Regarding Weekly Communion
From the Session
While we understand the decision is ultimately our responsibility, we are grateful for your partnership, prayer, and engagement. For perspective, our current standard practice had been to celebrate communion weekly during the Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter seasons and monthly during ordinary time, which worked out to about half the Sundays of the year. We did increase communion to twice a month during Ordinary Time just this summer, which seems to have been an instigator for recent considerations.
We are well aware that the question is complicated by a number of factors, including each of our personal experiences, and deep memories that shape our engagement with worship generally, and in particular, with communion. We come from diverse backgrounds which shape how we come to the table. In addition, we are aware that the Presbyterian Church’s emphasis on weekly communion is relatively new. It has evolved in recent years and was not the experience of many of us who were raised within the denomination. It is, of course, a time of profound change, and we seek to respond faithfully together as a church “reformed, and always being reformed.”
We are very glad to be in conversation with you. Please feel free to seek any of us out individually if you’d like to pray with us, share your experiences, or ask questions. We will also provide an opportunity for questions and conversation during Aftertalk on November 3rd.
With love and gratitude,
Your St. Andrew Session
Scott Anderson, Moderator
Julie Kae Sigars
Don Patterson, Clerk
Letter from Pastor Scott
September 17, 2019
My Dear Session members:
I write to you because I believe it is time for us to make the celebration of the Lord’s Supper a regular part of our weekly worship. Recent conversations with the deacons and in our last stated meeting have clarified and cemented in me this conviction.
Let me try to explain why, first of all, by naming what I’ve observed and have come to believe.
Let me also highlight what I understand about our tradition.
Simply put, to neglect the regular and combined practice of both Word and Table, and a fulsome practices of both is, for me as a pastor, akin to a doctor engaging in malpractice, to holding back “care” consistent with known best practices and substituting instead something “substandard” in my call to “equip the people for ministry in Jesus’ name.”[vii] While I have held this view for some time, my pastoral judgment to this point in my ministry with you and those entrusted to us regarding our sacramental practices has been to seek understanding in patient, active listening and faithful teaching. I am persuaded that this line of action, in this case, is no longer wise or beneficial to our life together.
My recommendation, therefore, is that session institute the practice of communion every Lord’s Day beginning with Advent (December 1, 2019) and the beginning of our new liturgical year. Given our current practice, the difference will only be functionally evident when the Christmas season gives way to Ordinary Time in January when we would normally revert to twice-monthly communion. Of course, the institution of these changes should and will be accompanied by ample communication and instruction.
Grace & Peace,
Rev. Scott Anderson, D.Min.
[i] Cf., Book of Order, F-1.02.
[ii] See, for example the historic principle of mutual forbearance (F-3.0105).
[iii] Examples to support this are numerous. Specific to the weekly celebration as normative, see among others in the Book of Order (and note references to scripture and confessions) W-1.01, W-3.0102: The Pattern of Lord’s Day Worship; W-3.04: Sacrament—especially W-3.0409 and W-3.0415.
[iv] Book of Common Worship, 2018, Commentary, p. 9, and W-3.0409,
[v] W-3.0401: Theology of the Sacraments.
[vi] W-3.0409: Theology of the Lord’s Supper.
Comments are closed.