I Want More - Issue #80
Blakemore United Methodist Church is located in a comfortable neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee. Most of the members are spread across the Nashville metropolitan area. Average worship attendance is 120.
So last year, on Easter Sunday, the congregation began the weekly celebration of Holy Communion in both of its Sunday worship services. The congregation was inspired to make this move from their study of This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion, the General Conference-approved statement that encourages congregations to move toward a richer sacramental life.
The move to weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper has caused some significant adjustments to Sunday worship. It means more people are involved in leading worship. A group of volunteers was recruited and trained to serve the bread and cup each week. Some also serve as ushers. The pastor and worship leaders have learned by trial and error how to best prepare, present, and serve the Communion elements each week. This has resulted in more people making an intentional and serious examination of worship practices.
The shift from monthly to weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper is an ongoing learning experience. The change in tradition revealed a need for more intentional teaching about the meaning and significance of Christian worship and the sacraments. While the learning continues, a recent survey of the congregation revealed that over fifty percent of the congregation either deeply appreciate or do not mind including the sacrament every Sunday.
Some Questions for Discussion
- What changes in traditional practice would help move your congregation to a richer sacramental life?
- Do your current patterns and practices of celebrating Holy Communion result in worshipers yearning for a more frequent celebration of the sacrament?
- What opportunities are available to members of the congregation to learn about and reflect on the meaning and significance of Christian worship and the sacraments?
Steve Manskar is the Director of Wesleyan Leadership at the Discipleship Ministries. He can be reached at [email protected]. The text of This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion is available at www.umcdiscipleship.org.