no single style of liturgy. The United Church of Christ recognizes
sacraments of Baptism and the Lords Supper, or Holy Communion.
As might be expected, the organizational structure of the numerous
Christian groups or denominations varies widely. However, there are three
basic organizational forms of church government: episcopal, presbyterian,
The Episcopal Ecclesiastical Government
The episcopal form of church government is characterized by a govern-
ment headed by bishops. The areas in which the churches are located are
divided into dioceses which are presided over by a bishop. The individual
churches are called parishes, and are presided over by the parish clergy. The
Episcopal, the Roman Catholic, the United Methodist, and the Eastern
Orthodox churches follow the episcopal form of ecclesiastical government.
The Presbyterian Ecclesiastical Government
The presbyterian ecclesiastical form of church government is a graded
system of ecclesiastical government by presbyters or elders. The churches are
closely organized with elected elders or presbyters. The presbytery consists of
ministers and elders from a district, and the synod or assembly of ministers
and elders represent a wider area, or the whole country. The congregation is
responsible to the presbytery and the presbytery to the synod. The
Presbyterian church follows the presbyterian ecclesiastical form of govern-
The Congregational Ecclesiastical Government
The congregational ecclesiastical form of church government is charac-
terized by churches which are self-governing. Each congregation has its own
pastor and church officers. No church has authority over any other
churcheach church is theoretically a pure democracy. Congregationalists
and Baptists follow the congregational form of ecclesiastical government.
WORSHIP REQUIREMENTS FOR CHRISTIAN GROUPS
Congregational worship is practiced in most Christian groups. The titles
given to religious leaders vary from group to group as do the names given to
the houses of worship. Forms of public worship also vary greatly.
Liturgy is a rite or series of rites prescribed for public worship in a
Christian church in accordance with an authorized or stated form. This
section is meant to familiarize the RP with the most common forms of public
worship, or liturgies, used by the various groups.
The following forms of worship are cited solely as examples of the most
commonly practiced liturgies or rites utilized by Christian groups or bodies.