church ministry

Twitter Communion

I recently came across the proposal for a Twitter Communion service and its subsequent cancellation. As Pastor of Resurrection Online, I have spent a good deal of time considering how sacraments are made available for those that worship online. I am still working on articulating clear guidance for Resurrection Online attender.

This proposal is particularly intriguing to me as it is from a British Methodist, who shares a similar theology and founder in John Wesley. Here is a video of the proposal.

What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this Twitter Communion?

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

3 replies on “Twitter Communion”

I will probably be called some sort of technological Luddite for these comments but I really think that it is a bad idea and a lousy application of technology.

First, does not the word communion come from the same root at community? I realize that there are Internet communities but the interaction within such communities is not the same reaction that we get when we share the bread and the juice at a common table.

The second thought that I have has to with the theology of the moment when the elements are blessed. Now, I don’t have the words perhaps exactly right but I know, or it is my understanding, that the only time that I, as a certified lay speaker, can bring communion to a church that I am covering is to have the elements blessed by an elder that morning and as part of a regular service.

Granted, the technology being suggested would make it easier on me to get to the church but then I have to find a way to connect the two churches together and that is not always easy with some of the churches that I cover.

But if the blessing can be transmitted with electrons, what’s the purpose of getting everyone together at one place and one time?

I appreciate the technology as much as anyone else (heh, I am using it right now) but I think that we really seriously need to think about times when being with other people is a far better alternative.

Ok first we have to stop and ask, does the whole notion of Clergy only communion blessing even remotely represent what was left to us by the early church…. of course the answer to that is no. Communion in the early church was a common meal, flowing from its historical roots in the seder, and required no clergy intervention at all (That’s because – horror of horrors there was no such thing as professional clergy in the early church). In point of fact the ascendancy of clergy only blessing of the sacrament had more to do with the institutionalization of the church under Rome that it did with the radical and egalitarian community building experience it was initially meant to be. In essence the bastardization of communion happened when we reserved its institution to professional priests. This of course is far worse than anything twitter could do to communion. In fact I think that this twitter notion is more than likely returning the sacrament to its rightful place as the harbinger and symbol of a dynamic people movement, instead of being a bureaucratized means by which the church wields power.

Personally, I do not like the idea of “Twitter Communion.” Perhaps I am behind the times, but for me, the communion service is more about community, and the opportunity to build community, than the blessing of the elements. I have a hard time seeing that “Twitter Communion” can foster this.

Part of this is because my experience with Twitter is that it is a one-way communication tool, or at best a “clique-ish” communication tool. Sure, if I have three mutual “followers” on Twitter, I see the back-and-forth communication. But if I follow you, I do not see what others are saying to you or about you without searching that information out. (Heck, doesn’t the term “follower” say it by itself?)

Note that I am not laying any claim to the justification of clergy-led communion. I personally believe that three friends in the woods should be able to celebrate communion if they wish. But “broadcasting” a communion blessing to people who cannot see or talk with others who receive the “broadcast” seems to me a violation of the “communion” intent.

As an interesting point, this is the third “community” discussion I have found today. You might also want to check out InternetMonk’s post “First Thoughts on ‘Community'” ( and The Upper Room daily devotional (

Thanks for the discussion!

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