The Session of the Presbyterian Church has approved online communion for Sunday, July 5 and Sunday, August 2. As this is a new way of celebrating the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, please review the document below as you prepare your heart, mind and worship space for this sacred meal with the congregation through FaceBook Live.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AT WOODBURY
An Invitation to Online Communion
Celebrating at the Lord’s table together is a time in which we are united with the global church, affirming of our baptismal vows, and receive the invitation extended to us by Christ. A significant part of celebrating communion is the preparation of space. Our Directory of Worship says, “Space for Christian worship should include a place for the reading and proclaiming of the Word, a font or pool for Baptism, and a table for the Lord’s Supper.”
For the Presbyterian Church at Woodbury’s participation in virtual communion, the Session and staff would like to encourage you to engage in the following intentional practices of remembering your baptism, setting up your space, what virtual communion will entail and reading the Word for the day.
Remember Your Baptism: At 9:20am, go and wash your hands, remembering your baptism. Every time we gather at the Table, we are called to be reminded of our baptismal promises, so participating in a hand washing—something that all of us are already adhering to—reminds us that God continually makes the ordinary sacred.
Cultivate Your Space: Set up your communion space in a way that reflects your understanding of partaking in this meal. Perhaps it will mean putting a colorful scarf over a coffee table, spreading out a blanket on the floor, or putting a piece of paper on a tray table and writing out words and phrases you want to be reminded of while partaking of communion.
Prepare Your Elements: Select a cup, plate and elements that represent your household. The Directory of Worship states: “The bread used for the Lord’s Supper should be common to the culture of the congregation” W3.0413. This might look like anything from wheat bread and apple juice to pita and wine! By encouraging people to use the elements in their own spaces, we are also sending a message of asking people to practice physical distancing and safety guidelines by not leaving their houses to pick up the exact bread and drink used in communion at PC@Woodbury. We do recommend any type of bread: white, wheat, pita, hoagie or potato roll and any type of juice: grape, cranberry, apple, orange or wine to celebrate this sacrament.
Prepare Yourself: Just as you took time to remember your baptism, intentionally spend time in the Word. Read over the scripture passages for the day as a means of preparing your heart for the service of worship as well as the meal you will be parking in.
Sunday, July 5: Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30
Sunday, August 2: Matthew 14:13-21
Taking the Lord’s Supper: As usually occurs within worship, the Invitation, Prayer of Great Thanksgiving, and Words of Institution will be spoken by the pastor. Once the Words of Institution are spoken, the pastor will extend the invitation for all to take of their bread element and to dip it into their drink element. Due to the nature of online lag, the pastor will leave more time for members to partake in the elements.
Conclusion of Worship: The Directory of Worship states, “At the conclusion of the Service for the Lord’s Day, the bread and cup are to be removed from the table and used or disposed of in a manner approved by the session, in keeping with the Reformed understanding of the Sacrament and principles of good stewardship. This may be accomplished by consuming what remains or returning the elements to the earth.” W3.0414 We will share this with the congregation, and encourage them to eat and drink the remainder of their elements as being good stewards of the earth. If you prefer not to consume them, then be intentional in how you return the elements to the earth.
We look forward to celebrating the meal that Christ offered to those first disciples, and we partake in during this season of physical separateness. Please know that we are still bound together through the love of Christ!