What does it mean that Presbyterians are "connectional" and not "congregational"?
For many of us Presbyterians, we take it on faith that all the different parts of our denominational system work together for the good of the whole. And, that as each part does its respective work the other parts enjoy the opportunity to celebrate successes and offer support in times of challenge. To be a connected church means that we are never truly alone, that we always have within reach the strength and support of other denominational bodies, and that we have a responsibility to care for and pray for the church around us.
This week I will be in Richmond, VA for Monday and Tuesday to participate in the Fall meeting of the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is governed by 4 governing bodies: the Session (local church), the Presbytery (an often geographical grouping of churches), the Synod (a grouping of presbyteries), and the General Assembly (our national body). These four groups are focused on the support of our primary centers for mission and ministry which is the local congregation. It is the local church which supports and directs the work of the other bodies. Without the local church, the other tiers would not exist!
I will be away to serve and bring home to Milner good news and further challenges in ministry we all face across the mid-Atlantic. I look forward to returning and will gladly share some thoughts and insights from other congregations and leaders I've gleaned while away. Thanks for your blessings in supporting my work in our connectional church. May the fruits of all our efforts bless us in ministry together.