Who are we?

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has over 11,000 congregations which are organized into 173 presbyteries (district governing bodies) and 16 synods (regional governing bodies). First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis is part of the Presbytery of Baltimore and Synod of the Mid-Atlantic. We are guided by the PC(USA) Constitution; Part I is the Book of Confessions and Part II is the Book of Order. Download the Book of Confessions and the Book of Order.

Church Governance

What are the main features of the Presbyterian form of church government?

There are three basic forms of government found among churches. A hierarchical or Episcopal form is marked by power lodged in the office of bishop This form of government is found in the Roman Catholic Church, Episcopal churches, and Methodist churches.

The second type of church government is the congregational form. In this form, each congregation acts autonomously and independently of other groups. Ultimate decision making rests in the local congregation. The United Church of Christ and Baptist churches are examples of the congregational form of church government.

The Presbyterian form of government is representational. Local congregations elect a group of elders called a session for oversight. Representatives of sessions and the clergy of churches in a particular geographical area form a presbytery. Presbyteries in a region comprise a synod. All the synods form the General Assembly. This is a “Presbyterian” form of church governance because presbyteries are the governing units that exercise direct authority over churches.


The term “elder” doesn’t have anything to do with age. Traditionally, this title refers to either a “teaching elder”—the minister of Word and Sacrament—or to a “ruling elder,” who is a layperson ordained by a local congregation. The word “elder” is an English translation of the Greek term presbyteros, as found in the New Testament. So a “presbyterian” church is a church governed by elders. Duties of elders are to strengthen and nurture Christian faith in congregations and to exercise spiritual oversight over the life and work of the church.

First Presbyterian Church’s session is composed of twelve ruling elders and one youth elder. Eleven elders chair different committees in the church and one elder is the Clerk of Session.

The session generally meets the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm and is moderated by the Pastor or the Associate Pastor.

Session Committees: Spiritual Formation, Congregational Life, Communications, Membership, Planned Giving & Memorials, Mission, Nominating, Staff, Stewardship & Finance, Worship & Music and Family Ministry.


Deacons are a New Testament office in the church and are charged with ministries of care, witness, and service. The ministry of service (Greek diakonia, from which the term “deacon” is derived) include ministering to those in need, visiting the sick, and concern for all in distress. The Board of Deacons meets the second Tuesday of every month, and self-elects two Co-Moderators. A co-pastor is the staff liaison. Our board consists of 11 adult and two youth members. The deacons are involved in the ministry of visitation, serve monthly home bound communion, and host the weekly coffee hour on Sunday mornings at 10:30 am in Fellowship Hall.


Trustees are elected, but un-ordained officers who handle the business and property issues of the church. The Board of Trustees oversees the maintenance of our campus, insurance issues, and all financial data.The board of trustees meets on the third Tuesday of every month, and self-elects a president. The Director of Facilities and Business Manager are the staff liaisons.