Church Elder

The highest officer in the local church, outranked only by the minister. He or she is elected by the church for a term of one year, and may be reelected for additional terms. After the initial election, the elder must be ordained to the office by an ordained minister ( see Ordination ), but does not have to be reordained when accepting the same office in another church. The elder also may act as a deacon without ordination to that office. In the absence of the pastor, the elder is responsible for the church services, either conducting them or arranging for them. The elder also may conduct the Communion service. While the pastor usually is chair of the church board, the local elder may act in that capacity if it seems advisable (see Church Manual [1990], pp. 57–61, 88). The work of a loca...

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Published with permission from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.