‘Ministry’ means ‘service’, and ministry within the Presbyterian Church of Wales takes many forms, from conducting worship and administering the sacraments to chaplaincy and governing the local church.
The Ordained Ministry
There are around 45 ordained ministers in the Presbyterian Church of Wales. These men and women have received special training and have vowed to serve the Lord Jesus. Ministers are normally called to serve a pastorate (group of churches), where they take a leadership role and enable their churches to develop their spiritual life. Among their main duties is to lead worship and teaching and provide pastoral care. Ministers also take an active role in presbytery work and many are involved at Association and General Assembly level.
Ministers’ role also include:
- Administering the sacraments – Holy Communion and baptism;
- Preaching – in their own pastorate and elsewhere;
- Conducting funerals and supporting the dying and bereaved;
- Conducting weddings and helping the couple prepare for marriage.
The Voluntary Ministry
Since 2009, ministers can choose to serve the Church on a voluntary basis. Under the Presbytery’s control, retired ministers and ministers in other occupations can come to a flexible arrangement with a church or pastorate, whereby the minister voluntarily carries out some of a full-time minister’s duties.
Elders are local church leaders who give their time voluntarily. They are elected by the congregation and remain an elder for life.
Elders play an important part in the Presbyterian Church of Wales’ ministry as they, along with the minister, are in charge of the spiritual and practical aspects of church life. Their duties include providing pastoral care and support, maintaining church property and representing their church at Presbytery. Many elders also preach and arrange worship and an increasing number is being trained to administer the sacraments. Elders are also active trustees of the local church (along with the minister and other officers who are not elders).
Chaplains are ministers who serve in workplaces such as hospitals, industry and the armed forces. Several PCW ministers are part-time chaplains in, for example, Cardiff Airport and Glan Clwyd Hospital.