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Information About NJ Presbyterian Churches

By Stephanie Sullivan

The Presbyterian Church, often abbreviated as PC is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination worldwide. In the United States, the PC was established in 1983 following the merger of the PC in the US (PCUS) and the United PC in the USA (UPCUSA). The PC in the US had most of its churches located within the border and southern states while the UPCUSA had congregations in all the states. Today, NJ Presbyterian Churches and other churches are located within the whole of the United States.

At the end of 2014, PC denomination was estimated to have 1, 667, 767 members, 9, 829 congregations, and 20, 383 ordained ministers. Despite the big membership, it is observed that the congregation has been dropping for a long time. Adherents of PC (USA) average 3 million. Louisville, Kentucky is the place where denominational officers of the church are located. PC has a membership in many religious association including World Communion of Reformed Churches, World Council of Churches, and Christian Churches Together.

In sixteenth century, a Protestant Reformation occurred from which Presbyterians were birthed. The heritage and theology was begun by John Calvin who was a Swiss/French attorney as well as a theologian. Solidification of reformed thinking before Calvin was highly as a result of his writing.

The rest of Europe had the Reformed movement spread to it from Geneva where Calvin was located. John Knox, a colleague of Calvin started the Scottish Reformation. Knox brought the reformation back home from Geneva. The Reformation moved to America and later the entire world. It is continuing to spread even today.

Over the years, many separations from the mother church by independent denominations have occurred. Orthodox PC was one among the earliest breakaways in 1936. Today, splitting has become a major issue in this church. Congregations that break away cite dissatisfaction with the direction taken by the church as the cause for splitting. The reformed tradition is usually maintained in congregations that split.

In 1973, (PCA) separated from PCUS and is now number two in terms of size in whole of US. PCA split because of disagreements about acceptance of ordained female clergies. Shortly afterwards, EPC split too and by 1981, it had been incorporated. Ordained female clergies are not disallowed or allowed to practice in EPC, but rather the decision has to be made by the local presbyteries.

PC works with a constitution which governs its everyday operations. The constitution is made of two parts. The first part is the Book of Confessions (BoC) while the second part is the Book of Order (BoO). The beliefs of PC are outlined in BoC through a declaration of creeds by which leaders are led and instructed.

The Book of Order is for complementing BoC. The rationale for the church and a description of its functions and organization are written in BoO. All levels from top to bottom of the church are covered in this book too. The implementation of constitution is the responsibility of local leaders who then keep regional and top leader informed.

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