What do Elders do?
The functions of eldership in the United Reformed Church have been laid down in the Basis of Union as follows:
- to foster in the congregation concern for witness and service to the community, evangelism at home and abroad, Christian education, ecumenical action, local inter-church relations and the wider responsibilities of the whole church;
- to see that public worship is regularly offered and the sacraments are duly administered, and generally to promote the welfare of the congregation;
- to ensure pastoral care for the congregation, in which the minister is joined by elders having responsibility for groups of members;
- to nominate from among its members a church secretary (or secretaries), to be elected by the church meeting, to serve both the church meeting and the elders’ meeting;
- to arrange for pulpit supply in a vacancy;
- to keep the roll of members … lists of names of adherents and children attached to the congregation, and in consultation with the church meeting to maintain standards of membership and to advise on the admission of members on profession of faith and by transfer, on the suspension of members, and on the removal of names from the roll;
- to be responsible for the institution and oversight of work among children and young people and of all organisations within the congregation;
- to call for the election of elders and advise on the number required;
- to consider the suitability of any applicant for recognition as a candidate for the ministry, and to advise the church meeting about its recommendation to the synod;
- to recommend to the church meeting arrangements for the proper maintenance of buildings and general oversight of all financial responsibilities of the local church;
- to act on behalf of the church meeting and bring concerns to the wider councils of the United Reformed Church;
- to do such other things as may be necessary in pursuance of its responsibility for the common life of the church.
More details about eldership within the United Reformed Church can be found in leaflet “Called to be an Elder – is this for you?”