During our participation in the Great Thanksgiving, we ask the Holy Spirit to be poured out on us and on the gifts of bread and wine we offer. We ask for the Spirit's outpouring to make the bread and wine be for us the body and blood of Christ so we, who receive them, may be for the world the body of Christ redeemed by his blood. We believe God answers this prayer "Yes," and the Spirit does all these things. Christ is really present here, and Christ's presence really changes us.
So, how do we make such an invitation and expect Christ's presence when we are separated in our homes and can only participate by video conferencing software?
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and the Appointive Cabinet have discussed this matter and determined it is important to temporarily address pastoral challenges during this time of health concerns. To provide effective pastoral care, the bishop and Cabinet are in agreement that the practice of online communion can be an essential means of spiritual comfort and strength for the body of Christ.
Online communion is always a “live” event. It is not to be recorded and then distributed for people to individually partake of it at a different time without a virtually gathered community. The same guidelines hold true for an online Wesleyan Love Feast and for the use of Dr. Marcia McFee’s “Comfort Food” liturgy.
The congregation should receive notice by appropriate means so that members can prepare to participate in the sacrament, a Love Feast (The United Methodist Book of Worship, pp. 581-584), or the liturgy for “Comfort Food: A Feast of Love,” a free resource by McFee at http://worshipdesignstudio.com/ that is now posted on this page.
Participants should have bread or crackers available and grape juice, if possible. If grape juice isn’t available, simply use water. Remember, water was the means of many miracles of Jesus.
Liturgy should be sent via email, traditional mail, or text to people ahead of time so they can follow along and still have the visual connection.
CLMs and DSAs are encouraged to select one of these options:
Use the Wesleyan Love Feast or Marcia McFee’s “Comfort Food” liturgy.
If you are using Zoom, invite an elder to join your service virtually and lead communion. Clergy on conference staff (Nancy Lambert, Nathan Stanton, Karen Jeffcoat, Ashlee Alley Crawford, Nicole Conard, Sarah Marsh) would be available, as would your district superintendent. Or someone in your network who is not livestreaming a service at the same time as your service may be available.
Invite your congregation to join an online service of a church in your network or district for their communion service.
Invite people to send their prayers to you by text, email, or phone call ahead of the worship service.
The following liturgies are available for download and distribution until further notice. You may download and send via email or regular mail, or you may share links with parishioners. Click the images below for the Great Thanksgiving, Wesleyan Love Feast and Comfort Food liturgies.
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