When people speak about "the Presbytery" they may be thinking of it as a regional governing body, as a group of churches sharing the same faith tradition, as a geographic area, as an agent of mission, or as an office with a staff serving the congregations and clergy within its bounds. The Presbytery is all of these things and more.
The Presbytery of the Western Reserve is a geographic area encompassing 46 churches, 1 new church development, 1 immigrant fellowship, and about 9800 members spread across nine counties in northeastern Ohio. The Presbytery is also a regional mid-council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), consisting of all the churches and approximately 125 ministers serving in churches, institutions, and specialized ministries. As a council it has certain decision-making powers which are carried out by the clergy and representative elders from each congregation. This Presbytery supports over 10 Mission Partners, the United Protestant Campus Ministry, mission groups and agencies working for justice, and outdoor ministry for all ages. Through its elected representatives and staff the Presbytery provides a variety of services to congregations from assisting with the search for a new pastor, advising about building and financial concerns, leading church officer training, and supporting efforts to face changes in our community and society. The Presbytery office serves as a vital communication link for congregations, pastors, agencies, other Presbyterian entities, ecumenical and interfaith colleagues, and friends of all kinds. The Presbytery of the Western Reserve seeks to be a community of ministers and representative elders, and a community of congregations, joined as partners in Christ's service.
How the Presbytery Responds
Here's how the Presbytery of the Western Reserve responds:
- By helping local churches to carry out their ministries more effectively.
- By assisting congregations to cooperate in mission projects that cannot be accomplished alone.
- By providing resources for member churches.