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Article Info:
published: 3/31/13
updated: 2/27/14

Presbyterian and Reformed Churches in Europe and Australia

The Presbyterian Church of Scotland

  • Website
  • National church of Scotland
  • 608,000 members (plus 200,000 more regular worshippers) in December 2000
  • Society, Religion and Technology Project seeks to bring a Christian perspective to bioethics
  • Church Without Walls (2001 report) sets out a vision for the church's future
  • Practices:
    • Women may be ordained
    • Worship is led by the parish minister
    • Lay members including deacons, elders, and readers are also involved
    • Marriage is not regarded as a sacrament; ministers may marry non-members
    • Remarriage permitted in certain circumstances
  • Organization:
    • Each congregation is governed by the kirk session
    • Several kirk sessions in a region are governed by a presbytery
    • All presbyteries in Scotland are governed by the General Assembly
    • The chair of the General Assembly is the Moderator
    • The current moderator is the first woman to hold that position, Dr. Alison Elliot.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI)

  • Website
  • Covers both Northern and Southern Ireland
  • Headquartered at Church House in Belfast, built in 1905 and modeled on St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh
  • 300,000 people in over 560 congregations
  • Beliefs: Presbyterianism is characterized by "strong emphasis on the Sovereignty of God, the Kingship of Christ and the authority of the Bible."
  • History:
    • Irish Presbyterianism traces its roots to Scottish migrations in the early 17th century
    • First presbytery was formed in 1642 by chaplains of a Scottish army that had come to Ireland
    • Divisions in 18th century over subscription to Westminster formularies – Scottish Covenanters and Seceders
    • Founding member of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches
    • Reunion in 1845 between the General Synod of Ulster and the Secession Synod (or Seceders) to form the PCI
  • Worship: "The preaching of the Word of God is central, in a setting of prayer and praise. There is no fixed liturgy. Prayers and hymns, psalms and paraphrases, Scripture reading and sermon are adapted to the needs of the occasion."
  • Infant baptism
  • Peace Vocation
  • Symbol is burning bush

Reformed Church in Hungary

The Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA)

  • Website
  • Formed by the union of the Presbyterian Churches of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia.
  • Beliefs:
    • Supreme standard is scripture, subordinate standard is Westminster Confession of Faith
    • Openness to salvation of infants and those with no knowledge of Christ
    • Clarification that predestination is not to evil and man still has responsibility
    • Fallen man is capable of virtuous actions, though not faith
  • "1991 Min. 84 XIX. Only men shall be eligible for admission to the Ministry of Word and Sacraments in the Presbyterian Church of Australia and all rules and regulations of the Assembly and services of Ordination shall be construed that reference therein to ministers of the Word and Sacraments shall refer only to men."

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