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Ecumenical Relations

Ministers of other denominations

 

The Book of Order affirms the ecumenical commitment of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), particularly in Chapter Five: Ecumenicity and Union. This section outlines our relationships with other denominations and holds that the basis of these relationships is to give visibility to the unity that exists in Christ.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has authorized and directed the formation of covenants, agreements, and statements of purpose with other Christian bodies that address, among other things, the mutual recognition of baptism, and the orderly exchange of ministers, such agreements are said to place us in correspondence with one another.

The PCUSA is in a relationship of correspondence, meaning the church maintains a relationship with the highest council or governing body with the following:

  • Churches with which the PCUSA had had historical relations outside the United States, as recognized by the General Assembly
  • Churches that are members of the ecumenical bodies (for example: the World Council of Churches, Christian Churches Together, etc.) in which the PCUSA holds membership. Access a list of these churches here, while every effort is made to keep this list up-to-date, for the most accurate information contact the office of Ecumenical Relations.  
  • Churches with which the PCUSA has formal ecumenical dialogue approved by the General Assembly

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is in full communion with those churches so recognized by the General Assembly.  These relationships exist as a matter of ecumenical agreement.

Full communion partners

This information is helpful when considering calling a non-PCUSA minister/pastor. Mid-councils calling a non-PCUSA minister should review the Book of Order and the resources on this page to evaluate the many ways ministers of other denominations may serve the PCUSA. Some denominations have special procedures including: Reformed denominations and denominations covered under the Formula of Agreement.

Resources:

Advisory Opinion, Receiving Ministers of Other Denominations.

Formula of Agreement, through the adoption of a Formula of Agreement, the Reformed Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America entered into a relationship of full communion. We continually strengthen this relationship and also assist in the orderly exchange of ministers.

SIDE BAR: G-2.0505 Transfer of Ministers of Other Denominations. This section in the Book of Order outlines how a calling body should receive a minister of another denomination. This process includes the minister furnishing credentials, evidence of good standing acceptable to the presbytery, and satisfactory evidence of possessing the qualifications of character and scholarship required of candidates. The office of Ecumenical Relations is available to facilitate the process of acquiring evidence of good standing in the minister’s denomination. Contact the office at 502-569-5037 for more information.

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