Our church governance is based on three important principles:
- Church structure should be based on Scripture,
- Everything should be done in an orderly manner, and
- Government should be in the hands of representative assemblies, not individuals.
(From ‘Welcome to a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)’ by Ronn Kerr)
Westminster is a growing congregation of nearly 1,400 members connected to the Presbyterian Church (USA), which is made up of over 10,000 diverse congregations found throughout the United States.
The internal governance of Westminster is managed by the Session, a group of women and men, “ruling elders”, who make policy, receive members, assign benevolence gifts, direct worship and the sacraments, and oversee day-to-day church business, church property, and the annual stewardship campaign.
Three other elected boards provide leadership.
- The Board of Deacons are a group of women and men elected to serve the needs of the congregation and community, under the direction of the Session.
- The Board of Ushers serve the congregation and visitors as “ushers” during worship services.
- The Westminster Foundation is an elected board that works to secure and use endowment funds and special gifts to support the church and its ministries.
Homestead Presbytery, the next governing body above the local church, is made up of lay elders and ministers of the churches in Eastern Nebraska, excluding Omaha. The presbytery’s is the primary external governing organization; its office is in Lincoln. Homestead oversees the calling, installation and ordination of ministers, congregational formation, clergy and congregational discipline plus providing leadership in areas of stewardship, mission, education, and resources.
Regional ministry is facilitated by synods, composed of elders and ministers representing the region’s presbyteries. Westminster is a member of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies.
The General Assembly is the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); it is an elected body comprised of elders and ministers, convened by the Moderator. The General Assembly meets bi-annually to propose constitutional and doctrinal changes (which are then passed to the Presbyteries for ratification). It also establishes task forces and commissions and facilitates national communication.