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The Bible uses many different models or pictures to describe the Church, to help us understand what it is and how it should function. Of all these, the picture that best fits how the Presbyterian Church works is that of a ‘flock’ under the care of ‘shepherds’. In this model, Jesus is recognised as the Chief Shepherd, and the elders as his under-shepherds. The name ‘Presbyterian’ means ‘governed by elders’.
At City Central Presbyterian Church we warmly welcome everyone who wants to join with us in our weekly activities, the key one of which is our Sunday time together. But we are particularly keen for people to come into full membership, to identify themselves as a part of the flock, and so to benefit from the pastoral care of the ministers and elders.
Church membership is about commitment: a person makes a commitment to a particular body of Christian believers, and they in turn make a commitment to look after that person through prayer, friendship, and pastoral care.
At City Central Presbyterian Church full membership is open to all regular attenders who subscribe to the things we believe and who want to live for Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. A person seeking membership would speak first to a minister or elder and then an appropriate procedure would be followed. The three basic pathways to membership are: by Profession of Faith; by Transfer from another Presbyterian Church; or by Resolution of the Session (the Elders). For Profession of Faith there would normally be a course of instruction given, and the candidate asked to affirm before the Congregation their assent to a series of questions. If the candidate has not previously received Christian Baptism, baptism would be part of the admission process. In the second pathway, membership is transferable between Presbyterian churches throughout Australia. The third method would normally be adopted for a person who has had past active membership in a non-Presbyterian Christian Church. Persons admitted to full membership are expected to participate actively in the life of City Central Presbyterian Church, and they have the privilege of voting at Congregational meetings on such things as the election of elders and deacons, the expenditure of funds on major projects, and the calling of a new minister.
People who for some reason are not comfortable in making the commitment required for full membership are still made welcome at City Central Presbyterian Church. ‘Adherents’ are people who participate regularly in the life of the Congregation without wanting to be full members. Adherents also benefit from the pastoral care of the ministers and elders, and are able to attend and speak at meetings of the Congregation, but they are not permitted to vote.