Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him.
Many of the early Presbyterians in America came from England, Scotland and Ireland. The first American Presbytery was organized at Philadelphia in 1706. The first General Assembly was held in the same city in 1789. The first Assembly was convened by the Rev. John Witherspoon, one of the few ordained ministers to sign the Declaration of Independence.
The Presbyterian church follows a “tri-partite” structure of General Assembly, Synod, and Presbytery. Interesting, this same tri-partite form of governance is the same one that was adopted by the United States at the time of the American Revolution, borrowed from the Presbyterian system of governance.
Locally, Flourtown Presbyterian Church is a member of the Philadelphia Presbytery, which is comprised of member churches throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The Philadelphia Presbytery is one of the oldest Presbyteries within the Presbyterian denomination.