The word “Presbyterian” is derived from the Greek word meaning “elder”. The Bible shows us that in ancient Israel and in the early Church, the management and decision-making was in the hands of the elders chosen by the faithful. Most Presbyterian churches have their own autonomy in their countries. The highest authorities of these churches are the general assemblies, or synods, which are largely representative of the whole Church.
The Presbyterial committee
In churches organised according to the Presbyterian synodal system, a General Assembly of representatives from each parish forms the national synod. The Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Mauritius is composed of delegates (elders) from its six parishes who are in Port-Louis, Grand Gaube, Pointe-aux-Piments, Rose-Hill and Phoenix, as well as the Malagasy chaplaincy.
This form of organisation is allows a better representation of the churchgoers at the decision-making level of the Church. The Synod normally meets once a year to review the activities and direction of the Church and to make decisions on important issues. The daily routine of the Church is taken in hand by the Presbyterial committee, whose members are appointed by the parish councils.
The parish council
Each parish of the Church appoints its own elders who meet under the pastor’s presidency to deal with the affairs of the parish.
The Elders and Pastors
In our Church, pastors or ministers of worship are also elders. They were chosen for theological training so that they would be better equipped for teaching and preaching. However, the pastor being human, is equal to all. Every Christian has access to God through Christ and is called to exercise the noble vocation of disciple and worker of Christ.