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Study guide promoted as tool for improving Holy Communion

 


Study guide promoted as tool for improving Holy Communion

May 4, 2005

By Deborah White*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)--A new study guide about Holy Communion will help local United Methodist churches improve the practice of the sacrament.

Developing 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.

“How 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. 

“I 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. 

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
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.  

“Our 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.”

Felton 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 jmusterman@gbod.org.

The 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 newsdesk@umcom.org.

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