May 4, 2005
By Deborah White*
Tenn. (UMNS)--A new study guide about Holy Communion will help local
United Methodist churches improve the practice of the sacrament.
and promoting the guide is the primary strategy for spreading the
message of a 16-page document adopted by the 2004 General Conference as
the denomination’s official, interpretive statement on Holy Communion. A
conference held April 26-28 in Nashville, Tenn., introduced the study
guide and served as a discussion, teaching and worship forum for more
than 100 clergy and other church leaders.
can we take this back to our local churches?” asked the Rev. Gayle
Felton, primary author of “This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist
Understanding of Holy Communion,” the title of both the 16-page document
and the study guide.
hope you will be stimulated to continue your efforts in a variety of
ways to teach and spread the truths that this document and the church
have put before us,” Felton told conference participants.
|A UMNS photo by Deborah White
The Rev. Gayle Felton is the primary author of the Holy Communion study guide.
The 79-page guide
includes the church’s official statement about Holy Communion as the
main text plus commentary and discussion questions. It is arranged in a
seven-session study guide format and includes recommendations for many
other resources to aid in-depth studies.
primary strategy is to get this and use it in the local church,” said
the Rev. Daniel T. Benedict Jr., staff executive of the United Methodist
Board of Discipleship’s worship section.
“We’re hoping for
widespread use across the church of this resource in clergy groups,
annual conferences and in local churches.” He hopes that “it will not
just be a study that sits on the shelf, but that it would cause churches
to think about and understand Holy Communion in a richer way and that
it will improve practice of the sacrament.”
has also developed guidelines for a three-session or a single-session
event for clergy to explore Holy Communion. The guidelines are available
at www.discipleshipresources or from the board’s worship resources office at (615) 340-7070 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
study guide of “This Holy Mystery” is available for $12 per copy from
the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. It may be ordered at www.discipleshipresources or by calling (800) 972-0433.
*White is associate editor of Interpreter Magazine and Interpreter OnLine.
News media contact: Deborah White (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.