Church USA. It was written in 1967 as a modern statement of the faith of the then Northern Presbyterian Church (i. ...


An attempt to reunite the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. with the Presbyterian Church in the United States in the late 1950s failed when the latter church was unwilling to accept centralisation. This reflected its support for local decision making and concern about central organisations having greater power. Ironically, these concerns were similar to those of the Puritans in earlier times. In the meantime, a conservative group broke away from the Presbyterian Church in the United States in 1973, mainly over the issues of women's ordination and what was perceived to be a drift toward theological liberalism. This group formed the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Centralization is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding decision-making, become concentrated within a particular location and/or group. ... The Puritans were members of a group of radical Protestants which developed in England after the Reformation. ... The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is a Protestant denomination, the second largest Presbyterian church body in the United States after the Presbyterian Church (USA). ...


Attempts at union between the churches (UPCUSA and PCUS) were renewed in the 1970s, culminating in the merger of the two churches to form the Presbyterian Church (USA) on June 10, 1983. A new national headquarters was established in Louisville, Kentucky in 1988 replacing the headquarters of the United Presbyterian Church in the USA in New York City and the Presbyterian Church in the United States located in Atlanta, Georgia. June 10 is the 161st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (162nd in leap years), with 204 days remaining. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Louisville redirects here; for other uses, see Louisville (disambiguation). ... Flag Seal Nickname: Big Apple Location Location in the state of New York Government Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,214. ... Flag Seal Nickname: Hotlanta, The Big Peach, The ATL Location Location in Fulton and DeKalb counties in the state of Georgia Coordinates , Government Country State Counties United States Georgia Fulton County, Georgia DeKalb County, Georgia Mayor Shirley Franklin (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 132. ...


Decline in membership (1965-today)

A frequently discussed topic within the PC(USA) has been the decline in its membership over the past 4 decades. Since peaking in 1965 with 4,254,597 members, the PC(USA)'s membership has since declined over 43% to 2,405,311 as of Dec. 31, 2003. Through 2003, the denomination lost an average of 49,000 members each year since 1965. [1] Despite continued efforts to stem the tide the decline in memberships continues much like other long-standing denominations. As reported on June 1, 2006 by the Office of the Stated Clerk, PCUSA, "At the end of 2005, there were 2,313,662 active, confirmed members in the PC(USA), a net loss of 48,474."


Current discussions within the Church

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) currently is struggling with the issue of Biblical interpretation, particularly as it relates to homosexuality. The Book of Order prohibits the ordination of those who are not faithful in marriage or chaste in singleness (G-6.0106b); several attempts have been made to remove this from the Book of Order but no attempt has received both the necessary votes at the General Assembly and approval of enough presbyteries. Gay people remain welcome as members, although officially they cannot serve as pastors, elders or deacons. The word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings over time. ...


Many Presbyterian scholars, pastors, and theologians have been heavily involved in the debate over homosexuality. In 2005, a female minister in Pennsylvania came under scrutiny after performing a marriage between a lesbian couple, including infusion of Buddhist rites in the ceremony. Her case is to be heard by the church's court. Officially, the church condones clergy-performed blessing ceremonies for same sex unions, given that they do not constitute marriages.


In the General Assembly gathering of June 2006, Presbyterian voting Commissioners heightened the debate by passing an "authoriative interpretation" of their church constitution (referred to as the Book of Order). Some argued that this gave local ordaining bodies (referred to as presbyteries) the "local option" of ordaining, or not ordaining anyone based on a particular presbytery's reading of the constitutional statute (which has been in force since the 1700s). On June 20, 2006, the General Assembly voted 298 to 221 (or 57% to 43%) to approve such interpretation. The 2006 Report of the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church[1] attempted to find common ground. The local option mentioned above was recommended by this report, and passed with amendments. The authors of the report stated that it is a compromise and return to the original Presbyterian culture of local controls. The recommendation for more control by local sessions is viewed by its opposition as a method for bypassing the constitutional restrictions currently in place concerning ordination and marriage.


At the General Assembly of 2004 an overature to consider adoption of the Belhar Confession was adopted. That confession was written by the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in South Africa in response to apartheid. In the American context it is seen to apply to the issue of sexual orientation. Adoption of the confession will be consider at the 2008 General Assembly. The Belhar Confession is a Christian statement of belief written in Afrikaans and adopted by the synod of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in South Africa in 1986 in the era of the struggle over apartheid. ... A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. ...


