Ruling Elder Defined

As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament church provided persons with particular gifts to share in discernment of God’s Spirit and governance of God’s people.  Accordingly, Presbyterian congregations elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, who have demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matt. 20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to pay attention and determine its faithfulness to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life.  Ruling elders, together with teaching elders, exercise leadership, government, spiritual attentiveness, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of the congregation as well as the whole church, including relationships with other faith traditions.  When elected by the congregation, they serve faithfully as members of the session.  Each Elder serves on a Committee of Session.  The Clerk of Session is Fred Whitley