What does it mean to be a Presbyterian?
The history of Presbyterianism stretches back well before the founding of America. In fact, Presbyterians trace their history back to the 16th century protestant reformation, specifically to John Knox, a student of John Calvin, who brought Calvin’s teachings to Scotland and formed what we recognize today as one of the first Presbyterian communities.
Across the pond, the first American Presbytery was founded in Philadelphia in the year 1706, and since then, Presbyterians have played an important role in American culture. Presbyterian ministers were largely responsible for the religious revivals that took place during the First and Second great awakening. Presbyterians also founded a small school in New Jersey called Princeton.
Currently, several different Presbyterian denominations exist in the United States. Wilton Presbyterian is a proud member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which was formed in 1983 from a reunion between the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS) and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA). The forming of the PCUSA was an example of reconciliation and unity.
With over 9,000 PCUSA churches in the United States, today, the Presbyterian Church (USA.) is one of the United States’ largest Christian denominations. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is distinctively governed by its constitution, which consists of The Book of Confessions and The Book of Order.
Most importantly, the PCUSA is a welcoming and inclusive community of worship, committed to proclaiming the love of Christ to the world. Reformed in it theology, members of the PCUSA believe that God continues to reveal Godself even in this day and time, giving us further understanding of the Scriptures. Accordingly, through time, the PCUSA has come to recognize the full ministries and ordination of women (1956) and LGBTQ members (2011).