Elders and Deacons
In the Presbyterian Church more trust is placed in a group of people who together seek to discern the mind of God to lead them towards faithful action than in a single individual who has all the answers. Therefore committees are a mainstay of the church. The elder and deacon is an ordained position in the Presbyterian Church (USA). That means that we believe this person has been chosen by God and the people to be a leader in Christ's church. The vows they take are the same vows that the pastor takes to become a minister of word and sacrament. Once a person is ordained that ordination is considered a lifelong vocation. The ordained elder or deacon has a responsibility to cultivate their prayer life, to study the Bible, and to seek God in their individual, and congregational life. Elders work with the pastor to lead the church in it's worship of God and it's outreach to the community and world. Elders along with the pastor also represent the church at the Presbytery Assembly. This is a regional gathering that works to promote the ministries of individual churches and assist in many ways. The Presbytery Assembly ordains and installs pastors, provides for the education and guidance of persons seeking to become pastors, and lifts up issues of common concern, assists churches seeking pastors, and provides assistance, nurture and educational opportunities for pastors in the Presbytery. Locally, we have two boards: Session as the highest decision making body, and Deacons as the caretaking, pastoral group. These groups are to be a representation of the congregation as a whole. This means a diversity of gender, age, and when applicable, race or ethnicity. Session members are called Elders. All officers of the church are nominated for 3 year terms and are elected by the congregation. The term can be renewed once to make possible 6 years of service before that person must go off. At New Windsor we usually do not ask a person to serve more than one term. In that way more people have the opportunity to serve and more voices are heard.
Deacons do many tasks to make sure that the members feel the care and healing of Christ in their individual and family lives. In our church, the Deacons take worship tapes to shut-ins, deliver flowers to people in need, visit shut-ins and nursing home residents, provide for a quarterly day out for senior members of our church, administer a scholarship account and annually award scholarships to our college students, raise money with a soup luncheon for our local preschool to offer scholarships to needy youngsters, send a goody bag to college students at finals time, and manage a telephone calling tree to notify people to pray in cases of emergency in the lives of congregational members.
It takes many people to make the church function smoothly and do the work of Christ in our community. Thanks to all who work so hard.