Ruling elders are equal partners in leadership within the denomination, but ruling elders rarely have education funds available to them from the church to further their own development. The possibility of ruling elders knowing ruling elders from other congregations in their subject area of assignment on session and/or interest is vitally important for health and creativity and at the same time increasingly rare. Our presbytery, like many other presbyteries in the PCUSA, has not had a leadership development opportunity for ruling elders in some time.
Start something! Form an event that would gather ruling elders together with other ruling elders at a time that is convenient to them. Provide a space where conversation between ruling elders can happen. Be a positive spark of energy early in the session year.
The genesis of this event came from a conversation. Some of us were pondering the multiple opportunities pastors have to gather and get to know each other better, while ruling elders seem to have fewer opportunities. Also, we wondered what it would look like if more ruling elders embraced their calling to spiritual leadership more strongly. The elder symposium was put together for elders to learn and share practical knowledge on a subject that they may be interested in, or that they are assigned to on session, and an opportunity for them to be inspired and renewed to embrace their leadership and ordination vows with new vigor.