Recent controversies about the role of Christ in salvation

In 2000, the Reverend Dirk Ficca was invited by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program to give the keynote address at the 2000 Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference. In his speech, entitled "Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a Diverse World" he asked "Okay, well if God is at work in our lives whether we're Christian or not, what's the big deal about Jesus?" [2]


Following the controversy which ensued, the PC(USA) published a statement stating "...regardless, Rev. Ficca speaks for himself and not for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)." Later, in 2003, the General Assembly declared that "There is salvation in none other than Christ." The document "Hope in the Lord Jesus Christ", adopted by the General Assembly in 2003, also states:

"No one is saved apart from God’s gracious redemption in Jesus Christ. Yet we do not presume to limit the sovereign freedom of "God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" [1 Timothy 2:4]. Thus, we neither restrict the grace of God to those who profess explicit faith in Christ nor assume that all people are saved regardless of faith. Grace, love, and communion belong to God, and are not ours to determine. Paul, after a beautiful development of his thought, in Rom. 10:17 at length comes to the conclusion, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the Word of God by the preaching of Christ." At the same time we recognize that God can illuminate whom and when he will, even without the external ministry, for that is in his power [The Second Helvetic Confession, 5.006, 007].'"

Property ownership

As is common in mainstream protestant denominations, the deed to each church building and land reverts to the Presbytery, should the congregation split or dissolve completely. This does not prevent individual churches from splitting, or leaving the denomination, but if they do, they must leave with none of physical assets of the church. Although this provision has been tested and repeatedly held up in courts of law, recently some of the more fundamentalist congregations have focused on it as they both want to leave the denomination and take their physical assets.


Divestment from corporations operating in Israel

In March 2002, General Assembly Clerk Clifton Kilpatrick sent a letter to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon stating in part, "While we do not condone the acts of violence by certain Palestinian extremists, we are appalled that Israel, in response, has continued to punish the entire Palestinian population and its leaders who have been your government's partners in the peace process." [3] (Hebrew: אֲרִיאֵל שָׁרוֹן, also known by his diminutive Arik) (born February 26, 1928) is a former Israeli politician and a retired general. ... The term Palestinian has other usages, for which see definitions of Palestinian. ...


In June of 2004, the General Assembly met in Richmond, Virginia and adopted by a vote of 431-62 a resolution that called on the church's committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment "to initiate a process of phased, selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel." The resolution also said "the occupation . . . has proven to be at the root of evil acts committed against innocent people on both sides of the conflict." [4] The church statement at the time noted that "divestment is one of the strategies that U.S. churches used in the 1970s and 80s in a successful campaign to end apartheid in South Africa." A second resolution passed "Calling for an End to the Construction of a Wall by the State of Israel." [5] The resolution opposed to the construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier, regardless of its location, and opposed the United States government making monetary contribution to the construction. The General Assembly also adopted policies rejecting Christian Zionism and allowing the continued funding of conversionary activities aimed at Jews. Together, the resolutions caused tremendous dissent within the church and a sharp disconnect with the Jewish community. Leaders of several American Jewish groups communicated to the church their concerns about the use of economic leverages that apply specifically to companies operating in Israel. [6]. A handful of critics of the divestment policy accused church leaders of anti-Semitism [7][8] [9]
Flag Seal Nickname: River City Motto: Sic Itur Ad Astra Location Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia Coordinates , Government Country State County United States Virginia Independent City Mayor L. Douglas Wilder Geographical characteristics Area     City 62. ... A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. ... The barrier route as of May 2005. ...


In response, the PCUSA General Advisory Council claimed that the PCUSA has "approved numerous resolutions on Israel and Palestine, repeatedly affirming, clearly and unequivocally, Israelís right to exist within permanent, recognized, and 'secure' borders."[5] However, prior to 1974, the church had only called for peace in the region that secured the rights of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The first recognition of Israel's right to exist occurred in 1974. Of concern to many was support by PCUSA officials who, together with other members of the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches, became increasingly vocal supporters of a Palestinian "right of return," something pro-Israel advocates deem incompatible with a viable Jewish state. [10] [11] [12]and overtures endorsing a Palestinian right of return passed the PCUSA General Advisory Council in 2003 and 2004. [13][14] A former Moderator of the General Assembly, Fahed Abu-Akel has long endorsed a Palestinian "right of return."[15]
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (usually identified as National Council of Churches, or NCC) is a religious organization currently (2006) consisting of 35 Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, African-American and historic peace Christian denominations in the United States, and is widely regarded as a leading... The World Council of Churches (WCC) is the principal international Christian ecumenical organization. ...


In June 2006, The Presbyterian Church (USA) 217th General Assembly overwhelmingly (483-28) replaced language adopted in 2004 that focused the "phased, selective divestment" specifically on companies working in Israel. Under the 2006 policy, church holdings in the region (now defined to include Palestinian territories and not just Israel) are subject to the church's customary corporate engagement practices. Although those practices do not rule out the sale of stock, the new resolution requires the consideration of "practical realities," a "commitment to positive outcomes" and an awareness of the potential impact of strategies on "both the Israeli and Palestinian economies." The 2006 policy also recognized Israel’s right to defend its’ pre-1967 boundaries with a security barrier and lamented the pain caused by the 2004 actions, which it called flawed. [16][17]
The term Palestinian has other usages, for which see definitions of Palestinian. ...


