Frequently asked questions about
The Presbytery of Southern New England
1. What is Presbyterianism?
Presbyterianism is a hierarchical form of church government by presbyters, i.e. elders. Under a Presbyterian form of government, a local church is governed by a board (called in different denominations a session or a consistory) made up of elders elected by the congregation and the minister(s) appointed to serve the congregation. This board elects particular elders to be members of the next higher governing body, which is called the presbytery. A presbytery includes the ministers and churches of a particular region; its members are the elders elected by the sessions, together with the ministers who are its continuing members. Presbyteries elect pairs of commissioners (an elder and a minister) to higher governing bodies, synods, and the general assembly or general synod.
2. What do Presbyterians believe?
Presbyterians believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Membership in the Presbyterian Church (USA) has no doctrinal requirement other than this faith in Jesus Christ and intention to follow Him.
Officers of the Presbyterian Church (USA) must agree with additional doctrines. For many generations, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Westminster Longer and Shorter Catechisms contained the definitive statement of Presbyterian belief. Today the Presbyterian Church (USA) has a Book of Confessions as part of its constitution. The Book of Confessions consists of eleven creedal statements. Officers (i.e., ministers of Word and Sacrament, elders, and deacons) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) must agree that these confessions in their essentials state what Scripture teaches.
3. How can I contact the Presbytery of Southern New England?
Telephone: (860) 388-0874 Fax: (860) 581-4023
P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412
In December 2014 PSNE sold its building and no longer maintains a physical office but has its employees in ‘virtual’ home offices, allowing us to use mission dollars more effectively.
Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, General Presbyter, firstname.lastname@example.org; Rev. Jim Glenn, Chaplain to the Clergy, email@example.com; Elder William Thomas, the Stated Clerk, firstname.lastname@example.org; Pam Garner, Office Manager and Assistant to the Executive and Stated Clerk, email@example.com; and Ms. Dayle Larson, Financial Secretary,firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. When will the Presbytery of Southern New England have its stated meetings?
The Presbytery holds four stated meetings a year with the possibility of a special meeting in July if needed. Click here for our meeting schedule.
5. What’s the history of the Presbytery of Southern New England?
Presbyterians have been arriving in New England since before 1640. Among the earliest Presbyterians to arrive in this region were: some of the Puritans; slaves transported and sold in America by Cromwell’s government for fidelity to their oaths of allegiance to Charles II; French Huguenots who settled in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; and Scots and Scotch-Irish who settled in Worcester, Massachusetts. Early New England presbyteries included the Presbytery of Londonderry, the Presbytery of Boston, the Presbytery of Salem, the Presbytery of Grafton, and the Presbytery of the Eastward.
In 1801 the General Assembly decided that there should be no Presbyterian Churches in our region, conceding Southern New England to the Congregationalist churches. In 1839 Presbyterians in Thompsonville, Connecticut approached a presbytery in New York to be organized as a Presbyterian church under its jurisdiction. In 1846 Presbyterians in Fall River, Massachusetts organized as a Presbyterian church. In 1848 Presbyterians in Providence, Rhode Island approached Boston Presbytery to be organized as a church.
When the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America formed the Synod of New England in 1912 (from constituent churches and ministers of the Synod of New York), it also created four New England presbyteries: a new Presbytery of Boston, substantially smaller than its predecessor of the same name, the Presbytery of Newburyport, the Presbytery of Connecticut Valley (created primarily from constituent churches and ministers of the Presbytery of Westchester), and the Presbytery of Providence (created primarily from constituents of the former Presbytery of Boston). The 1958 merger with the United Presbyterian Church of North America resulted in the dissolution of that denomination’s Presbytery of Boston and some minor boundary changes in Southern New England.
Following the absorption of the Synod of New England into the Synod of the Northeast, the Presbytery of Connecticut Valley and the Presbytery of Providence united in 1977 to create the Presbytery of Southern New England. At its formation, the Presbytery consisted of 34 churches, 141 ministers, with 13,329 active members. Since its charter, the Presbytery has organized five new congregations and has created two congregations by mergers. At the beginning of 2016, the Presbytery consisted of 30 churches, 155 ministers, and 7238 active members (members based on 12/31/15statistics).
Presbyterians in Southern New England have a long history of churches worshiping in languages other than English. In 1936 there was a Ukrainian Presbyterian Church in Hartford, Connecticut. The Presbytery chartered Christ is Life Presbyterian Church, a Portuguese-speaking congregation, in Fall River, MA, on June 12, 2005, and regretfully dissolved this church May 5, 2012, at the request of the church.
6. What is the per capita for 2017 and what is the mission giving percentages?
The Presbytery is responsible for raising the per capita apportionment for the General Assembly and the Synod, as well as its own. If churches do not pay their per capita to the Presbytery, the Presbytery still remains responsible for payment to the Synod and General Assembly for churches within their bounds.
Per capita is based on the number of members within churches as reported as of December 31, 2015. During 2017 PSNE per capita is as follows:
|Presbytery of Southern New England||$33.00|
|Synod of the Northeast||$4.10|
Currently, undesignated mission giving is split between the Presbytery (70%), the Synod (10%), and the General Assembly (20%).Updated 06/19/2017