Christianity is not a religion, it is a personal relationship with Jesus
Within that relationship, there are a number of ways that our worship, beliefs and methods can be expressed. At First Garvagh we are part of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, so we organise ourselves and our practices in agreement with the Presbyterian model. Presbyterian means that our Church is governed by a group of Elders, called a Kirk Session. The Elders are drawn from the Congregation and are people blessed with strong faith and spiritual gifts who oversee all spiritual matters in the congregation. Each Presbyterian Church is then a member of a local grouping called a Presbytery (we are a member of the Coleraine & Limavady Presbytery). Each Presbytery is then represented on the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. In this way, the local Churches can unite and agree on various matters and therefore present a united viewpoint.
Presbyterian Churches are part of a wider grouping of Churches collectively known as Protestant. There are other groupings such as Roman Catholic and Orthodox. The Protestant Churches began from the protests of Martin Luther in 1517 who opposed the corrupt practices that he saw within the Church Establishment at that time. The major system of beliefs that Protestants adhere to (known as Doctrine) were defined and refined by Luther and others such as John Calvin at this time and for about a century afterwards. Thecore tenets of the Doctrine are summarised in The Apostles Creed and in depth within the Westminister Confession of Faith.