Pastoral Letter on Holy Communion
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It is hard to believe that it has been six months since the beginning of this pandemic and the many adjustments we have had to make to our lives. In terms of church, we have experimented with different forms of online worship: an audio podcast, then a video podcast, and now worship via Zoom. The advantage of Zoom is that you experience worship live. We participate in worship together in real time as a community even when we are in our separate places. It is also important that those who don’t have internet access can still call into the worship service via the telephone.
One of the biggest adjustments has been going from celebrating holy communion on a weekly basis to going months without. Celebrating the presence of Jesus together in word and sacrament is at the centre of our communal life. This pandemic time is continuing to reveal our spiritual hunger, which is a hunger not just for Christ’s presence in the sacrament, but also Christ’s presence in the gathered community.
We offered communion in our parking lot four times through the summer months. We did this, I believe, in a safe manner, taking precautions in preparing and distributing the elements, and maintaining physical distance. As the weather changes these outdoor gatherings are no longer feasible, and they also left out a significant portion of our church community.
One of the traditions of the church has been to bring communion from our Sunday gatherings to those who could not attend due to health or other reasons. I have often brought communion to those who have been in hospital or shut in. It occurs to me that in this situation many of us are now homebound, or much more homebound than before.
Based on this tradition of sending communion out, beginning later this month, communion will be offered via our Zoom worship in two parts.
On Sunday, September 27, the bread and wine will be consecrated in the church as part of our online worship service. After the service, the elements will be bagged into family to-go bags. These bags can be picked up from the church through the subsequent week, or dropped off at your home or residence if you are unable to go out.
Each bag will include:
(all wafers will be gluten free)
small communion cup(s)
a small container with either wine or grape juice
You will need to sign up to let us know that you wish to receive communion, for how many in your household, and if you would like grape juice instead of wine.
On Sunday, October 4, during our zoom worship we will share communion together with the elements distributed during the previous week, acknowledging that our communion has been sent out from the Lord’s table into your homes.
Before the service begins that morning, please set out your communion elements so that you’ll be ready to share communion together at the same time.
If you are unable to be present during zoom worship on this Sunday, a short order of service will be provided in your to-go bag so that you can still share the communion in your home or family.
We will continue this pattern (last Sunday of the month consecration, first Sunday of the month sharing) for October and November, while still longing for that time that we can gather again together in person, trusting always in Christ’s presence in our midst, even in these extraordinary times.
You can sign up for communion here: COMMUNION SIGN UP or by calling the church office 403-487-5404.
In Christ Jesus,