The Sacrament of  Holy Communion

At St. James Centennial United Church we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month, as well as on special occasions.

The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Holy Communion—these different terms refer to the same sacrament shared by most Christian denominations.  The excerpt below from the United Church’s “Song of Faith”expresses nicely how we view Holy Communion;

To point to the presence of the holy in the world,
the church receives, consecrates, and shares
visible signs of the grace of God.
In company with the churches
of the Reformed and Methodist traditions,
we celebrate two sacraments as gifts of Christ:
baptism and holy communion.
In these sacraments the ordinary things of life
—water, bread, wine—
point beyond themselves to God and God’s love,
teaching us to be alert
to the sacred in the midst of life…
Carrying a vision of creation healed and restored,
we welcome all in the name of Christ.
Invited to the table where none shall go hungry,
we gather as Christ’s guests and friends.
In holy communion
we are commissioned to feed as we have been fed,
forgive as we have been forgiven,
love as we have been loved.
The open table speaks of the shining promise
of barriers broken and creation healed.
In the communion meal, wine poured out and bread broken,
we remember Jesus.
We remember not only the promise but also the price that he paid
for who he was,
for what he did and said,
and for the world’s brokenness.
We taste the mystery of God’s great love for us,
and are renewed in faith and hope.

As we like to say in worship, “This is not the table of the United Church of Canada, nor is it the table of St. James Centennial United Church.  It is the table of Jesus Christ”, so we practice an open table.  If you feel moved, called, invited to partake in communion you are more than welcome to do so.  We believe that Jesus practiced an open table, sharing meals with people others wouldn’t have anything to do with.  We want to practice the same kind of hospitality

This openness extends to children.  Children are welcome to participate in the sacrament of Communion at St. James at any age.  It is up to parents to have that conversation.  Rev. Gaspar would be pleased to help answer any questions you might have about this.  Sometimes in order to allow enough time for our children’s programming on Sunday morning the children don’t join us for Communion, but you are always welcome to have your child join you if you wish.

Communion is served either in the pews or you will be invited to come forward to receive the elements.  We alternate which style we use.  Both have their own symbolism.  In being served in the pews what is emphasized is grace.  God comes to us in the midst of our imperfect lives offering the gifts of the bread and the wine (juice).  In coming forward what is emphasized is the need for a response on our part, a gift must be received.  In coming forward we make a statement that we will accept what God is offering us.

If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact Rev. Gaspar.

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