The Elders

Elders are members of the church who have been chosen by the other church members to take a special role in the care of members and to oversee the church’s worship and work. Elders are elected by the Church Meeting and are “ordained” for life at a special communion service. We have about 35 serving Elders at our church.

All our Elders have a “district” of up to about four or five families. The Elders visit the members’ families at home to get to know them, to offer support and friendship and discuss church affairs with them. At the Elders’ gatherings before our monthly communion service, Elders share news with the other Elders about the people in their district, especially those who are unwell. Because of the important role that Elders perform in the pastoral care of our members, Elders are known as Pastoral Elders. We have about 35 Pastoral Elders in our church and they, together with Elders who have retired from their pastoral role, make up the whole Eldership of our church.

To help the efficient running of our church, twelve Pastoral Elders are also elected to serve on our Elders’ Council.

The Elders’ Council meets on the first Wednesday of every month. The minister chairs the meeting which discusses all aspects of church life and makes recommendations to the Church Meeting about significant issues. The members of the Elders’ Council, which includes the elected Elders together with some ex officio members, including the Church Secretary and Treasurer, are the charity trustees of the church.

At their meetings, Elders think about and discuss things to do with worship and the church services, the way our church serves the community and witnesses to the community, the spiritual life of the church and the activities that are arranged by the church, and our relationships with other churches in Nottingham and the URC. They also share concerns about members who have been ill. The Elders consider requests for people to be baptised or married in the church. In addition, the Elders’ Council has to consider and make decisions and recommendations about maintenance and upgrading of our premises and manse, financial planning and budgeting and ensuring we comply with legislation and good practice in the different aspects of church life, especially having regard to Charity Commission and URC guidance.

The Elders and the Minister are supported in their work by three Sub Groups. The Pastoral Sub Group is concerned to have an overview of all aspects of the pastoral care of our members. This includes the welcoming of new members of the congregation and church and the linking of members with Elders. The Buildings and Finance Sub Group advises the Elders’ Council about matters to do with our premises, including health and safety as well as ensuring that necessary maintenance is promptly carried out and bringing forward plans to upgrade our rooms and spaces periodically. The group has an overview of our lettings and tracks income and expenditure. A smaller group, our Finance Committee, meets periodically to give our accounts and budgets initial scrutiny. Our Worship and Christian Education Sub Group supports the minister by thinking about our worship programme, including our Taize services and special services and considers options for our House Group programmes and discussion services.

The Elders’ Council can also, when helpful, create working groups to move forward special projects.