The Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH) has 1,249 congregations (local churches). They are considered the most fundamental "units" of our church, based on the principle "the church exists in its congregations." The RCH is structured and governed according the ‘Synod-presbyterian’ principle. Presbyterian (or presbyteral) polity is a method of church governance ("ecclesiastical polity") typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the (Kirck) session or consistory.
In order to organise church life on regional and national levels, the RCH has established higher structural bodies for church legislation and operation: 27 presbyteries, four districts and the General Synod. Presbyteries usually contain approximately 30-40 congregations and have mainly administrative roles; each Presbytery belongs in one of the four church districts: the Cistibiscan Church District (centre: Miskolc), the Transtibiscan Church District (centre: Debrecen), the Danubian Church District (centre: Budapest), or the Transdanubian Church District (centre: Pápa). The ultimate source of church legislation and administration of the Reformed Church in Hungary is the General Synod.
The RCH (as a member of the family of Reformed churches in the world) is constructed in a representative way from below, from the congregational level. Members of governing bodies on all levels of the church are elected by a group of church members, and in all levels above the congregation pastors and lay people are represented equally.
The church levels function independently providing various kinds of service and using their own budget. Our common church constitution, together with a set of specific rules and regulations, makes it possible for different units of the church to create their own operational design, to collect maintenance fees, to rent out church buildings and other properties according to their needs. However, for certain transactions they depend on higher church bodies. These general rules allow for freedom and flexibility in the congregations' operation, but they also protect the integrity of the church: a value that is highly important in our service. Interestingly enough, this Calvinist representative system and method of church governance, which was first used in the 18th century United States' Constitution, became the pattern for present-day democratic election procedures.