Election of Elders Update – January 2024

Election of Elders Update - January 2024

Background to our process

As a part of our normal eldership structure, every two years one third of our elders have their 6-year term expire; plus, other elders may have retired in the meantime. Those elders whose terms expire may choose to retire from active eldership or may decide to put their names forward to be re-elected to a new term. We currently seek to elect three elders.

Eldership / Leadership

In the church, “elder” does not refer to someone’s age, but to a recognized position of leadership. It is a Greek word from the Bible: presbyter means elder. In the Presbyterian tradition, the pastor is the “teaching elder,” and the other elders are called “ruling elders.” Elders are elected from the congregation by the congregation.

Our current elders

The elders whose terms officially expired at the end of 2023 are Mary Colvin and Guy Gagnon. The other active elders, in addition to the pastor as “teaching elder,” are Cathy Clark, Aaron Harris, Colin Leonard, Steve Sainsbury, Carolyn Trott, Tom Walsh.

Nomination Period: January 21 to February 4, 2024

The first step in an election is a nomination period. Here is how it works.

  • Professing members of the congregation are encouraged to prayerfully consider who might be well suited to eldership/leadership.
  • To aid in this process, a handout called ‘Character Traits and Responsibilities of Elders at Westminster’ has been prepared. It is on a table in the foyer or online here.
  • Two ‘professing members’ may fill out a nomination ballot in the church office from January 21 to February 4; this could be on a Sunday, or during weekly office hours (Tues-Fri, 9am to noon). You do not need to seek an individual’s permission to nominate them. (Later, they will have a choice as to whether they want to let their name stand for election or not.)
  • Only ‘professing members’ of the congregation can nominate others or be nominated. Many people call Westminster their church home—they are a meaningful part of the church family. Professing members are specifically those individuals who have gone through the membership process with the pastor (or the confirmation process for youth), or have transferred their membership to Westminster from another congregation.
  • If you are uncertain about who is a professing member, there is a list in the table in the foyer or in the church office.
  • After the nomination period, Session meets to review the nominations to ensure those who have been nominated are eligible.
  • A Session representative contacts the individuals to ask them to pray about whether or not they will let their name stand.
  • When the willing individuals have been identified, their names, pictures, and a brief profile will be published for two weeks so that the congregation can learn more about them.

Election of Elders

  • After the two-week period, an election will take place by confidential ballot in the church library after a Sunday service. Professing members of the congregation are eligible to vote.
  • The three nominees with the strongest support will then be inducted to their 6-year term during a Sunday Service.


Our current Session (elders) ask that your lift up this process to the Lord in prayer. May the right people be selected to work alongside the other elders and provide leadership in the church of Christ at this time in Westminster’s ministry. Thank you!


If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Clerk of Session, Cathy Clark, at cathy [at] westminsterpc [dot] ca. You may also get in touch with her by phone by contacting the church office.


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