On Sunday 15th July, our Parish Communion service was a bit different from usual. With several people in our church family preparing for Confirmation and to receive Communion for the first time, exploring together Communion seemed like a good idea. Communion is a central part of our weekly worship – why? What might it mean to us individually, as a community and as part of the universal body of Christ?
Rosie started the service by telling us about Sara Miles, who had been brought up an atheist in the US. Then early one morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into a church in San Francisco. Sara hadn’t been interested in becoming a Christian but she ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radically transformed, and set up a food pantry (a bit like a food bank) directly linked with the church’s Eucharistic life.
At the Confession, Rosie told us about her bright orange new stole which she had brought back from Texas, and its purpose in raising awareness of gun violence, solidarity with victims and commitment to reducing the threats. And she told us that at one time we would only have sung the Gloria on Christmas Day – what a treat to enjoy singing it every Sunday now!
During the sermon time, we tasted jelly and sausage rolls and shared the ideas and memories which these tastes and food evoke for us, including what sharing them together means.
As the service progressed, Rosie explained the significance of the different parts of the liturgy and invited us to reflect. The Lady Chapel altar had been moved to just below the chancel step, to encourage us to think and experience differently how Jesus is in our midst when we celebrate Communion together. Our Confirmation candidates and some other young people joined Elizabeth behind the altar for the Eucharistic prayer, which included questions “Why do we…. Listen and we will hear”. Meanwhile, the younger children had been creating their own chalices from clay and sparkling jewels!