Church Governance

There are various levels of Church governance:

  • At the local level, it is vested in Session, our Ministers and elected Elders, who meet monthly to discuss the spiritual welfare of St John’s in the City.
  • At a Wellington regional level, it is the Presbytery, which meets monthly for business and fellowship at different churches throughout the region to resource faith communities for mission.
  • At the national level, the General Assembly meets annually and is the highest of the three courts.

St John’s also has a Council, made up of the leaders of various church committees, the Ministers and Session representatives. Much of the day to day administrative business is carried out by the Council. A large number of St John’s members contribute to the work of the Church through these various committees.  Find out more about the different committees that make up the St John’s Council.

St John’s in the City is part of the wider Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, whose website provides more information on basic Church beliefs, national activities and other Church Government matters.

Session Response to the General Assembly Decision on Marriage

At the last General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ) a decision was made that ministers may only conduct a marriage service for the union of a man and a woman.  In July 2015, the St John’s Session offered an opportunity over two consecutive Sundays for anyone who would like to be part of a conversation to consider this decision.  Through this process, the variety of opinions and perspectives in our congregation have been heard by the St John’s Session.  The thoughtful and prayerful comments have been appreciated and valued as the Session has discerned together what response to make to the General Assembly.  Given the obvious variety of faithfully-held views on this controversial issue, Session has not found it easy to discern the most appropriate response for our congregation at this time.  However, after careful and prayerful discussion, the Session have unanimously agreed to submit this following response to the General Assembly:

The St John’s Session does not support the decision of the General Assembly. Clearly, the Session and the congregation hold a variety of views and convictions on this issue. People are faithfully engaged in reading and discerning scripture and coming to differing conclusions. We want to walk together, though divided in opinion on this issue. We want General Assembly to understand that – and to help us do that.

Despite the differences we honestly face together, there is much to be thankful for.  We have shown we can discuss a difficult issue like this together with grace and unity, and seek together to understand what God is saying to us through scripture and in our life shared together. We continue to learn how to be the Church together, and what it means to act as faithful witnesses, with God’s gracious guidance and strength.

-Rev Allister Lane