The Kirk Session have decided that the time is right to have an election of new ruling elders. In consultation with the Presbytery of Ballymena we have decided to seek the election of FIVE new elders. To that end a list of voting members of the congregation shall be prepared and made available on Sunday 12th September and on Sunday 19th September.
Paragraph 175 of the Code states:
- Voting members in the Church are communicants on the roll of the congregation who are listed, whether by name or number, as having contributed to the stipend or weekly freewill offering of the congregation in the last financial year.
- In addition to those so listed the following shall also be qualified, if themselves communicants on the roll –
- A wife shall be qualified on a husband’s contribution, and vice versa, where both are communicants. This shall also apply should the contributor himself or herself not be a communicant. If neither husband or wife in such circumstances is a communicant, then their contribution shall qualify the eldest child, residing in the family, who is a communicant.
- Should a contributor, who is not a communicant, be a member of a family residing together, then his contribution shall qualify the eldest member residing in the family who is on the communicant’s roll.
- Those who have been added to the communicant’s roll of the congregation since the close of the last financial year, upon confirmation by the treasurer that they have contributed during the current year, shall also be qualified voters.
Should any member of the congregation who claims to be a voting member desire to make an objection regarding any name on the list, or omitted from the list, he shall lodge his objections, with the reasons in writing, with the Moderator of Kirk Session within a week of the first publication of the lists; and Kirk session shall give its decision thereon or refer the matter for decision by Presbytery. Should any member objecting be dissatisfied with the decision of the Kirk Session with respect to his own or another’s qualification he shall have the right of appeal to Presbytery within seven days. When the voters’ list has been finalised by the Kirk Session without appeal or reference, or by the Presbytery after appeal or reference, it shall be dated, signed and certified as correct by the presiding Moderator, who shall forthwith have it lodged with the Clerk of Presbytery, with a certified copy being retained by the Moderator of Kirk Session.
Rev. Boyd will preach a series of 4 sermons on the qualifications for Eldership. These shall be on 19th and 26th September, 10th and 17th October. Those intending to vote are strongly urged to be present on all those dates.
The qualifications for Ruling Eldership are given in paragraphs 30 and 31 of the Code:
- (1) The duty of ruling elders as members of Kirk Session is to work together with the minister in the oversight and government of the congregation, for the upbuilding of God’s people in spiritual fruitfulness and holy accord, and for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom among all people.
(2) Ruling elders, by their calling, share equally with ministers in responsibility for practical witness both within the congregation and in the wider world.
(3) In the discharge of his duties each elder should be assigned a district or special responsibilities within the congregation in which he may more particularly represent the Kirk Session by visitation, private council and report.
31. (1) To be chosen for the office of the eldership in a congregation a person must be a voting member of that congregation and regular attendant on its ordinances. He should be circumspect and exemplary in his conduct, both in the Church and in the world, of acknowledged piety, endeavouring to maintain the worship of God in his family and held in esteem by the people. Women shall be eligible for election on the same condition as men.
(2) A ruling elder shall not hold office in more than one congregation at the same time, except as a member of an interim Session.
(3) Sub-paragraph (2) shall not apply to retired ministers who may be members of the congregation.
God willing, opportunity will be given to vote for up to FIVE new elders on 24th and 31st October. The five who receive the most votes shall be read to the congregation providing:
- They receive at least one third of the total votes cast.
- They are approved by the Kirk Session.
- They agree to their names going forward.
Where an individual declines, his place may be filled by the person with the next highest vote providing the above conditions are fulfilled.
The list of names will be read to the congregation on Sundays 7th and 14th November, and a seven day period from the second Sunday will be allowed for objections in writing, if any, to be lodged.
Once the list is finalised it will be read to a meeting of the Congregation on Sunday 21st November. The names of those selected shall be presented individually to the meeting. A poll of the voters present shall be taken and if two-thirds of those who vote be in favour he shall be elected.
Training classes will be held for the elders elect and they will be conferred with by Presbytery prior to ordination.
The Presbytery Commission supervising the election is as follows: Moderator of Presbytery, Clerk of Presbytery, Rev B. Savage and representative elders.