It was uncertain whether the use of the term customary practices rendered moot the 2004 guidelines developed by the PCUSA's Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) committee to identify which companies in its portfolio would be placed on the path to divestment.[18] The 2004 guidelines added a item, not found in the 2004 overture, related to violence against Israelis. The guidelines, however, were significantly more focused than the church's 'customary' practice. Business with franchises in Jerusalem's old city could theoretically come under the MRTI process because the church considers the old city to be occupied territory and said any company with facilities in the occupied territories are potential targets. Similarly, companies working on Israel's security barrier, even where it falls along the 1967 Green Line could subject a company to the 2004 MRTI process, ostensibly mooted by the 2006 resolution. [19]
Jerusalem (Hebrew: Yerushalayim; Arabic: al-Quds; Greek Ιεροσόλυμα; Latin Aelia Capitolina) is an ancient Middle Eastern city on the watershed between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea at an elevation of 650-840 meters. ... Green Line may refer to: Provisional demarcation lines: Green Line (Cyprus), between the Cypriot government and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Green Line (Israel), between Israel and its Arab neighbors Green Line (Lebanon), between Christian and Muslim militias Public transit lines: The Green Line (Baltimore), a proposed transit line...


After the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly in Birmingham, both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups praised the resolution. Pro-Israel groups, who had written General Assembly commissioners to express their concerns about a corporate engagement/divestment strategy focused on Israel, [20] praised the new resolution, saying that it reflected the church stepping back from a policy that singled out companies working in Israel. [21] Pro-Palestinian groups said that the church maintained the opportunity to engage and potentially divest from companies that support the Israeli occupation, because such support would be considered inappropriate according to the customary MRTI process. The city from above Centenary Square. ...


Meetings with Hezbollah

In October of 2004 a controversy erupted when Ronald H. Stone, a former theology professor and elder in a PCUSA congregation, spoke with members of Hezbollah while part of PCUSA's Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy tour of the Middle East. In October of 2004 a controversy erupted when Ronald H. Stone, a former theology professor and elder in a PCUSA congregation, spoke with members of Hezbollah while part of Presbyterian Church (USA)s Advisory Committee on Social Wellness Policy tour of the middle east. ... The Hezbollah flag Hezbollah (Arabic ‮حزب الله‬, meaning Party of God) is a Shia Islamist group in Lebanon founded in 1982 to fight the Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon. ...


A member of the delegation, Reverend Nile Harper stated that "The occupation by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza must end because it is oppressive and destructive for the Palestinian people". [22] Map of the Gaza Strip from The World Factbook. ... The term Palestinian has other usages, for which see definitions of Palestinian. ...


Members of the General Advisory Council later issued a letter to the Anti-Defamation League indicating that the meeting was "misguided, at best" and the comments of "Presbyterians there, as we understand them, are reprehensible." The ADL "welcomed the statement as an acceptable response … to the meeting with Hezbollah." Two members of the delegation were later fired by the General Advisory Council. [23] The Anti-Defamation League (or ADL) is an organization founded by Bnai Brith in the United States whose stated aim is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people. ...


The Layman Online (November 2005) reports that the Rev. Nuhad Tomeh led another PCUSA delegation in a meeting with Hezbollah. Rev. Nuhad Tomeh's "work as the associate general secretary of Middle East Conference of Churches in Beirut is profiled on a PC(USA) Web page. Tomeh is also the regional liaison for the PC(USA) for Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Gulf." [24]


The US State Department defines Hezbollah (aka Hizballah, "Party of God") as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).[25] The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. ...


