News Archives

Agency plans ways to promote Holy Communion statement

 


Agency plans ways to promote Holy Communion statement

A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose

March 17, 2005

By Kathy L. Gilbert*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)—Holy Communion should be seen as a "kingdom scene" in anticipation of what is to be, said the Rev. Daniel T. Benedict Jr., in a presentation to the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

"Holy Communion is not a funeral service; it is a time to remember all that Jesus did for us," said Benedict, a board staff executive. "It is body and blood, not milk and cookies. Diners beware!"

When you partake of Holy Communion it should be done with an awareness of what you are going to do with the rest of your life, he said.

Benedict presented a theological inquiry on Holy Communion and baptism for the agency board of directors’ spring meeting, held March 9-12 in Nashville.

The 2004 General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body, approved a study on Holy Communion conducted by the Board of Discipleship as the church’s official, interpretive statement on the sacrament.

The study, "This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion," was produced by a 19-member task force of the Board of Discipleship. The 16-page paper clarifies United Methodist Holy Communion tradition, theology and practice for local churches. It is also intended to help the church be in accord with ecumenical movements in sacramental theology and practice.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert

Holy Communion should be celebrated weekly, says the Rev. Daniel T. Benedict Jr.
A conference on "This Holy Mystery" will be held April 26-28 in Nashville for bishops, district superintendents, connectional ministries directors, conference and district worship directors, seminary professors, pastors, deacons and seminary students.

Benedict said the task force members all agreed that Holy Communion should be celebrated weekly.

Eucharist should become "ordinary, not extraordinary," he said. The Lord’s Supper should form the church into a community that reaches out, he added.

"If you are meeting Christ each week, of course you will reach out."

Benedict said baptism means "all the narrow places, the boundaries, all the things that make us distinctive evaporate, and we all become world citizens."

"We will spend a lifetime working it out."

"Each board meeting will have someone do theological instruction on the work of disciple making," said the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive for the board. "Baptism is the basis from which our ministry springs; we are baptized and then we start a lifelong journey of growth in faith. Holy Communion is the meal that reminds us of the great love of God."

"We want to be grounded in those two sacraments," she said.

In an opening address to the members, Greenwaldt said the board helps leaders in all areas of the church look "holistically at the health and vitality of local churches and annual conferences."

Once every quadrennium, the board evaluates and approves affiliated organizations—independent religious organizations that have an official relationship with the United Methodist Church. The Discipleship Ministries division approved 16 organizations at the spring meeting.

The board also approved holding a Global Young People’s Convocation in late May 2007 in a central conference. Sponsored by the Division on Ministries with Young People, the convocation will be for United Methodists ages 12 to 30 and adult workers with youth and young adults. The event will celebrate the mission and vitality of young people, develop young people as leaders, highlight emerging trends in youth and young adult ministry, and provide a forum that embraces the church’s global reality.

Greenwaldt said a highlight of the board’s March meeting was the "spirit of the board, their excitement about the mission of the church."

The meeting ended with a Holy Communion service in which participants were told, "Live the cross, make disciples (and) be attentive to the poor, the sick and the oppressed."

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email:*
ZIP/Postal Code:*
Question:*

*InfoServ ( about ) is a service of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW


Contact Us

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

Phone
(optional)

*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add InfoServ@umcom.org to your list of approved senders.