Presbyterian Polity

The Presbyterian form of government set forth in the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is grounded in Scripture and built around the marks of the true Church.  It is in all things subject to Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church.  As the Church seeks reform and fresh direction, it looks to Jesus Christ who goes ahead of us and calls us to follow him.  United with Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church seeks “not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

The Presbyterian system of government is established in the light of Scripture but is not regarded as essential for the existence of the Christian Church nor required of all Christians. 

What is unique about Presbyterian polity is that authority flows from both the local congregation up and from the denomination down.  The congregation is governed by presbyters: ruling elders and teaching elders. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation, but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life.  Teaching elders are committed to equip the people of God for their ministry and witness.  Together ruling elders and teaching elders govern through an elected council called the Session (from the Latin meaning “to sit”). Ruling elders are elected for three year terms and a teaching elder moderates the Session.


Church Governance


Session meets the third Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Anderson Conference Room.

The Session consists of ruling elders who oversee the governance of the church and the spiritual growth and support of its members.

Moderator: Pastor

Committees of the Session are Global Mission and Local Social Witness, Congregational Life, Christian Education, and Worship, Arts and Music.


Global Mission and Social Witness Committee

The Global Mission and Social Witness Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month at 4:00 p.m.

This committee is responsible for developing our congregation’s relationship to the Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly’s state, regional, national and international mission initiatives and those for our ecumenical partners in correspondence with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by supporting, interpreting, and communicating the story of their work to our congregation.  This committee is also responsible for developing our congregation’s relationship to the local ecumenical ministries and for developing, promoting and overseeing our own concrete programs of Christian social witness in Hastings, Adams County, and the surrounding areas, with special attention to the areas of justice, peacemaking, ecology, hunger, housing, refugees, immigration, and social services – both religious and secular.

Mission Connections:

Hyeyoung-lee and Kurt Esslingler, South Korea

Rachel Weller

Kristin Hamner

Calle General Domingo Mayl #32

Ensanche Quisequeya

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 


Congregational Life Committee 

Congregational Life provides hospitality, fellowship programs, and events which draw people together for recognition, celebration, encouragement and enjoyment of the church family.  The committee develops and oversees evangelism and renewal efforts, membership recruitment, new member integration and church marketing.                                 

Christian Education Committee

The CE committee develops and oversees educational ministries of the church for children, youth, college-aged, and adult individuals.


Worship, Arts and Music Committee

WAM oversees and directs the worship and music life of the church in accord with the Presbyterian Directory of Worship. The committee encourages the use of all arts in the life of the congregation.

Music Staff: Tim Canady, Teresa Canady, Dr. Byron Jensen, Brett Epperson, Linda Johnson, Mary Plock, Linda Vollweiler

The Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees meets the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Anderson Conference Room.  

The Trustees oversee and maintain the financial viability of the church and maintain the properties and worldly assets of the congregation.


Stewardship, Interpretation and Mission

Stewardship, Interpretation and Mission develops, educates and encourages members to be good stewards of time, talent and money.  The committee oversees the financial life of the congregation and provides for congregational education and interpretation in the privilege of national and international mission of the denomination.

Board of Deacons

The Board of Deacons meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6:45 p.m. in the Anderson Conference Room.  

The Deacons oversee the compassionate care of church members and similar outreach and witness to the larger community.  Each member of the congregation has a Deacon who is available to assist at times of need.  Deacons help take Communion to those who are homebound or in assisted living, and provide transportation to worship services.


Parish Nurse Council

Erica Brooks               Pat Kern          

Rachel Florek             Sherry Welton

Jerry Seiler

Personnel Board

Personnel is the link between the congregation and the Session in providing appropriate paid staff for programs and ministries.  The committee determines job descriptions and annually evaluates all church employees.  

Memorial Committee

The Memorial Committee meets four times a year.

This committee oversees memorial accounts and follows the family’s wishes.

Scholarship Committee

The Scholarship Committee meets at the call of the Moderator.

The Scholarship Committee is responsible for awarding the annual Ann L. Binfield Scholarship monies. The financial award may be used for tuition, room, board, school fees, books or other educational expenses. The following is the criteria used for awarding the scholarship:

-Be an outstanding student

-Have financial need

-Active member of First Presbyterian Church, Hastings

-Attend a Presbyterian college or university

Additional funds could come from other memorials and donations.

Beginning in January 2016, the Scholarship Committee will also be responsible for awarding the Chip Essex Memorial Scholarship. The following criteria will be used for awarding this scholarship:

-Be an active member of First Presbyterian Church, Hastings College

-Attend a 2 year or 4 year post-secondary school

 The Scholarship Committee is typically made up of nine members with one additional representative from Trustees and Session, respectively. 


Foundation Board

The Foundation Board meets quarterly on Mondays at 5:30 p.m., or as called by the Moderator, in the Kessler Room.  

It is the duty of the Foundation to oversee the independent corporation for the purpose of receiving, managing, and investing any restricted or unrestricted gifts, devises, grants and bequests of real or personal property for the benefit of the church.


Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee is responsible directly to the congregation.  It is composed of two Elders (one serves as moderator), one Deacon, and one Trustee.  The remaining five members are from the congregation at-large.  Their responsibilities include nominating members to the three elected boards: Session, Deacons, and Trustees.


Communication and Technology Committee

The Communication and Technology Committee meets via email and by call of the Chair.

The Committee provides technology based solutions to the church and enhances the quality and integrity of our communications to our congregation and community.



Copyright 2015 – First Presbyterian Church-Hastings

Updated April 5, 2018