Glen Waverley Uniting Church Elders Page

Elders Principles

Eldership is a vocation. The congregation discerns God's call for people amongst us to be the elders of the church. Their ministry is to assist the Ministry Team and Church Council in spiritual oversight over the life and witness of the Glen Waverley Uniting Church.

What is the ministry of elder?

The National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia has provided the following:

The ministry of Elder is one of spiritual oversight, and may also be exercised in pastoral visitation, teaching, encouraging members of the Congregation to share in mission, and assisting the Minister in leadership of worship and administration of the sacraments and other areas in the life of the congregation. Elders who serve on the Church Council have a particular responsibility to ensure that matters of spiritual oversight, pastoral care and the mission of the church have priority in the work of the Church Council.

Elders will have a variety of gifts and passions for exercise in ministry with the congregation. Among the elders you can expect to find teachers, small group leaders, compassionate carers, spiritual friends, visionaries, preachers, people who engage with the neighbourhood, advocates for justice, worship leaders, mystics, healers and extravagant hospitality. They will exercise their ministry through leading the congregation in practices such as hospitality, stewardship, discernment, Sabbath keeping, Testimony, shaping community, forgiveness, healing, justice and reconciliation, spiritual friendship, prayer, bible study, common worship and mission. Elders support one another in exercising their varied gifts for ministry.

The primary role of an elder is to provide leadership within the Congregation in assisting the congregation to fulfil its ministry and mission. The ministry of elder will therefore be fulfilled in the totality of the congregation’s life and not just in councils or decision-making. Members of the congregation can expect that the men and women whom they elect as elders will model the Christian life. Together they reveal the faith of Jesus.

Elders will be caring people, who will exercise spiritual oversight of the groups and activities of the congregation. They will also maintain a relationship with individual members - providing encouragement in the faith, supporting them in their life in society and helping them to focus on and participate in what is important to and within the community of faith.

Elders retain an important role in assisting the congregation to worship well, working with the ministry team and others with worship leadership roles. They will be persons who will participate with the minister or other worship leaders in the congregation’s liturgies, particularly the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.

Those elders who, as part of their ministry, are members of the Church Council, will exercise their ministry within that Council by ensuring that at regular meetings of the Church Council the Council and/or the Congregation takes seriously the responsibilities listed in Reg. 3.1.13 (a) i.e. the:

Some ways of expressing these responsibilities are the provision of pastoral care, opportunities for and encouragement in faith formation and re-formation, the formulation and updating of the Congregation’s vision for mission – local, regional and global, the nurture of members for mission and evangelism, and the increase of Biblical literacy and theological awareness.

Elders play a role in helping the Church Council and the Congregation to discern where the Spirit of God is at work in the Congregation and its neighbourhood, where the Spirit is pointing us to, where the Spirit is calling us from and guiding the Congregation’s response to the Spirit we hear.

Things you might expect to see Elders doing

Statement of Understanding between Elders and the Church Council

This Covenant between Elders and the Church Council that acknowledges individually and collectively Elders will:

  1. share with the Ministers the general spiritual and pastoral oversight of the congregation;
  2. nurture the members and adherents in their growth in grace;
  3. be prepared to act as mentors, intentionally exercising their individual gifts in appropriate forms of ministry, including faith formation and re-formation, formulating mission, and increasing Biblical literacy and awareness;
  4. take day to day responsibility for membership transfers, baptisms, and confirmation;
  5. assist the Ministers in the conduct of worship and in the administration of the sacrements;
  6. individually and collectively participate in the work of Council committees;
  7. maintain an awareness of the evolution of the congregation as a community of faith in relation to its Future Directions goals, and assist the congregation in its striving to achieve such goals;
  8. meet regularly as a group to provide a time for refreshing and renewing the spiritual growth of the Elders individually;
  9. advise the Church Council at least quarterly in relation to any or all of the actions listed above.
Agreed to by consensus of the Elders,
12 April 2000
Agreed to by consensus of Church Council.
19 July 2000

Elders' Duties

General

  1. Arrive 30 minutes before the start of the service.
  2. Bring pen and paper.
  3. Wear name tag.
  4. If staying for a cup of tea/coffee, or during mingling time, please keep a lookout for people who may be new, or people you don't know and talk to them and make them feel welcome.
  5. If you are unable to attend on your rostered day please arrange a swap with another elder.
  6. If necessary, help stewards if there is a need.

Welcoming (Door) Elders

  1. Stand just inside 2 external doors and greet people as they arrive.
  2. Be watchful for new people, people who need assistance - handicapped, etc.. Refer new people to the Welcoming Table.
  3. At the conclusion of the service, walk out behind the Ministers and position yourself near the Ministers and be on hand to attend to any referrals by them. Be prepared to record names and addresses of people on cards provided.
  4. Be sensitive to new people who may not be ready to provide information.
  5. For 11.00am Elders, if at start of service there are still 9.00am people in Foyer talking, please request silence.

Vestry Elder

  1. Be on hand in the Vestry to assist Minister(s) before commencement of service.
  2. Say a short prayer with Mnister(s) and Bible reader. (Uniting in Worship - People's Book - p206 (blue covered) available in Vestry to assist in this regard if necessary).
  3. Light candle before commencement of service.
  4. At the conclusion of the service walk out behind the Ministers and position yourself near the Minister. (This is particularly important if there is only one Minister.)

Communion

All elders underlined on the roster are the team leaders and they are responsible for procuring the bread and bread roll, and for setting up the Communion Table. (Wine is provided.)

Each leader must contact and remind other Elders in their team of their impending duty and if necessary seek their assistance in setting up for Communion.

The team leaders must also contact the Minister at least two days before his/her duty Sunday for any changes to the normal Communion preparation.

Communion Ware and Wine

Preparing the Elements

Elements should be provided for the following congregation numbers:

8.00 am 30
9.00 am 250
11.00 am 120

The Bread

The Wine

Preparing the Table (9.00 and 11.00am services)

Elders' Duty during Communion Service

9.00am Service

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