A historical term in American Methodism for an elder who supervised a number of pastoral charges. As Methodism in America grew and geographically defined districts were established, the office of presiding elder was established to oversee the work of the local churches within a district. In 1939, when the three Methodist denominations united to form the Methodist Church, the use of this title was discontinued. It was replaced with the title district superintendent.
Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by Permission.