Tag Archives: holy communion

Is Communion for Christians Only?

A few weeks ago, I visited a church where this sign was displayed during communion. The method of serving was passing a tray through the aisle and taking a piece of bread and a small cup of juice, so it would not have been obvious if one chose not to partake.

United Methodists practice open communion, which to clarify, means that you do not have to be a member of the church where communion is being served or a member of any United Methodist Church to receive the sacrament.

This is different than saying that you have to be a Christian to receive, which is clearly what the church that I visited was indicating.

The official document on baptism for The United Methodist Church, By Water & The Spirit, indicates:

In celebrating the Eucharist, we remember the grace given to us in our baptism and partake of the spiritual food necessary for sustaining and fulfilling the promises of salvation. Because the table at which we gather belongs to the Lord, it should be open to all who respond to Christ’s love, regardless of age or church membership. The Wesleyan tradition has always recognized that Holy Communion may be an occasion for the reception of converting, justifying, and sanctifying grace. Unbaptized persons who receive communion should be counseled and nurtured toward baptism as soon as possible.

That last sentence is particularly tricky in practice. Do you ask people if they have been baptized before, during or after they receive the bread and the cup? Perhaps a message of this sort in a United Methodist Church would say:

If Jesus is lord of your life, please take communion. If he is not lord of your life, go ahead and take communion anyway, as you might experience a desire to make him the lord of your life, in which case we would like for you to be baptized if you haven’t already been baptized.

This is a little tongue in cheek, however I do wonder – How does your church communicate about who receives Holy Communion?

Click in Remembrance of Me

Click in Remembrance of Me is the title of an article that was published in Newsweek on November 3. I invite you to check it out as it provides my first exposure to online church or internet campus being addressed by what I would interpret to be a mainstream media outlet.

While having previously found a United Methodist who was willing to baptize via the internet, this was the first reference that I have seen to a United Methodist willing to give communion via the internet. The site which is referenced in the article, holycommunionontheweb.com, appears to have been taken down.

Another perspective to throw in the mix as we continue to think about an internet campus at Resurrection.

Open Source Liturgy Project – Day 3

This morning we are finding out more about the expectations for what is to come next. Each person here will be gathering a group to write liturgies in each of the following areas:

  • Holy Communion
  • Baptism
  • Death and Resurrection
  • Christian Marriage

Here is a presentation on Understanding the Open Source Cores for the Open Source Liturgy Project of the General Board of Discipleship. This was put together by the staff at GBOD and I uploaded it to Google Docs as we were given a CD with resources to use and share. Check it out:

http://docs.google.com/Presentation?id=d3ggnsj_306dxf4mbc7

Let me know what you think.

iCampus – What about the sacraments?

This is a series of responses to questions about an internet campus from a previous series of posts. Do you have any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to respond to each one. Thanks!

What about the sacraments?

This is a serious question and one of the more significant challenges for an internet campus of a United Methodist congregation. Holy Communion is understood to be a means of grace for United Methodists and should not be ignored. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, encouraged the taking of communion at any opportunity available.

I am not willing to suggest that sacraments could be administered online or remotely in any way. I recognize that others with different understandings of polity and theology will come to different conclusions here, but this is where I am today as a United Methodist. For baptism, I see three possibilities:

  • Internet congregant would travel to a physical campus to be baptized
  • Internet campus pastor would travel to baptize the internet congregant
  • Internet congregant would be baptized at local congregation that was somehow connected to the internet campus (same denomination, pre-arranged plan, etc.)

For holy communion, I would suggest that the internet congregant receive this sacrament in another community of faith close to where she or he is living. Again, some sort of connection to the internet campus would be most desirable.

I recognize that none of these solutions are optimum. However, I do not think that the downsides here would be enough to prevent the possibility to build a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

Without the opportunity to have the “sacraments duly administered” it would not be possible to be defined as a local United Methodist church (2004 Book of Discipline, ¶201). Thus, an internet campus would necessarily be linked with an existing local church.

What do you think about my responses? How would you answer this question?

Open Source Liturgy

I read a post this morning that really piqued my interest:

Open Source Liturgy Project: Developers Needed

A call from the General Board of Discipleship for developers to work on an open source project for the texts of communion, baptism, service of Christian marriage and service of death and resurrection. I think that this has the potential to be an important part of the work of renewing the church.

Check out the post for more information on the project and how to submit your name, if interested in being a developer.