We are a downtown church in a growing city, united by our covenant relationship with God and one another. We love Jesus, and are committed to sharing his love with others, and humbly serving the city of Orlando and beyond.
Leadership and Governance
The word “Presbyterian” actually describes the church’s form of governance, more than theology. Our church works within a larger network of churches, to ensure accountability, share resources and support the ministry of the global church.
First Presbyterian Church of Orlando is governed under the constitution of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). Also known as the Book of Order, the constitution provides for two groups of leaders to help oversee the work of the church:
A Presbyterian church is governed according to the pattern of elders seen in the Old and New Testaments. The word "presbyter" is Greek for elder.
We recognize God’s works in a variety of Christian churches, but as Presbyterian Christians, we are uniquely convicted that being governed by elders is Biblical and most like the New Testament churches of the 1st Century.
The office of elder is a distinctive mark of Presbyterianism: ordained non-clergy (non-pastors) who take part in local pastoral care and decision making at all levels. These Biblically-qualified elders are elected from the church family and, along with ministers, lead the church corporately.
At First Pres, elders make up our governing body, called the Session. Each elder serves a three-year term, with one third of the Session rotating out of service at the end of each year – also known as their “class.”
The Diaconate (the fancy name for a group of deacons) is made up of individuals who are responsible for the care and nurture of the church family. Deacons are identified in the Bible as people called to sympathy, witness and service after the example of Jesus Christ and actively serve the church family for three years.
The office of deacon is important to the ongoing relationships and community in the life of our church family. Deacons visit the sick, hospitalized and homebound, and offer communion. They are present at regular worship services and memorial services to offer care and to pray for those in need.
First Presbyterian Church of Orlando has been in the heart of the City Beautiful for over 135 years, serving, teaching, and shaping lives. Our church family has seen it all: trains cut through Florida’s jungle, miles of orange groves, the opening of Disney World, and now the advent of SunRail (back to trains!). Things may change, but the Word of God endures for ever.