BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2000-01 > 0947939239
From: Merle Rummel <>
Subject: Re: Elder Wentz
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 07:27:19 -0500
>Elder is/was a title. I'm not exactly sure what it meant, but it was
>used in the German Baptist Church.
Elder is the highest of the three steps in early Brethren ministry. [It
has been eliminated in the Church of the Brethren, although my father (95,
at the Brethren Home, Greenville OH) is one of the last surviving Elders.]
The original pattern was:
after marriage (usually) a young man, who showed ability, could be called
to be a Deacon. These had special responsibilities, including normally
leading the singing, they sat at a bench across the table from the
ministers, in front of the whole congregation.
among the Deacons, some showed more ability and were "advanced" to the
Ministry. These could preach, especially in the absence of an Elder, or
when asked by an Elder to do so. It was important that the minister show
true Christianity in his daily life, and that his family be in order (else
how could he hold leadership in the church).
from among the Ministers, some were "ordained" as Elders. These had the
responsibility of the local church (the Elders Body) and represented it to
Standing Committee and Annual Meeting.
>From among the Elders, each year one was chosen to be the Presiding Elder,
who was the single head official of the local church.
You might want to read the paper I wrote on one of these early churches:
<www.cob-net.org/docs/brethrenlife.htm> under the Four Mile Church: the