The first Sunday of October has been observed since the 1940s as World Communion Sunday. This year, it promises to be more poignant than ever before. Because of the pandemic, most of us have not been able to receive communion together; and those of us who have been able to have done so virtually.
World Communion Sunday began among several U.S. Protestant denominations as a way of recognizing and celebrating that we share Communion with Christians of many theologies and denominations all over the world. It also began during a time when celebrating communion was more infrequent. Quarterly celebration was often the norm, and it was rarely coordinated across denominations or even within them. Thus, setting the first Sunday of October as World Communion Sunday through the Federal Council of Churches became one way to ensure that at least once per year, many American Protestants, and their related missionary churches outside the U.S., might celebrate at the same time.
Since that time, nearly all Protestant denominations in the U.S., including United Methodists, have significantly increased the frequency of celebrating Holy Communion. Celebration at least monthly is the most commonly practiced norm, including the first Sunday of each month and other Holy Days. That has been our practice at Avondale UMC until the pandemic forced us to make some unwanted changes earlier this year.
This Sunday during our new Worship on the Lawn service at 9:00am, we will join together in celebrating Holy Communion. Communion is always a sacred and holy time, but I imagine it will bring a lot more emotions with it this Sunday since it will be the first time in six months we have done so together in person.
In the interest of health and safety, I am asking that you bring your own communion elements this Sunday. The church will not provide the bread and juice as we remain committed to limiting our physical contact with people outside our households. If you do not have bread and juice, bring something from your pantry such as crackers and water. The quality of the elements is not as important as is that which they represent – the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I will consecrate everyone’s elements through our Communion liturgy, and then we will each partake in what we have brought for the Lord’s Supper. I believe this promises to be a truly meaningful time together in worship as we gather around the Lord’s Table in a new way.
Just as the early church had to pivot and adapt to their ever-changing world, we too must do the same. We serve a living Savior that goes before us and walks with us even when the path we’re walking feels unsteady and uncertain. I hope to see you on the lawn this Sunday morning!
Rev. Malinda Weaver
P.S. A few reminders …
- Please make a reservation for you/your family to join us so we can prepare for our worship to remain safely socially distanced. Click here to RSVP.
- We require everyone to wear a mask.
- Bring a lawn chair(s) or blanket for you/your family.
- Bring communion elements for you/your family (bread/juice, crackers/water, etc.). If you would like a recipe so you can bake your own communion bread, click here. This is a recipe that my seminary used, and that my husband and I still use today.