Company of Pastors


Company of Pastors
   The Company of Pastors was a corporate body of ministers in Geneva who played a major theological and practical role in the early Reformed Church. In the 1530s, William Farel helped reorganize church governance in Geneva by organizing Reformed ministers into a body replacing the bishop. This new organization was approved by John Calvin in 1541. The basic plan of rule by teaching elders persisted for several decades. The company held frequent discussions on theology, and began to exercise authority especially in the selection and ordination of additional ministers. The company elected a moderator to preside over its meetings and a secretary to keep records.
   The idea of the company passed on to various Reformed and Presbyterian churches, where it survived as the classis or presbytery. The original Company of Pastors survives to the present in Geneva. in 2001, the Geneva body made history when it elected Rev. Dr. Isabelle Graesslé as its first female moderator. in November 2002, she in turn presided at the annual celebration at the Reformation monument, as the names of four precursors to the Reformation were added to the wall: Peter Valdes, John Wycliff, John Hus and Marie DentiÈre. Dentière was the first female figure to be so recognized.
   Further reading:
   ■ Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, trans., The Register of the Company of Pastors in the Times of Calvin (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1966)
   ■ E. William Monter, Studies in Genevan Government, 1536-1605 (Geneva: Librairie E. Droz, 1964).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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