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The Presbyterian Church in America is one of the faster growing denominations in the United States, with over 1450 churches and missions throughout the USA and Canada. There were over 306,000 communicant and non-communicant members as of December 2000.
"Reformed" defines the doctrinal beliefs of the PCA, which holds that the purest expressions of scriptural doctrine are found in the Calvinistic creeds, particularly the Westminster Confession of Faith.
The PCA's representative form of church government is rooted in its name -- presbyterian. Local churches are governed by elders (presbyters) elected by the church members. This form of government extends through the regional presbyteries, which facilitate connectionalism, to the national General Assembly, which expresses PCA's connectionalism and the bond of union between/among all the churches.
Most of the work of the denomination is coordinated in the PCA Office Building in Lawrenceville. That work is carried out by four program committees -- Mission to the World, Mission to North America, Christian Education and Publications, and Reformed University Ministries. In addition, there is the Office of the Stated Clerk, which is responsible for the administration of the General Assembly; the PCA Foundation, which teaches more effective stewardship; and PCA Retirement & Benefits, Inc, which provides life, disability, retirement plan benefits and a relief fund for PCA pastors, lay church workers, and the staffs of PCA committees, agencies, and institutions.
The PCA moved to Atlanta in 1982 and bought its current building in Lawrenceville in 2001. Two-thirds of the PCA's churches and members are in the Southeast, and 25 churches are located in the Atlanta metro area.
National denominational institutions located outside PCA's headquarters include Ridge Haven, a conference center located close to Rosman, North Carolina; Covenant College, a liberal arts college with over 750 students, located at Lookout Mountain, Georgia; and Covenant Theological Seminary, in St. Louis, Missouri.
The PCA's influence extends far beyond the walls of the local church. Through Mission to the World, about 600 foreign missionaries are working in about 60 nations. Because of the unique relationship between Mission to the World and over 30 mission agencies with which some of PCA's missionaries are working, many people consider PCA's influence to be far greater than its size might indicate. Further, with close to 160 chaplains in the military and in hospitals, the Gospel is proclaimed to a rather large audience around the world not reached through usual ecclesiastical channels. Because of the emphasis on education, many members of the PCA are teachers and professors at all levels of education, including large universities and quite a few theological seminaries.