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Category: Eucharist

The Communion Meal

The communion meal is a service we have held at Holy Nativity for the last three years.  It is a communion service in reverse.  It is a place for all ages to gather together around God’s table, to share bread and wine together, to eat together, to explore the bible together and to pray together.  It is a place to participate in a family meal with the body of Christ.

The main thing to get right with the communion meal is the setting and the ambiance.  The table is set for dinner with a table cloth, placemats and cutlery.  We often have bible readings printed and put into plastic menu holders.  We begin with the Eucharistic prayer and pass the consecrated bread and wine around the table from one to another.  Then food is served.  We talk about our lives and our journeys as Christians.  A bible reading is shared.  There is no teaching as such, more a guided conversation where people explore the scriptures in relation to the modern world, their experiences and lives.

This is the most fascinating part.  Young children and pensioners and everyone in between discussing faith together.  Eight year old’s asking profound questions of adults and stretching them to think.  Adults learning from children and children learning from adults.  The dinner table puts everyone on an even footing.

Sometimes there are other activities to do during the meal.  Perhaps something that relates to the prayers.  Confession and prayer often come from the discussion.  Sometimes led by me, the priest.  Sometimes led by others around the table.  It is an environment that allows people to explore spirituality.

We’ve been holding monthly services like this for over three months.  Various people who come cook food.  We have had as many as forty (and the food stretched that far) but a core group of about 15.  The month that we had forty we had 15 asylum seekers come along unexpectedly.  The conversations across culture were fantastic as people learned from each other’s lives.  A medical doctor fleeing from Iran sharing with us how he couldn’t use his medical skills in the UK and was living on next to nothing.

For three years, I’ve had people ask for the resources we use.  I keep meaning to put them up here but run out of time.  There is a placemat which we have laminated.  It has all of the essential bits of the liturgy for people around the table.  I also have a word document of the key pieces of the liturgy for the priest.  I run it off a tablet but you could easily print it off.

A big thanks to Revd Jonnie Parkin who helped me think through some of the issues the Communion Meal raises.  I visited the Luminous Community in Lincoln where we both started holding services like this at the same time.  His wisdom enabled our community to develop a wonderful sense of community and I value his shared good practice.

PDF Placemats No Logo

Document Communion Meal Placemats Wording

Communion Meal Liturgy Priest

Equals at God’s Table

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There is something wonderful about the way George Guiver CR embodies his vocation as a monk in a way that enables him to speak so freely about the nature of The Church TM. I’m currently reading his new book Vision upon Vision: Processes of Change and Renewal in Christian Worship. I was so struck by this passage that I typed it out on my phone!

God was not to be defined first in abstract terms, but by what happens in the basilica as the Eucharist is celebrated by the gathered believers… People can be puzzled by talk of the Eucharist making the church manifest, but one way in which this is clearly true is the fact that all people gathered – from presiding clergy to rulers and magistrates, shopkeepers and urban poor – are equally prophets, priests and kings, and their relationship is one of communion, in the scriptures, in the kiss of peace, and in sharing the Supper of The Lord. The Christian liturgy is utterly egalitarian: we are all equal in the sight of God. Toffs rub shoulders with vagrants….

In subsequent history the equality of all was often violated when ruling elites came to treat the church as their possession: those creepy English village churches in the grounds of mansions, rebuilt in elegant taste and run by local gentry, are one example of this. But there has always been a gospel law by which one day they would be found wanting…

The drama of the liturgy, then, needs to be performed in such a way that it corresponds to the nature of God and is an icon of God. This way already exists, and our part is to uncover it.

This is the unease I feel as an Anglican each time I am introduced to a colleague with such qualifying phrases as “of course his father was dean at…” There was of course the time I was genuinely told that “they are one of the ‘big families’ in the Church of England nationally”. I just can’t square these concepts with the table we gather around or the Jesus movement we have signed up to.

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Are You Gonna Go My Way?

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One of the many things I need to do now that I am back online is sort through all of the tasks that have been backing up.  Here is one of the clips of The Rock Mass that I’ve managed to get off my computer and up to YouTube.  Thanks to Trash II Treasure for the shooting and editing.

Guess I’d better update Metanoia’s website.

Greenbelt 2012 – U2charist

As you probably know, Ruth and I are involved in a couple of services at Greenbelt this year.  We’ve had details confirmed about when the U2charist will be happening.  It is going to be in the “InSense” venue at 5pm on Monday.  The worship is being organised by Luminous in Lincoln.  Metanoia will be leading the musical aspects of the service with a selection of U2 songs.

It’ll be great to see you there!