The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), with denominational offices in Louisville, Kentucky, has approximately 2.4 million members, 11,100 congregations and 14,000 ordained and active ministers.
Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him.
Calvin did much of his writing from Geneva, Switzerland. From there, the Reformed movement spread to other parts of Europe and the British Isles. Many of 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 first Assembly was convened by the Rev. John Witherspoon, the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence.
What is distinctive about Presbyterian Church?
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.
A little Presbyterian History
Portions of the Presbyterian church in the United States have separated from the main body, and some parts have reunited, several times. The greatest division occurred in 1861 during the American Civil War. The two branches created by that division were reunited in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), currently the largest Presbyterian group in this country.
Presbyterian Theological Beliefs
Some of the principles articulated by John Calvin remain at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of the scripture, justification by grace through faith and the priesthood of all believers. What they mean is that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. Our knowledge of God and God's purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God's generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments. It is everyone's job - ministers and lay people alike - to share this Good News with the whole world. That is also why the Presbyterian church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.
How We Are Governed
The Constitution: Book of Confessions and
Book of Order
Department of Constitutional Services
How We Are Organized
General Assembly Council (GAC)
Office of the General Assembly (OGA)
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Investment and Loan Program (PILP)
Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC)
Board of Pensions
Synods and Presbyteries
History of PC(USA)
Presbyterian Church history
The Presbyterian Seal and What it Means
Presbyterian Historical Society
Affinity and Advocacy Groups and Publications
Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE)
Jarvie Commonweal Service
Jinishian Memorial Program
Medical Benevolence Foundation
Presbyterian Association of Musicians
Presbyterian Council for Chaplains & Military Personnel
Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship
Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA)
Conference and Retreat Centers
Montreat Conference Center
Stony Point Center
Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association (PCCCA)
Educational Institutions & Student Organizations
Association of Presbyterian Colleges & Universities (APCU)
Campus Ministry Programs
National Network of Presbyterian College Women (NNPCW)
Office of Theological Education
Presbyterian Collegiate Connection
Racial Ethnic Schools & Colleges