At St Andrew’s Newcastle we are part of the Presbyterian Church in NSW which in turn is part of the Presbyterian Church of Australia. The organisation of our church is based on the practices which are in agreement with the Presbyterian model. We carry out our functions in accordance with the Code of our Presbyterian Church in NSW. The word ‘Presbyterian’ just means that our church is governed by a group of elders. This group is called a Kirk Session for historical reasons. The word ‘Kirk’ simply means church. The elders, which are both male and female, are drawn from the congregation and are people who are blessed with a strong faith and spiritual gifts who are given the responsibility to have spiritual oversight of the members of the congregation.
Each Presbyterian Church, like St Andrew’s, is a member of a local grouping of churches called a Presbytery. St Andrew’s, Newcastle is a member of the Presbytery of the Hunter. Each Presbytery is part of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of NSW. The Presbyterian Church of NSW is a part of the Presbyterian Church of Australia. St Andrew’s, as a local congregation, carries out its pastoral oversight and administrative responsibility within the structure of the denomination.
The Presbyterian Church is known as a Confessional Church. The core tenets of doctrine are summarised in a short document called The Apostles Creed which is frequently recited during worship and also in the Westminster Confession of Faith. It is important to understand that as Presbyterians we cannot believe whatever we wish. As a Confessional Church we are bound by the doctrines that our Church is founded on.