Concepts and duties of an Elder
The Church of Scotland is a Presbyterian Church, and is governed by elders. Although colloquial usage in the Church distinguishes between ministers and elders, the minister is understood theologically to be an elder with a special task. The minister is styled as a "teaching elder", the other members of Kirk Session are known as "ruling elders". An elder is ordained by the minister and Kirk Session, and is answerable to the Kirk Session. Like a minister, an elder is ordained for life.
The eldership is a spiritual office in the church, concerned with the rule and pastoral oversight of the congregation. It is therefore expected that an Elder is a deeply committed Christian, one who seeks to glorify God in all things.
- Elders make decisions for the local parish through an elected Kirk Session. All elders have an equal vote in the session. They may also be members of the higher courts of the church.
- Kirk Session appoints an elder to attend Presbytery of Glasgow to attend their meeting and assemblies.
- Kirk Session also appoints an elder to accompany the minister to the General Assembly.
- The parish is divided into districts and an elder will be allocated to a district.
- Elders are expected to set an example to the membership.
- Elders are encouraged to attend the various meetings, services, discipleship courses, etc.
- Elders are expected to diligently performing duties allotted to them. Please inform a member of the Kirk Session when other duties take precedence over eldership duties e.g. working, ill health, bereavement, family issues, holidays, etc.
- A rota system is operation and duties include:
- Door welcoming
- Holy Communion
- Any Fundraising
- Optional duties (but would be encouraged to at least take one):
- Sunday School
- Bible Classes
- Mission & Discipleship
- Other working groups
- Elders must play their part in dealing with church business, both spiritual and temporal through the various meetings and to recognize and support the Kirk Session’s positive role in promoting the Christian good of the congregation and the parish as a whole.
- All elders have the privilege of dispensing the elements at Holy Communion. Communion duties will always take priority over normal door and collection duties.
- Elders are to care for their district by regular visits of each member within his/her district. Informing the Minister of any extra needs a member of the church requires e.g. bereavement, illness, marriage, a baptism, etc.