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February 20, 2020, 3:26 PM

One of the most common descriptions of Presbyterian Churches is that we are connectional. This concept means that we do not see individual congregations in isolation from one another. The church is only the church when we are connected to each other. Our Book of Order puts it this way,


The congregation is the church engaged in the mission of God in its particular context. The triune God gives to the congregation all the gifts of the gospel necessary to being

the Church. The congregation is the basic form of the church, but it is not of itself a

sufficient form of the church. Thus congregations are bound together in communion with one another, united in relationships of accountability and responsibility, contributing their strengths to the benefit of the whole, and are called, collectively, the church. (Book of Order G-1.0101)


This connectionalism is not solely grounded in organizational structure but is rooted in the biblical concept of fellowship and communion (koinonia). Individual congregations are united in communion with one another. This unity is brought about through the Holy Spirit and is displayed in our mutual witness, our councils, our shared mission. We may not agree with each and every person but we still commit to staying connected and being in communion with each other.


Our connectionalism shapes us just like our confessional nature does and our governing councils. Connectionalism is one of our distinctives and is one of our strengths. It is important, in a day and age where denominational loyalty is seen as unnecessary to understand who we are when we say that we are Presbyterian. We are a part of a church that is not afraid to confess our faith (Confessional), sees the importance of hearing God speak through councils (conciliar), and draws our strength from a communion brought about by the work of God’s Holy Spirit (connectional).

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