Presbyterian structure and happenings

Nan Nasser

There are many protestant churches, all centered in Christ, but what sets a Presbyterian Church apart from others is its form of government. The word “Presbyterian” is derived from the Greek word for elder, and those elected elders are referred to as “The Session” which governs Mountain Shadows Presbyterian Church (MSPC).

The congregation of the church is engaged in the mission of God and is frequently referred to as “The Church.” This congregation is a formal, organized community chartered by its Presbytery. The Ruling Elders are nominated and elected by church members. Deacons are also a part of Presbyterian life and provide personal contacts in a ministry of caring. Elders and deacons are ordained and installed during a specific worship service; all those who have been, or still are elders and deacons, participate in the ceremony by laying their hands on those newly elected.

Now you see the Presbyterian experience begins with a congregation, elects elders and deacons to oversee them in their role to strengthen and nurture the people in their faithfulness to the Word of God.

Each individual church is part of a presbytery (MSPC is part of the Presbytery de Cristo) which has ministers and elders representing a specific district. These presbyteries form a synod (ours is the Synod of the SW, consisting of four presbyteries), an intermediate council, that consists of no fewer than three presbyteries. The General Assembly or PCUSA is the council of the whole church, representing the unity of synods, presbyteries, sessions and congregation.

When Mountain Shadows Presbyterian Church recently ordained and installed its newest elders and deacons, all members in the congregation who had or were serving as elders and deacons were invited to come forward and lay their hands on the newly elected ones. It was a joyous, blessed occasion for everyone as we welcomed our new leaders.

MSPC is located at 14240 N. Oracle Road in Catalina. Sunday services are at 10:00 a.m. followed by a friendly time of fellowship and coffee. The website is: and we are on Facebook! Questions can be answered at 520-825-7858.