The word 'Presbyterian' is a form of church governance which emphasises the individual responsibility of every member and local church. The Presbyterian Church of Wales is governed on the basis of courts: presbyteries, the Association and the General Assembly.
The Lord God is head of the Church, so the Presbyterian Church of Wales does not have a person as spiritual leader.
Every church belonging to the Presbyterian Church of Wales is governed by elders, who are elected by the congregation.
Every church belongs to a presbytery and its elders are expected to attend regular presbytery meetings. Presbyteries are responsible for planning ministerial and missionary work within their boundaries. They also ordain elders, supervise calls to ministers and coordinate youth and children’s work. There are 14 Presbyteries: ten conduct their business in Welsh and the remaining four in English.
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Every presbytery is part of the Association, which is divided into three provinces: the Association in the East, the Association in the South and the Association in the North. The Association in the East consists of the four English-speaking presbyteries. The Association supervises and endorses the work of the presbyteries. It is also responsible for ordaining ministers.
The General Assembly
The annual focal point of the Presbyterian Church of Wales is the General Assembly. All ministers and elders are members of the General Assembly, but it is typically attended by around 150 representatives from the presbyteries, the Association and the General Assembly Boards. The General Assembly is chaired by the Moderator, who is elected annually.
General Assembly Board, Departments and Panels.
The General Assembly is advised and supported by:
- The General Assembly Board; acts as Executive Committee for the Assembly, formulating policy and giving direction and guidance to the entire Church.
- A number of panels and departments. Each is responsible for an aspect of the Church’s life and work and typically meets twice a year.
The Central Office in Whitchurch, Cardiff, is the administrative centre of the Presbyterian Church of Wales. The chief administrative officer is the General Secretary, who answers to the General Assembly.