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Who Are Presbyterians?

Presbyterians trace our history to the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Much of what we believe can be found in the writings of John Calvin (1509-1564). The reformed movement spread from Switzerland through Europe and Britain where John Knox of Scotland was instrumental in forming our Presbyterian theology.

The first American Presbytery was organized at Philadelphia in 1706, and the first General Assembly was held in the same city in 1789. Emigrants from Scotland and Northern Ireland carried their Presbyterian doctrine and polity into the Appalachians and beyond.

The Presbyterian Church is distinctive in two features: we adhere to the religious thought known as Reformed theology, and we have an organizational structure that emphasizes the active, representational leadership of both ministers and church members.

What We Believe

Our theology empathizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the scripture, justification by grace through faith and the priesthood of all believers.

God comes to us in free and undeserved favor in the person of Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose for us that we might belong to God and serve Christ in the world. Following Jesus, Presbyterians are engaged in the world and in seeking thoughtful solutions to the challenges of our time.

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. As Christ’s disciples, 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.

More than two million people 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.

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