First Presbyterian Church, Natchitoches is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination (abbreviated PCUSA). The PCUSA is part of a long tradition of Protestant Reformed churches, beginning in the 1600s, and has been an active part of American life since before the American Revolution. The current denomination was formed in 1983 through the merger of the PCUS (or the “Southern” church), and the UPCUSA (or, the “Northern” church) denominations.
Presbyterian churches are representative in nature. Congregations as a whole make some decisions, but most decisions come from the leadership body called the session. The session is members of the congregation elected to serve and represent them. The session is made up of congregation members called ruling elders, and pastors, called teaching elders. Both women and men are encouraged to serve and elected to the session and ordained as pastors in the PCUSA.
Members of the session are elected to serve at the Presbytery, the next level up above congregational leadership. The Presbytery is the connectional body of all churches in a small geographic area. First Presbyterian Church, Natchitoches is part of the Presbytery of the Pines, which covers all churches in northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas. http://www.pinespby.org/
Presbyteries are included in both their regional Synods (we are in the Synod of the Sun: http://www.synodsun.org/), and the PC(USA) General Assembly, which meets for a national meeting. The last meeting was in 2016 and the next will be in 2018. Motions from the General Assembly are not decisions made for congregations. Motions from the General Assembly arise from congregations or Presbyteries, are considered at the national meeting, and if approved there, are sent back to Presbyteries for consideration, and are put into effect at the next General Assembly meeting after a majority of Presbyteries have voted in favor.
First Presbyterian Church, Natchitoches is committed to being an active and interested part of the larger denomination as a whole, and of our regional Synod and Presbytery. We value the connection of the church, and are proud to be members of the PCUSA.