Swinging the Doors Wide Open For Communion

The open door

This past week I commented on a blog post over at Internet Monk about communion, whether it should be open or closed.  In light of the fact that I'm talking about communion in church today, I thought I'd post my response:

I’m a United Methodist and, unlike some UM churches, we swing the doors wide open for communion every week. Everyone’s invited…young, old, baptized, unbaptized, sinner, saint, member, visitor. We do the whole liturgy every week. I often say “This is Christ’s free gift to you whether you’ve been here for 60 years (our organist) or 60 minutes.” We serve by intinction and serve good bread. When kids come forward they often ask for “a big piece” and I occasionally say, “If we all knew we needed a big piece of Jesus the world would be a better place.”

Communion is formative for us. We use it as a theological stepping stone to ministries of outreach and giving.

It’s also a celebration for us. We enjoy that time together. It’s a party every week with a mix of denominations and nondenominations present. Said one of our more conservative evangelical folks, he views it as a little foretaste of the Kingdom of God.

A few years ago, during a visioning process, we asked folks in the congregation to come up with two things they think are most important about our faith community. Most everyone put the following: the presence of children and family AND Holy Communion.

I like [what was said in another comment] about telling people that it’s open to all but to not feel obligated if folks aren’t seeking Jesus. I could do better in the explanation.

I know this style isn’t for everyone and, frankly, might not work in many other UM churches. But it seems to work here and helps define this congregation in powerful ways.

Girdwood Chapel has been formative to my understanding of communion as well.  I believe everything I wrote above.  It's the highlight of my Sunday.  I love being there and I love presiding at communion.

I believe this is what we're made for.