The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), or PC(USA), is a Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. Part of the Reformed tradition, it is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States.
The US government is patterned on the structure of the Presbyterian Church. Two separate boards govern: the Diaconate, or Deacons, and the Session, or Ruling Elders. Pastors are known as Teaching Elders.
The denomination’s name is derived from the Greek word for elder: Presbuteros. Presbuteros is used 72 times in the New Testament. It provided the name for the Presbyterian family of churches, which includes the Reformed churches of the world.
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.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is distinctly a confessional and a connectional church, distinguished by the representation of elders — laymen and laywomen — in its government. The church has a membership of 1.76 million in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Currently there are over 10 thousand congregations, more than 21,000 ordained ministers, 1,100 candidates for ministry and more than 94,000 elders.
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.
To learn more about our denomination visit the PC(USA) website.