Elders

The work of the Elders is outlined in Scripture from the time of the Exodus when the people needed small group leaders to facilitate communication and worship amongst the large nation of Hebrews.  This became even more important once the people left Egypt and traveled into the wilderness and they needed someone to rule on their squabbles and minor legal matters. (Exodus 18:13-23)  In the New Testament the idea of overseers, or shepherds who would watch over a flock of people comes into the common language.  In Paul’s letters to Timothy several references to Teaching elders or Ministers of Word and Sacrament are made, this also applies to the Ruling Elder who should be able to and is expected to preach and teach the people.  In James’ letter there is a reference to the prayers and healing work of the Elders, but perhaps no other Scripture is more poignant than the section of First Timothy chapter three.  In these first few verses are outlined the gifts and practices of a Bishop or in older translations; a presbyter.  (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

In the Presbyterian Church there are two types of elders.  They are teaching and ruling elders.  A teaching elder is a Minister of Word and Sacrament or a pastor, while a ruling elder is a member of the local church.  Elders are elected by the people and for the people.  The term ruling elder is used not as a lord or clan chief who holds sway over the lives of a group of people, but because they are chosen by the people to discern and measure how a congregation is following the Word of God and to also strengthen and nurture the congregation in it’s faith and life.  Ruling elders along with teaching elders exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have the responsibility of the congregation as well as the whole Church, including ecumenical relations.  Elders are elected to a three year term usually and can serve two terms not to exceed six years before they need to take a Sabbath of one year.  Once an elder is ordained they remain so, and can so serve on other ruling bodies within the Church; at Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly levels and the vote of said elders is the same as any other elder; ruling or teaching.

Perhaps you see a connection between the polity of the Presbyterian Church and that of our Federal Government.  The patterns set down during the American Revolution and the debates afterward are based on the polity of the Church.  A group of leaders who are elected by the people, for the people, is exactly who an Elder in the Presbyterian Church ought to be.

The Session of Columbian Church is active in most of the areas of the local body of Christ.  The areas of Music and Worship, Outreach, Buildings and Grounds, Finance, Stewardship, and Missions, not to mention Christian Education, Fellowship, Public Relations, Personnel and the Memory of those who have served and worshiped in the church in the past.  The Session also oversees the board of Deacons, but allows them to work with autonomy only overseeing the work and expenses as a matter of information.

NameCommitteePhone Number
Rev. R. Shawn ReyburnModerator[w] 315-677-3293
[c] 315-663-6851
Donna Fletcher Worship and Music315-677-9196
Nancy Redmore Outreach; God's Girlz315-469-7446
Al MillerProperty; Men's Group315-683-5233
Joan RiffanachtPersonnel; Music & Worship; Fellowship and Church Life; Funeral Coordinator315- 677-3504
Pat Shults
Robin SandwickClerk of Session; Christian Education (Sunday School)315-677-3389
Karen Ann RosinskyMissions & Stewardship315-382- 4290
Robin WalburgerTreasurer, Memorial Funds and Women's Association; 2016 Nominating Committee 315-677-3837
Dick ScammellProperty315-677-5159
Barry NicholsonBudget & Finance; 2016 Nominating Committee315-677-9494