Holy Communion at SJR

We normally celebrate Holy Communion at St James Road on the 2nd Sunday in the month at the morning services and the 3rd Sunday in the evening, but what is Holy Communion?

There are many names given to the celebration of Jesus last meal with his friends such as ‘Mass’, ‘Eucharist’, ‘The Lord’s Supper’ or ‘Communion’. The ceremony follows the instructions of Jesus on the night before he was crucified to bless and eat bread, and to bless and drink wine to remember his sacrifice. The bread and wine represent his body and blood given in his death for our forgiveness.

Following the Methodist way, at SJR we believe this to be a memorial and a re-enactment of the events of the historic occasion 2,000 years ago. But we pray for God to send the Holy Spirit to make it special and more than just a symbolic meal. Many Christians see this ceremony as central to their worshipping life and precious to them because they sense God’s presence in a very real way as they eat and drink.

At our 11.00 and 6.30 services, people are invited to the front to stand or kneel at the specially designed rail. They are then offered a small piece of (gluten-free) bread and a little glass with a mouthful of non-alcoholic wine. Words such as ‘the body of Christ broken for you’ and ‘the blood of Christ shed for you’ are usually said to each person. The bread and wine are taken to those unable to move to the front.

At our 9.30 service, there is less formality and sometimes the bread and wine are taken to the people where they sit, or they are invited to come at take them for themselves at a given time. Instructions are given on each occasion.

At any time, people in the church can say ‘no’ to coming forward or to receiving the bread and wine. They can receive a prayer of blessing at the rail or stay in their seats. You do not have to be a Member or to have been confirmed to take part. We sometimes refer to it as a ‘means of grace’. In other words, a way that God moves in our lives. Who are we to say who can join in and who cannot?

The words used in this part of the service may seem strange and difficult to understand and coming to the front may seem unnatural for those who do not normally come to church. But everyone is welcome to come and to receive if they feel drawn to do so.