How to write a Presbytery profile

A profile tells people what something is like. It is a helpful way of communicating what a congregation, presbytery, denomination or mission organisation is about. A profile is a statement of identity. It indicates briefly (say in about 1000 to 1500 words) who we are, where we have come from, what we are like, and what we do.

Suggestions (taking a Presbytery profile as an example)

1. List the basic questions you need answers to:

2. Organise your notes and thinking around the Presbytery more than around the churches or personalities that are part of the story.

3. Begin the profile with name location and when founded - not with the first church or minister in the district (you can mention those later).

4. Locate your sources. These may include:

5. You may have too little information and some gaps in your sources. You will probably (also) have too much information and not know what to do with it. The way to deal with both is to remember what you are trying to do and that you do not have a lot of space.

6. As soon as possible write yourself (a) time line of important dates and (b) a list of about 6 to 8 topics you intend to have about a paragraph each about.

7. In your research use the detail to help identify themes. In your writing organise your profile around the themes (in rough chronological order) and use, sparingly, select details to illustrate those themes.

8. Mention briefly the social, economic and political context. Be aware of what other churches are doing.

9. Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each of your sources. An Anglican, Catholic or Methodist source may tell you something about Presbyterians they don't know about themselves, or they may misunderstand or even misrepresent what Presbyterians understand about themselves.

10. Have a long version as well as a short one.

John Roxborogh