Presbyterians believe that the ministry of the Church of Jesus Christ is the responsibility of the “whole people of God”—of all the church’s members. By virtue of being baptized, each Christian is called to faith in Jesus Christ and to ministry according to his example. Each’s gifts from God are to be valued and developed. So being chosen for leadership in the church is not viewed as an “achievement” or a mark of status. It is instead a calling to use one’s gifts for the well-being of all, a form of service intended to help build up all members for their God-given roles.
The Session of West End Presbyterian Church oversees planning for our congregational life, both spiritual and financial. It supports the pastor in his role as the responsible leader of our worship life.
The Session is composed of the pastor and ruling elders elected from among the members of the congregation. The pastor, a “teaching elder,” moderates the Session, while one of the ruling elders is elected to be clerk of session.
Session members participate in committees and, together, make decisions based on the outcomes of committee deliberations.
Committees, chaired by an elder, which often have members from among interested members of the congregation, include:
— Christian education
— Nominations (including members elected by the congregation)
— Personnel and finance
— Welcome and outreach
— Worship and music
The Board of Deacons at West End is made up of deacons elected from among the members of the congregation. They work to provide hospitality in our church and oversee preparation for Communion.
They express the church’s concern for those in need, both physically and spiritually, and take appropriate actions as required.
Deacons often partner with Session members to give special attention to members and friends of West End. They make phone calls, send cards, and visit personally with those experiencing illness, bereavement, or other life-changing circumstances.
Selected elders and deacons always participate with the pastor in the services of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, in keeping with the Presbyterian understanding of shared ministry. On Communion Sundays, when a pastor takes Communion to members who cannot leave their home, hospital room, or nursing home settings, at least one elder or deacon goes with him.
All our officers promise:
— to trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior
— to accept the Old and New Testaments as God’s word to them
— to receive guidance from the theological understandings of the Reformed tradition of Christianity
— to obey Jesus Christ as they fulfill their responsibilities
— to abide by our church’s organization and discipline and to work as a friendly colleague with others in our church
— to follow Jesus in their own lives, love their neighbors, and work for reconciliation in the world
— to do whatever they are able to help the church live in peace, unity, and purity
— to serve with energy, intelligence, creativity, and love