A big thing to know about First Presbyterian Church: it isn’t a staff-run church… it’s run by people like you, with a staff to support you. The democratic system of governance instituted long ago by the founders of the Presbyterian Church is the foundation of how we do things today.
The Officer Nominating Committee
The process through which we elect church officers is outlined in the Presbyterian Book of Order. In the first quarter of each year, several members of the congregation are elected to serve a two-year term on The Officer Nominating Committee (ONC). In April, the congregation suggests names for the new deacon and elder classes. In September, the ONC proposes a slate of deacon and elder nominees to the congregation.
Deacons: The Diaconate
A biblical description of a deacon can be found in 1 Timothy 3, and is further described in the Presbyterian Book of Order, G-6.0401. A deacon is a sincere person, worthy of respect, who follows the example of Jesus Christ in service. A deacon is elected to serve a three-year term. Three classes of deacons serve at any given time. The duties of a deacon might include but are not limited to: opening the door and greeting guests as they enter the church; collecting the offering; answering questions at the Front Desk; securing the parking lot and facilities during worship services; and being part of at least two committees.
Elders: The Session
The Session is the governing body of the church and is made up of members elected to a three-year term as elder. Elders are persons of faith, dedication, and good judgment. Their manner of life is a demonstration of the Christian Gospel both within the church and in the world. Through its oversight of a multitude of councils and committees, the Session handles issues of personnel, mission, worship, congregational programs, evangelism, new member orientation, receiving and dismissing members, nurture of the congregation, and educational curriculum. Our elders also serve on committees of the Cherokee Presbytery.
A current list of First Presbyterian Church’s elders and deacons is available here.
Presbyteries, Synods, & PCUSA
First Presbyterian Church of Marietta is part of a larger government called the Presbytery. The Presbytery is a governing body made of several churches. The next level of governance is the Synod, which is a governing body made of several presbyteries. Our church is part of the Cherokee Presbytery and consequently the South Atlantic Synod. Churches, presbyteries, and synods are all governed by the decrees and decisions of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Beyond the General Assembly lies the Scripture and Jesus Christ, who rightfully serves as the head of all churches.
Learn more about PCUSA at pcusa.org.