Today (Sunday 18th July 2021) we marked the service of ruling elders who have recently stepped back from active duty within our church family.
In our series on the church one of the issues we didn’t cover is how the church is governed or ruled. We are part of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The word presbyterian comes from the Greek word for elder and indicates that it is the elders who are the focus of decision-making authority in the local church.
In our system, each congregation has a certain amount of elders which normally depends on the size of the congregation. There is the teaching elder (the minister) and then there are ruling elders.
The elders within a congregation belong to a Presbytery which oversees a group of churches. Some members of each presbytery will in turn belong to the General Assembly which has final authority over all the churches within the denomination.
All of that is to remind us of how our church family works and how it functions. Today we marked the service of four ruling elders. Paddy Cruikshank, Billy Douglas, Tommy McCurdy and Raymond Davison have all in recent times informed Kirk Session of their desire to step back from the duties of the eldership.
Kirk Session were of course disappointed to receive these requests but accepted them firm in the knowledge that these four men have faithfully served our congregation for many years.
Paddy, Billy, Tommy and Raymond have served for a combined total of 175 years. Paddy and Raymond were ordained as elders in 1973 and Billy and Tommy were ordained in 1981. These men have a lot of wisdom and experience. They have lead and shepherded the congregation here and have been faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paddy, Billy and Tommy have also been helped by their wives Anna, Margaret and Josephine and we also acknowledged their service and sacrifice as well. Below are some photos taken after the service of the elders and their families. You can watch the recording of the service again by clicking here.