The Presbyterian Church's Foundational
Principles for Governance
Chapter 6 - The Particular Church


A particular church in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is organized by a presbytery as part of the universal Church, and shall function under the provisions of the Constitution. Particular churches serve as essential mission partners with the presbytery and the larger church. In the particular church, God’s people perform ministries to persons, neighborhoods, and communities, without which no significant ministry of the whole church is possible.


Congregations carry out their assigned governmental responsibilities to elect officers, call pastors, approve matters concerning property, and hear reports, under the provisions of the Constitution.

Pastoral Relations

Every particular church shall have pastoral services, either installed or temporary, according to the provisions of the Constitution. When a church is without a pastor the congregation shall, with the guidance and permission of the presbytery, proceed to elect a pastor according to the provisions of the Constitution.

The presbytery shall install the minister of Word and Sacrament in a service of worship.

Incorporation and Property

Whenever permitted by civil law, each particular church shall cause a corporation to be formed and maintained. This corporation shall carry out such duties as are required by the Constitution and by civil law. The power and duties of congregational or corporate trustees shall not infringe upon the power and duties of the session or the deacons. In conducting corporate business separate from the actions of the session and congregation, civil law shall be adhered to.

All property held by or for a particular church, a presbytery, a synod, the General Assembly, or the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), whether legal title is lodged in a corporation, a trustee or trustees, or an unincorporated association, and whether the property is used in programs of a particular church or of a more inclusive governing body or retained for the production of income, is held in trust nevertheless for the use and benefit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
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