First United Presbyterian Church

Barbara’s Cross

Barbara Verdery keeps this lovely cross on her desk. Harry Vandergriff made it for her to celebrate her five years as Clerk of Session.

Session is one of the special things about Presbyterian churches. In Presbyterian churches, the Session is the governing body at the local church level. It’s a group of elected elders who play a vital role in the church’s administration and spiritual leadership.

Who makes up the Session

Ruling Elders, who are laypeople elected by the congregation to serve on the Session, are the main members of the Session. They are mature members who demonstrate strong faith and leadership qualities.

Pastors are also an important part of the Session. The senior pastor of the church typically serves as the moderator of the session, leading discussions and overseeing meetings. At FUPC, we have two senior pastors, and both moderate the Session meetings.

Responsibilities of the Session

The session has a wide range of responsibilities that ensure the smooth functioning and spiritual well-being of the church congregation. Here are some key areas they oversee:

Spiritual Leadership: Session members provide spiritual guidance and support to the congregation. They may lead Bible studies, participate in worship services, and offer pastoral care to members.

  • Administration: The Session makes important decisions regarding the day-to-day operations of the church, such as approving the budget, overseeing church property, and managing staff.
  • Worship and Sacraments: The Session plays a crucial role in ensuring the proper administration of worship services and sacraments like baptism and communion.
  • Membership: The Session oversees the process of admitting new members into the church and may also handle membership discipline if necessary.
  • Ministry and Mission: The Session helps guide the church’s ministry efforts and outreach programs, ensuring they align with the church’s mission and beliefs.

Decision-making process

The session typically meets regularly to discuss matters concerning the church and vote on various proposals. All members of the session have a voice in the discussions, and decisions are usually made by majority vote. However, the pastor’s role as moderator is crucial for maintaining order and ensuring a smooth decision-making process.

The Session is accountable to the larger church body, often the congregation. They may report on their activities and decisions at regular meetings or through church publications. In some Presbyterian denominations, the Session might also be accountable to a higher governing body, like a Presbytery.

Barbara has been a member and an elder at FUPC for many years, as well as a tireless volunteer and leader in many ministries. The same can be said of Harry Vandergriff.  The cross he made for Barbara is particularly fitting.

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