In the Presbyterian Church, there are three types of ordained office: Pastors (ministers of the Word & Sacrament), Elders, and Deacons.
The Elders and Pastors together form the Session, the governing body for the local church. As identified in the Book of Order (the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church USA), the Session is given the authority and responsibilities to lead and direct the entire ministry of the church. Both men and women may serve as officers.
At First Church, the Session is comprised of 18 elders, divided equally among three classes. Six elders are elected annually at a meeting of the congregation to serve a 3-year term. In addition, the congregation may choose to elect a Youth Elder (an active member of the congregation under the age of 25) for a one-year term.
The Board of Deacons
The current Board of Deacons is comprised of 18 deacons, equally divided among three classes. Six deacons are elected annually at a meeting of the congregation, for a 3-year term. The responsibilities of the Deacons as identified in the Book of Order (the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church USA) are to provide practical help and ministry to the congregation and community, under the direction of the Session.
First Presbyterian Church is incorporated in the state of Florida. The elders in active service fulfill the role of Trustees of the corporation, having the power to receive, hold, encumber, manage and transfer property, real or personal, for the church; to accept and execute deeds of title to such property; to hold and defend the title to such property, to manage any permanent special funds for the furtherance of the purposes of the church, subject to the authority of the Session and under the provisions of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church USA.