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Denominations - Protestant

Short profiles of selected Christian denominations in the U.S.

Presbyterian and other Reformed Churches

Presbyterian/Reformed churches are a Protestant tradition based on the teachings of reformer John Calvin. The Reformed tradition consists both of Presbyterian churches as well as denominations that developed in continental Europe, such as the Dutch and the German Reformed. American Presbyterianism split over revivalism, slavery, and fundamentalism, but is still one of the leading Protestant families in the United States. Presbyterian bodies include Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Presbyterian Church in America.

Presbyterian churches are led by an elected group of Elders.  A Pastor is called by the congregation and serves under an agreement or Terms of Call.  Each congregation is part of a Presbytery and sends representatives to Presbytery meetings and committees.  A Presbytery is part of a larger group called a Synod.  Prebyteries and Synods often have a geographical basis, but not always limited to a single state.  The whole church convenes, through elected representatives, in a General Assemby, or in some cases a General Synod, at a specific interval determined by the denomination.  Issues are discussed and voted on at the General Assembly and in some cases need to be ratified by a certain percentage of Presbyteries before becoming part of the church laws or rules. 

Image: Grace Hope Presbyterian Church, Louisville, KY

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