|. .Weekly Newsletter. .|
October 2, 2016
Worldwide Communion Sunday has been an annual tradition on the first Sunday of October for as long as most of us can remember. I used to think it was an ancient practice that churches had celebrated for years. However, I learned a number of years ago that the tradition is less than 100 years old, and the idea for it was birthed from one of our Presbyterian Churches in the United States. Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA first conceived of the tradition in 1933 as a way to bring differing church communities together in a service of Christian unity and to remind us how interconnected we are with one another. The tradition was soon adopted by the Presbyterian Church nationwide, and by 1940, what is now the National Council of Churches endorsed its celebration worldwide.
As we celebrate the sacrament of communion this weekend, we celebrate it with Christians in many different countries, reminding us of the unity that we share in Christ and the connectedness of our great Christian family that stretches worldwide. Yet while our focus on this weekend is easily and rightfully drawn worldwide, it is equally important to remember the unity and connectedness we share as a local church family. As we share communion together, we come to the table as very different people, expressing our unity in Christ, and expressing our shared dependency on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and our need for God’s love and grace in our lives every day. How beautiful it will be for us to celebrate this together!
Part of sharing in the unity and connectedness with one another also means ensuring that all members of our family of faith have the opportunity to partake in the sacrament. While many will do so within Wilkes Hall at Early Sabbath or in our sanctuary at Kings, there are a number of members of our congregation who, for various health reasons, are not physically able to worship with us anymore. I often say during communion that the sacrament is not complete until all want to be fed have been fed. Our sacrament this weekend is not complete until ALL members of family who wish to be fed have been fed. On Sunday and in the days following, we will be extending communion to our homebound members, so that all may be fed.
We are blessed by the fact that pastors can train elders and deacons in the church to serve as extended communion servers, bringing communion to our homebound members as an extension of the communion celebrated in worship. Church officers who elect to serve in this way receive training in the theology of a sacrament, the theology and meaning of communion, the elements of a communion service, and the practical “how tos” of bringing communion to those in homes or hospitals. In addition to four previously trained elders and deacons who continue to serve, I have recently trained an additional seven deacons to serve in this role. On Sunday and in the days following, those eleven plus the four pastors will be going out in pairs to serve communion to fourteen homebound members who have requested home communion. These members will continue to regularly receive home communion throughout the year, some monthly, and some quarterly, depending on their preference.
The meal is truly not over until all who wish to be fed have been fed. If you know of a permanently homebound member who may wish to be on our list of those to receive home communion, please let me know so that we can ensure that they can be added to our list. Likewise, if you or someone you know is temporarily homebound and wish to receive communion, please contact me so that I can help arrange communion to be brought to you. I can be reached at the church at 843-448-4496.
Rev. Christa R. Brewer