The Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa has been structured into three Councils (used to be called Courts). The highest Council is the General Assembly which meets every two years and declares on matters relating to doctrine, faith, ethics and so forth. The Presbytery is beneath the Assembly but above the local congregations eldership (called a Session). The Presbytery oversees the life and work of the Church in a district or specific geographical region. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we have the Session which is made up of a local congregations elders and they oversee the work of the local church.

The Minister is part of the Session but accountable to the Presbytery for what happens within his/her congregation. The Minister is responsible for the spirituality of the congregation and this takes the form, in particular of ensuring that the Bible is preached in purity and that the Sacraments are regularly celebrated (being Protestant we have two Sacraments, namely, Holy Communion and Baptism). The elders are elected or selected from among the congregation and they are vital in knowing the mind of the congregation itself. They are also responsible for the pastoral care and what one can term “temporal matters”.

Each of the above Councils has representatives and is led by a Moderator (who Moderates discussion). Each Council also has a Clerk who maintains records, calls meetings and so forth.