References

  1. ^ Adams, John H. (June 7, 2004). PCUSA membership loss in '03 is highest since church reunited. The Layman Online.
  2. ^ Ficca, Rev. Dirk (July 29, 2000). Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a Diverse World. The Witherspoon Society.
  3. ^ Kilpatrick, Clifton (March 15, 2002). Kirkpatrick sends letter of protest to Sharon. Presbyterian News Service.
  4. ^ Overture 04-32. On Supporting the Geneva Accord, Urging Israel and Palestine to Implement the Accord—From the Presbytery of St. Augustine. Presbyterian Church (USA).
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ David Elcott, Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, Ethan Felson, Mark Waldman, Mark Pelavin (November 29, 2004). Letter Regarding Divestment sent to Mainline Protestant Denominations From Leaders of Five Major Jewish Organizations. American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Union for Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
  7. ^ Appelbaum, Diana (June 3, 2006). Presbyterians Bearing False Witness. The American Thinker. Retrieved on June 4, 2006.
  8. ^ Prager, Dennis (July 20, 2004). Presbyterian Church defames Christianity. Jewish World Review. Retrieved on June 4, 2006.
  9. ^ Hecht, Shea (September, 2005). The Presbyterian Church Boycotts Israel. The Jewish Magazine. Retrieved on June 4, 2006.
  10. ^ Cole, Leonard A. (January 26, 2001). The Posturing On Palestinian 'Return'. Forward.
  11. ^ US Christian Ecumenical Delegation Calls for and Commits to Prayer for a Just Peace in the Middle East. World Council of Churches: (December 12, 2000).
  12. ^ Letters from Clifton Kirkpatrick. Presbyterian Church (USA): (December 19, 2000).
  13. ^ Report backs calling on Israel 'to end the occupation now'. The Layman Online: (May 28, 2003).
  14. ^ Overture 04-32. On Supporting the Geneva Accord, Urging Israel and Palestine to Implement the Accord—From the Presbytery of St. Augustine. Presbyterian Church (USA).
  15. ^ Civil Society Crucial to Protection of Palestinian People, Say Participants in Palestine Committee Conference. United Nations Committee on Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People: (September 23, 2002).
  16. ^ GA overwhelmingly approves Israel/Palestine recommendation. Presbyterian Church (USA): (June 21, 2006).
  17. ^ PCUSA FAQ on 2006 Divestment Overture. Presbyterian Church (USA): (July 2006).
  18. ^ JCPA Insider. Jewish Council for Public Affairs: (June 2006).
  19. ^ Guidelines for the Implementation of Phased Selective Divestment Related to Israel and Palestine. Presbyterian Church (USA): (November, 2004).
  20. ^ Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, Dr. David Elcott, Ethan Felson, Lewis Grafman, Shelley Klein, Dr. Eugene Korn, Avram Lyons, David Michaels, Sammie Moshenberg, Mark Pelavin, Dr. Carl Sheingold, Robert Zweiman (June 4, 2004). Letter from 12 National Jewish Agencies to Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly Commissioners Regarding Upcoming Decision on Phased Selective Divestment Related to Israel.
  21. ^ Ethan Felson (June 4, 2004). Statement from 15 National Agencies Welcoming Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly Return to "Customary Corporate Engagement Process".
  22. ^ Adams, John H. (October 19, 2004). Presbyterian delegation meets with leader of group blamed for strikes against U.S.. The Layman Online.
  23. ^ Presbyterian Leaders Say Meeting with Hezbollah was "Misguided". Anti-Defamation League: (October 21, 2004).
  24. ^ Adams, John H. (November 23, 2005). Another Presbyterian group meets with Hezbollah leader. The Layman Online.
  25. ^ Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) Fact Sheet. US State Department: (October 11, 2005).

June 4 is the 155th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (156th in leap years), with 210 days remaining. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... June 4 is the 155th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (156th in leap years), with 210 days remaining. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... June 4 is the 155th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (156th in leap years), with 210 days remaining. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Further reading

The Rev. ...

See also

Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) brings together nine mainline American denominations (including both predominantly white and predominantly black churches), and was inaugurated on January 20, 2002. ... The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is a Protestant denomination, the second largest Presbyterian church body in the United States after the Presbyterian Church (USA). ... On February 4, 1810 in the log cabin home (near what later became the town of Burns, Dickson County, Tennessee) of Rev. ... The seal of the ARPC The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is a small denomination, formed from the merger of the Associate (Seceder) and the Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanter) churches in Philadelphia in 1782. ... In the Presbyterian Church (USA) these are the exams given to seminary seniors to ensure that a candidate for ministry is adequately prepared. ... Introduction The Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities is a private, not-for-profit organization of colleges and universities associated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), a Protestant Christian religious denomination. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Presbyterian Church (USA) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2655 words)
It is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the USA and was established by the 1983 merger of the former Presbyterian Church in the United States, a southern branch of American Presbyterianism, and the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, a northern branch.
In 1920, it absorbed the Welsh Calvinist Methodist Church.
The United Presbyterian Church of North America merged with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1958 to form the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. This sparked a period of ecumenical activism similar to the Second Vatican Council.
Presbyterianism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1534 words)
In Ireland the Presbyterian Church was formed from the Church of Scotland and later became the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
In Wales Presbyterianism is represented by the Presbyterian Church of Wales.
Presbyterians place great importance upon education and continuous study of the scriptures, theological writings, and understanding and interpretation of church doctrine embodied in several statements of faith and catechisms formally adopted by various branches of the church.
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