Our Lay Leadership
The Session (Board of Ruling Elders)
The word Presbyterian comes to us from presbuteros (also seen as presbyteros), the Greek word for elder. The Presbyterian church government is reliant upon the work of its elders, and collectively, the elders form a body known as Session.
Numerous biblical passages refer to elders as ministers. Today, however, Presbyterian elders are elected officials of faith, dedication, and good judgment. Both men and women may serve as elders. An elder’s lifestyle should demonstrate Christian gospel, both within the church and in the world. Elders exercise church leadership, government, and discipline. They strengthen and nurture the faith and life of the congregation committed to their charge. And although elders are mature Christians, they need not be of a specific age in order to hold ofﬁce.
The Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church Nominating Committee considers candidates willing to accept elder responsibility for three-year terms and submits those names to Session for approval during the last quarter of the calendar year. At the annual congregational meeting, the fourth Friday in January, the Session Moderator (the pastor) presents elder candidates to the congregation for a vote. That is, a committee of Session nominates elders, but the congregation elects the nominated elders as their representatives.
Our church has three groups of six elders, for a total of 18, at all times. If an elder requests resignation before his/her term expires, Session fills the vacancy in the same manner as original elections—the Nominating Committee recommends a new candidate, who is then elected at the next or a specially called congregational meeting.
Elders may serve two consecutive three-year terms. After the second term, elders are ineligible for re-election for a period of one year. Once inducted, an elder bears his or her title for life. However, only elders currently serving in a term of office may serve on Session.
Session carries out church business duties through committees headed by either elders or deacons appointed by the Session Moderator. Committee members include other elders, deacons, and general members of the congregation. While only elders and deacons may chair any of the eight standing committees, any church member may attend committee meetings, except the Nominating and Personnel committees, whose conversations are confidential.
|Our Session Offices||Year 2016 Officers|
|Clerk of Session||Alice Jacobson»|
|Christian Education||Carolyn Parry|
|Community Fellowship||Jon Mosier|
|Presbytery Commissioners||Art Wilcox, DeEtte Loeffler|
As the executive branch for the church mission and government, elders share the following responsibilities:
- assisting the pastor in baptisms
- assisting the pastor in deacon and elder ordination
- establishing the annual church budget
- managing church property
- overseeing worship and sacrament of each worship service
- providing employment of non ordained staff
- providing for church program administration
- providing leadership presence at church functions
- receiving new church members
- serving Holy Communion
- supervising church preschool and educational programs
- witnessing to others
The Clerk of Session keeps minutes of all Session meetings and maintains membership rolls, among other records. The Presbytery Of San Diego receives a copy of and reviews all church Session minutes and requires Session to hold meetings at least once each quarter. The Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church Session meets monthly, except July.
Church members seeking Nominating Committee consideration of candidacy as an elder may review a complete description of elder attributes and duties in the Book Of Order. The next step would be to register interest with the chair of the Nominating Committeee or any ruling (currently serving elder), who will forward the names of elder candidates to the Clerk Of Session for referral to the Nominating Committee chair for consideration.
Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church Session
|Alice Jacobson||Frank Corah||Tom Campbell|
|DeEtte Loeffler||Don Steuer||Carolyn Parry|
|Jon Mosier||Dan Swanson||Diane Snyder|
|Gary Smith||Don Trotter||Ralph West|
|Art Wilcox||Chipp Wilfong||Paul Williams|