The origin of Communion
The communion meal recalls the table fellowship Jesus shared with his disciples, and
in particular the Last Supper on the night before his death as well as his appearances
to the disciples during meals following his resurrection. Throughout its history these
Biblical events have been central to the Church's worship life.
The meaning of Communion
In the sacrament of Holy Communion, also called the Lord's Supper or Eucharist,
meaning "thanksgiving," Christians hear, taste, touch and receive the grace of God
revealed through Jesus Christ in a unique way. Communion is:
a joyous act of thanksgiving for all God has done, is doing, and will do for the
redeeming of creation;
a sacred memorial of the crucified and risen Christ, a living and effective sign of
Christ's sacrifice in which Christ is truly and rightly present to those who eat and drink;
an earnest prayer for the presence of the Holy Spirit to unite those who partake with
the Risen Christ and with each other, and to restore creation, making all things new;
an intimate experience of fellowship in which the whole church in every time and place
is present and divisions are overcome;
a hopeful sign of the promised Realm of God marked by justice, love and peace.
What elements are used? What do they mean?
The broken bread and poured wine represent—present anew—the crucified and risen
Christ. The wheat gathered to bake one loaf and the grapes pressed to make one cup
remind participants that they are one body in Christ, while the breaking and pouring
announce the costliness of Christ's sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. At Open Door
we use grape juice and cubes of bread for most communion services. On World
Communion Sunday, in honor of the rich cultural diversity of the church around the
world, we use a variety of elements reflecting the practices of sisters and brothers in
the faith of other cultures.
How is Communion served?
Most often worshippers are served communion in the pews. Trays with individidual
cups and plates with cubes of bread are passed from person to person reminding us
of Christ's call to serve one another. Sometimes we use the Intinction style, when the
the bread in dipped in a large single cup, or chalice.
Who may receive Communion?
As in most United Church of Christ local churches, the Communion Table at Church of
the Open Door is "open to all Christians who wish to know the presence of Christ and
to share in the community of God's people." (Book of Worship). Some visitors from
churches which believe communion should only be celebrated among Christians who
are in full doctrinal agreement might not choose to participate. Their decision should
What about children?
As in many Christian churches, baptized children are welcome to receive communion.
Children are welcomed to the Table at their parents' discretion following a period of
instruction about the sacrament's meaning.
How often is Communion served?
In the early church Communion was served weekly, a practice continued and
encouraged by the Protestant Reformers. Gradually the frequency of communion
decreased in many Protestant churches. Currently communion is served at Open Door
the first Sunday of every month and on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday.