the role of the elder

A ruling elder is ordained by the minister and Kirk Session of the parish and is answerable to the Kirk Session. Like a minister, an elder is ordained for life.

Unlike members of parish councils in other denominations, elders are understood to have pastoral responsibilities, which they carry out under the guidance of the minister. Usually, a parish will be divided into elders' districts, and the elders are expected to visit the church members resident in their district on a regular basis. Elders also often assist the minister in the distribution of the elements at a formal Communion Service.