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How We're Organised

PCS Structure and Governing Bodies
The governing bodies of the Presbyterian Church in Singapore are: sessions, presbyteries, and the synod. They are described below.

Session
The session governs a particular congregation. It is made up of elders elected by the congregation, plus all the installed ministers on the staff, including associate ministers.

The session is responsible for all decisions regarding the program and policies of its congregation, except for the authority reserved for the congregation: the election of officers, and the pastoral staff. The constitution spells out the specific duties for the session.

The session is composed of elders elected for specific terms of service as well as the installed minister(s) and associate minister(s). It is presided over by the senior pastor, who is the minister or an interim minister of the Presbytery when the minister is not available.

The session elects its own Session clerk. The clerk of the session must be an elder. The Session clerk has many duties regarding the records of the church, and also serves as secretary of meetings of the congregation.

Presbytery
The presbytery is the governing body that has jurisdiction over the sessions of all the Presbyterian Church in Singapore congregations according to the language bounds and all its minister members. It is composed of "all the churches and ministers of the Word and Sacrament within".

When the presbytery meets, its members include:

  • all ministers of the Word and Sacrament who are members of the presbytery,
  • all elders commissioned by their sessions to attend that meeting
  • any elder, elected ministers of the presbytery for the duration of his or her term.
The Constitution spells out the specific responsibilities of the presbytery that fall into three general categories: those relating to congregations, those relating to ministers of the Word and those relating to the synod.

Responsibilities to Congregations
The presbytery has the power to organize new congregations, to merge or to divide congregations, to dismiss a congregation or dissolve a congregation, all this being done in consultation with the members of the congregation involved.

When a church is without a pastor, the presbytery takes special oversight of that church, appointing an interim moderator for the session, providing for the pulpit to be supplied, and doing other things necessary in the absence of an installed minister.

Responsibilities to Ministers of the Word and Sacrament
The presbytery has the power to "ordain, receive, dismiss, install, remove, and discipline ministers." It is the prerogative of the presbytery both to establish the relationship between a congregation and a minister and to dissolve a relationship when necessary. Establishing a relationship ordinarily means approving the call of the congregation to that particular minister to be its pastor and installing the pastor in that church. Before the presbytery approves the call to a particular minister, it hears the recommendations of the committee on ministry about its study and conclusions regarding the call.

For persons to become ministers of the Presbyterian Church in Singapore, they must first complete a period of candidacy, which includes supervision of the candidates' education and practice of ministry for a period of time. The Preachers and Personnel committee oversees this whole area of the Presbytery's responsibility. Not all ministers are pastors of churches. The presbytery has responsibility for oversight of those ministers who work in other areas of ministry, such as teachers, evangelists, administrators, and in other forms of ministry recognized as appropriate by the presbytery.

Responsibilities to the Synod
The presbytery participates in the deliberations of the synod by electing members to the Executive Committee. The presbytery has the right and the responsibility to propose to the synod "such measures as may be of common concern to the mission of the whole church."

Synod
The Synod is the highest governing body in the Presbyterian Church in Singapore. It is made up of equal numbers of ministers and elders elected by the presbyteries, and it also has a number of Ministries - such as Youth Council, Theological Review and response Committee, Education Council, and Missions Committee etc - who have voice but not vote on the floor of the AGM. This body meets every year.

The Synod "constitutes the bond of union, community, and mission among all its congregations and governing bodies."

The Synod sets parameters for the mission of the entire denomination, determining priorities, developing objectives and strategies, and providing resources to carry out the work of the whole church. The Constitution lists the specific responsibilities of the Synod, including programs and ministries of evangelization, service, and witness. These programs should foster diversity and balance within the mission of the whole church. The Synod also has the right and duty to establish the administrative systems needed to carry out this mission.

The Synod is responsible for mission to the whole world. Other governing bodies may engage in projects elsewhere in this country or overseas, but the Synod coordinates the overall national and international mission program of the church. The Synod maintains relationships with our partner denominations both locally, throughout the world, and coordinates our work with them.

Another duty of the Synod is "to provide services for the whole church that can be performed more effectively from a national base." These services may include developing a curriculum for the educational programs of the churches in the denomination, providing communications and Technologies to Presbyterians, and devising and overseeing systems for coordinating the movement of ministers within the church.

In order to fulfill its responsibility to provide for communication, the Synod supports a denominational Newsletter and certain other news outlets. It maintains a service that allows anyone to contact the Synod by mail, telephone, or computer to have their questions about the church answered or to gather other information. It also provides resources and direction for the evangelism, and service ministries. As with presbyteries, the Synod has the right and responsibility to form and oversee any agencies necessary to carry out its work.

On behalf of the whole church, the Synod maintains relationships with bodies of other faiths and denominations. As the most highest governing body of the church, the Synod is given the power "to decide controversies brought before it and to give advice and instruction in cases submitted to it, in conformity with the Constitution." In cases of judicial process, the Synod exercises this function through its legal advisor. The Synod will also authorize statements or study papers on current issues to be written and distributed to the churches.

Responsibilities to the Presbyteries
The synod has the power to "organize new presbyteries and to divide, unite, or otherwise combine presbyteries or portions of presbyteries previously existing." This includes the opportunity to organize non-language presbyteries to serve the needs of ethnic or immigrant congregations.

The synod has the responsibility "to provide services and programs for presbyteries, sessions, congregations, and members within its area that can be performed more effectively from a broad base." It is the synod's right and duty to provide programs that will help its presbyteries do ministries together that would be difficult or impossible to do alone.

Synods are also charged to "develop and provide resources as needed to facilitate the mission of its presbyteries.." Synods will often offer programs that facilitate leadership training, or other kinds of ministry that transcend the bounds of their presbyteries.




 
 




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The Presbyterian Church in Singapore
132 Sophia Road
Singapore 228186
Tel: 6338 5837
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Email: office@presbysing.org.sg
 
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