How are Presbyterians Governed? Presbyterian polity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected ruling elders, usually called the Session. Groups of local churches are governed by a higher assembly of elders known as the Presbytery; Presbyteries nationwide gather together annually in a General Assembly. Responsibility for conduct of church services is reserved to an ordained minister or pastor known as a teaching elder, or a minister of the word and sacrament.
Presbyterian polity was developed as a rejection of governance by hierarchies of single bishops (episcopal polity), but also differs from the congregationalist polity in which each congregation is independent. In contrast to the other two forms, authority in the Presbyterian polity flows both from the top down (as higher assemblies exercise limited but important authority over individual congregations, e.g., only the presbytery can ordain ministers, install pastors, and start up, close, and approve relocating a congregation) and from the bottom up (e.g., the moderator and officers are not appointed from above but are rather elected by and from among the members of the assembly). This theory of governance developed in Geneva under John Calvin and was introduced to Scotland by John Knox after his period of exile in Geneva. It is strongly associated with French, Dutch, Swiss and Scottish Reformation movements, and the Reformed and Presbyterian churches.
Pastor Davies (Teaching Elder)- I’m the organizing pastor of the church since 1975. I’m married to Molly and am the father of three children and six beautiful grandchildren. I possess a passion for preaching and teaching the Word. I love Grace Presbyterian Church and am grateful for the opportunity to serve here. You can listen to some of my past sermons at Grace here.
Paul Koenig (Ruling Elder)- I’m an elder and have been a part of Grace Presbyterian Church since 2000. I have been happily married for twenty five years and have a son named Joshua and a lovely daughter named Rebecca. I enjoy reading, watching all kinds of sports (especially LSU), and working with computers. I love that Grace Presbyterian teaches the historic doctrines of the Reformed faith, they are God-centered, and I love the godly fellowship among fellow believers.
Rene Chopin III (Ruling Elder)- I’m an elder and have been part of Grace Presbyterian Church since 1987. I have been married to Beth for twenty seven years and have four wonderful children that we raised within the Church: Megan, Rene, Erin, and Sarah. I am a movie buff who also loves to work on salt water tanks and cars. I love both the enriching fellowship and the solid, biblical preaching at GPC.
R.J. Richard (Ruling Elder/Clerk of Session)
Michael Chopin (Chairman)- I am a deacon here at the Church and have been in the community since 1987. Along with my wife Kim, we have raised four wonderful children: Katelyn, Ashlyn, Mikey, and Matthew. I enjoy hanging out with my family around our wonderful city. I love the preaching here at grace because it is full of good doctrine. Pastor’s faithfulness to the Word is very encouraging.
Rene Chopin Jr.- I’m a deacon here at the Church and have been in the congregation since 1987. I have been married for fifty years to Pat (or Nonny as she is affectionately called) and we have three grown children (Rene, Michael, and Chris). One of my favorite hobbies is to bike around our community. My favorite things about the Church are the family atmosphere and also the Christ-centered preaching.
John Burke- I’m married to Kelley with children John, Caroline, Emily and Olivia. I joined Grace in 1999 and its diaconate the following year. I serve as Regional Director for Ameritas and founded Louisiana Home School Sports. I coached the New Orleans Homeschool saints and sought to encourage boys to become young men. Two things I love about Grace Presbyterian are the elders’ commitment to their office and the great teaching we receive from the pulpit and Sunday school.
Mark Becker- I’m a deacon in the Church. I was born in 1957 & have been a Presbyterian all my life. I’m married to Kim with two lovely children & six wonderful grandchildren. My hobbies are cooking, classic cars & the great outdoors. I have a passion to serve the Lord.
Gaynell Dreher (Secretary)- I’m a native of New Orleans and have served Grace Presbyterian Church for over twenty years as secretary. I’ve been married for forty-five years to Joseph, I have one daughter, and I have two lovely grandchildren. I enjoy traveling any chance I get.
Catherine Duensing (Music Director)-I am the music director and have been at the church since we moved to Louisiana in 2000. I studied music during my undergrad and have my masters in choral conducting. I love being involved in church music because it presents such a unique opportunity to worship God through song.