May 7, 2004
By Linda Green*
PITTSBURGH (UMNS) — What do United Methodists want from Holy Communion?
answer to that question, and to many others about the ritual and
theology of Holy Communion, is found in “This Holy Mystery: A United
Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion,” approved May 7 as the
denomination’s official, interpretive statement on the sacrament.
document, the product of a 19-member task force of the United Methodist
Board of Discipleship, is also intended to help the church be in accord
with ecumenical movements in sacramental theology and practice. The
16-page paper clarifies United Methodist Holy Communion tradition,
theology and practice for local churches.
approved a resolution requesting the development of teaching resources
that could be used with the document, and that churchwide agencies
provide print and electronic resources for United Methodists on
celebrating the Eucharist. The church also recommended “This Holy
Mystery” as a resource for congregations to use with the communion
services in the United Methodist Hymnal and the United Methodist Book of
resource emphasizes that when people come to the table, they are not
simply remembering something Jesus did 2,000 years ago, said the Rev.
Gayle Felton, author of the document.
we come,” she said, “we encounter and experience something that is
happening then and there. We are not exercising recall.”
*Green is a staff writer for United Methodist News Service
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