Being Presbyterian elder is a high calling, a unique opportunity to offer servant leadership to the congregation, and an experience of spiritual growth. The Presbyterian Church Book of Order defines the role of a ruling elder and the qualifications of those called to serve in this capacity.
The Book of Order states that ruling elders, together with teaching elders (pastors), exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships. When elected by the congregation, they shall serve faithfully as members of the session. (The PC(USA) Book of Order)
Individuals who undertake particular ministries including ruling elder, should be persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Their manner of life should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and in the world. (The PC(USA) Book of Order)
The congregation through a nomination and election process identifies candidates for the office of ruling elder. During a three-year term, Elders usually have the opportunity to work in more than one area of the church's life so that they may learn and grow in understanding through their service.
Activity and Time Commitments for Elders
Elders will meet with deacons in the fall prior to beginning their term of service for 8 one-hour sessions, held on Sunday mornings at 8 am, for training. They also attend an Officers' Retreat in the fall.
The Session meets on the third Wednesday of each month, except July, beginning at 7:00 p.m. with worship in Monteith Hall. Elders chairing committees attend a meeting of the Committee Chairs Coordinating Council that meets the Thursday prior to Session on an 'as needed' basis. There are also occasional special called meetings of Session to receive new members and the confirmation class, usually on a Sunday morning, or, if needed, to deal with a major subject for which there is insufficient time at its regular meeting (e.g. the budget).
- Elders are expected to assist with the preparation and serving of communion on a regular basis.
- Elders are also asked to serve on the Prayer Team following the 9:30 service.