Wife leaving joiner for church officer (5)
I believe the answer is:
Here is my best explanation:
'church officer' is the definition.
(elder is a kind of church officer)
'wife leaving joiner' is the wordplay.
'wife' becomes 'w'.
'leaving' indicates named letters should be taken away.
'joiner' becomes 'welder' (I have seen 'Joiner of metals ' mean 'welder' so perhaps 'joiner' could also mean 'welder').
'welder' with 'w' taken out is 'ELDER'.
'for' is the link.
(Other definitions for elder that I've seen before include "Layman of the church", "more mature", "Kind of tree or sage person", "Shrub, tree", "character", "Older person - one's senior", "A tree", "Tribal advisor", "Tree - having lived longer" and "Small tree with purple berries".)