Glen Waverley Uniting Church Elders Page
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
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:
- Building up of the congregation in faith and love;
- Sustaining the members in hope;
- Leading the Congregation into a fuller participation
in Christ’s mission in the world.
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
- Attending to their personal spiritual life through prayer,
study and other spiritual disciplines
- Leading small groups
- Participating in small groups
- Planning/leading/participating in faith development
activities; e.g. Isaiah Festival
- Praying for people and issues
- Studying the scriptures - learning
- Planning and/or helping in worship services
- Distributing Holy Communion in church & beyond
- Assisting with preparation for baptism
- Visiting people
- Cooking for people
- Welcoming people
- Building relationships in congregation and wider
- Attending and supporting a variety of worship services
- Talking with people – listening/supporting – engaging in
- Sharing and listening to faith stories
- Mentoring people
- Supporting social justice issues
- Practising faith in the community
- Participating in Church Council and other committees of the
- Gathering regularly to pray for the congregation and support
one another in their ministry
Statement of Understanding between Elders and the
This Covenant between Elders and the Church Council
that acknowledges individually and collectively Elders will:
- share with the Ministers the general spiritual and
pastoral oversight of the congregation;
- nurture the members and adherents in their growth in
- 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;
- take day to day responsibility for membership transfers,
baptisms, and confirmation;
- assist the Ministers in the conduct of worship and in
the administration of the sacrements;
- individually and collectively participate in the work of
- 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;
- meet regularly as a group to provide a time for refreshing
and renewing the spiritual growth of the Elders
- 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
- Arrive 30 minutes before the start of the
- Bring pen and paper.
- Wear name tag.
- 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
- If you are unable to attend on your rostered day please
arrange a swap with another elder.
- If necessary, help stewards if there is a need.
Welcoming (Door) Elders
- Stand just inside 2 external doors and greet people as
- Be watchful for new people, people who need assistance -
handicapped, etc.. Refer new people to the Welcoming Table.
- 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.
- Be sensitive to new people who may not be ready to
For 11.00am Elders, if at start of service there are
still 9.00am people in Foyer talking, please request
- Be on hand in the Vestry to assist Minister(s) before
commencement of service.
- 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
- Light candle before commencement of service.
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.)
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
- Chalice and Silver plates are kept in the cupboard in
the Vestry (for security reasons).
- Glasses, glasses trays, spare grape juice and wine
pourers are kept in the kitchen centre island cupboards.
- 2 wooden bowls for collecting wine glasses during the
11.00am service are stored in the Vestry cupboards together
with the silverware. Paper towelling is to be used for
lining the bottom of each of the wooden bowls to deaden the
noise of empty glasses hitting the wooden bowl. Roll to be
stored with bowls.
- Tablecloths are stored in a black plastic hang bag with
the Minister's albs and stoles in the Vestry cupboard.
- Grape Juice - spare grape juice is stored with the
glasses. Partially used grape juice bottles must be
kept in the refrigerator - and must be used before
opening a new bottle.
Preparing the Elements
Elements should be provided for the following congregation
- Provide one bread roll, partially cut for ease of
breaking. Place roll on silver plate.
- Place diced white bread on:
unless otherwise instructed by the minister.
- 8 plates for 9.00am service
- 2 plates for 11.00am service
Place a few gluten free wafers on each plate.
Note that no diced bread is required for
the 8.00am service.
- Grape juice is stored in the kitchen cupboard with the
glasses, however, please check the refigerator for
partially used containers before opening a new bottle.
- When filling the glasses don't forget to partially
fill the chalice. Only a small amount is required (do
- At the conclusion of the service, all unused grape
juice in the glasses and chalice must be discarded
and poured down the sink.
- The number of trays for the glasses is to be assessed
from the congregation numbers stated, and remember that
the capacity of the trays varies from 25 to 32 glasses.
- For the 11.00am service, place the two wooden bowls at
the extreme ends of the two centre front pews. These are
for collecting the empty glasses, and should have a paper
towel placed in each (see above).
Preparing the Table (9.00 and 11.00am services)
- Place the table cloth on the Communion table.
- The seasonal fall is not required.
- Place the Bible lectern in the back corner of the table.
- The elements should then be placed on the table.
- Place the second cloth over the elements. This will be
removed during the service and replaced at the end.
- Ensure that there is enough space at the rear of the
table for the minister's book.
- Store spare wine trays and empty trays (11.00am service
only) on shelf under communion table.
- Set up the dishwasher.
Elders' Duty during Communion Service
- Please assemble in vestry 15 minutes before the service
starting time for instructions and clarification of
procedures to be adopted in serving the elements.
- 9.00am service - Congregation remains seated and are served by the Elders
- 11.00am service - Congregation comes to the front to
- Elders may sit anywhere in the congregation before
coming forward for the communion service.
- 8 Elders are required and all serve both the bread and
- All Elders come forward at the appropriate time with 4
on either side of the minister facing the
- After receiving the elements from the minister, the
Elders start the distribution to the front pews working
each row of pews as a pair as per the sketch below.
- When distributing the bread say to the first person of
each row 'The Body of Christ broken for you' or 'Jesus,
the bread of life', or similar. Also, when serving the
wine, say 'The blood of Christ poured out for you', or
'Jesus, the true vine', etc..
- As each pair completes their section of the pews,
return to the front, replacing the plates/trays to the
communion table (the minister may wish to assist with
this). Do not wait for all elders to complete serving,
but do make sure that there are sufficient elements for
- Once the plates and trays are returned to the table,
Elders return to their positions at either side of the
- At the conclusion of the service, and after the bible
has been carried out, follow the minister up the centre
aisle to the doors.
- Please assist with the clearing of the elements and
empty glasses from the sanctuary, and with the washing up