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A Fresh Look at Elders in the Uniting Church

This discussion paper has been commissioned by the Assembly Standing Committee  in response to the perception that there is widespread confusion in the church about the ministry of Elder and concern in some quarters that something vital to the spiritual health of the church is, or has been, lost.

The Ministry of Elder, Deacon and Leader had a strong tradition as a ministry of spiritual leadership and oversight in the churches that came into Union. This ministry of spiritual oversight alongside the ordained ministries of the church was consolidated in the life of the Uniting Church with the establishment of the Elders Council.

In 1997 the Church decided to combine the, then, Parish Council and the Elders Council and to have only one Church Council. This seems to have resulted in the role of Elders becoming confused in many places and the distinctive contribution Elders make to the life of a congregation being lost. The regulations themselves are not easy to interpret when it comes to how Elders are appointed and on what basis it is decided which Elders are on the Church Council and what way the other Elders relate to each other.

The Elder's paper is available for download as soft copy and also as a printable booklet version, see below: