The name “Presbyterian” comes from the Greek word presbuteros, or “elder.” Our very name reflects the fact that we are a democratically-governed church, with most decisions affecting the local church being made by Elders elected by the congregation.
Nineteen Elders (who are ordained to their task) comprise the Session, our church’s governing board. Session members serve for three-year terms, and may be re-elected for a second consecutive term. The Pastor serves as Moderator of the Session.
Twelve Deacons (who are likewise ordained to their task) comprise the Board of Deacons, who engage in ministries of “sympathy and service,” reaching out in caring ways to the lonely, the shut-in and the economically disadvantaged. An elected Deacon serves as Moderator of the Board of Deacons.
Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church is part of the Presbytery of Monmouth, 47 churches in the central New Jersey area, whose elected representatives (ministers and elders in equal numbers) come together approximately once a month for worship and to conduct business.
Monmouth Presbytery, in turn, is part of the Synod of the Northeast, comprising Presbyterian churches throughout New Jersey, New York and New England. Selected representatives from the Presbytery travel each year to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the highest governing body of the church.
Although Presbyterian governing bodies have elected Moderators who chair meetings, we are not a “hierarchical” church in the sense that we have permanent ruling officers such as bishops. Nor are we a “congregational” church, in which the local congregation decides everything by popular vote. Rather, we are proud of being a “connectional” church, one which offers a combination of the pure democracy of the congregational meeting and the measured, deliberative judgment of elected officers, seeking God’s will collectively as they meet and pray together.
Principles of Presbyterian church governance are laid out in our Constitution , which includes the Book of Confessions and the Book of Order. In addition, the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church has its own set of By-Laws .