Communion resolutions open the table for discussion

At issue: unbaptized people receiving the Eucharist

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Posted May 15, 2012
Communion elements

The Episcopal Church's General Convention faces questions about who may receive communion. Photo/Mary Frances Schjonberg

[Episcopal News Service] The young woman who called St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Hood River, Oregon, was upset and asked if the church offered communion.

“I really need some support right now and I feel like it starts there,” she told the Rev. Anna Carmichael, the parish’s rector.

The wrinkle was that while the woman had attended various churches she had “never formally been baptized and yet somehow this needing to be in community and needing to be supported, in her mind, had something to do with communion as well,” Carmichael recalled.

“I just couldn’t tell her no, I’m sorry we can’t offer that to you,” the Diocese of Eastern Oregon rector recalled during a recent interview.

There is a tension, Carmichael said, between “the theology behind the importance of baptism,” something she said is “incredibly significant to me,” and “the very lived reality that people need to be supported in their community.”

Therein lies an example of the thinking behind Eastern Oregon’s proposal that General Convention allow the church’s congregations to “invite all, regardless of age, denomination, or baptism to the altar for Holy Communion.” Eastern Oregon’s Resolution C040 would pave the way for this invitation by eliminating Canon 1.17.7, which says “no unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church.”

It is one of two resolutions on this topic the convention will consider when it meets July 4-12 in Indianapolis. The Diocese of North Carolina has proposed a longer-term look at the issue. Resolution C029 calls for a special commission to conduct “a study of the theology underlying access to Holy Baptism and Holy Communion” and recommend to the 78th General Convention any amendment to Canon 1.17.7 it believes is needed.

The texts of both resolutions are available here. Eastern Oregon’s is accompanied by a diocesan statement explaining its stance.

This will be the second time in recent years that what is variously called open communion, open table and communion of the non- or unbaptized has come to convention. In 2006, the General Convention affirmed Canon 1.17.7 (via Resolution D084) and asked for the House of Bishops Committee on Theology and the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to provide to the 2009 meeting of convention “a pastoral and theological understanding of the relationship between Holy Baptism and eucharistic practice.”

In its report to the 2009 convention, the SCLM said it had been in contact with the bishops’ committee and “stand[s] ready to cooperate with them on this important issue in the future.”

The bishops reported that a study was “on-going.” In June 2009, the committee circulated “Reflections on Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist: A Response to Resolution D084 of the 75th General Convention,” which was later published in the Anglican Theological Review. The committee called it a “promissory note” because “we do not assume this is our last word on these matters.”

“It is essential to understand the doctrinal and liturgical connections between baptism and eucharist, especially in a church that has been rediscovering the centrality of baptism,” the members wrote in their conclusion. “We invite the church into this work.”

This year, the bishops’ theology committee reported in the Blue Book (beginning on page 51 here) that it is “undertaking a renewed engagement with the theology of the Eucharist.” They noted what they call “the continuing (and controversial) practice of inviting the un-baptized to receive communion” and suggested what is needed is “a renewed and fundamental understanding of the eucharistic assembly and of eucharistic celebration as the quintessential gathering of the people of God.”

Carmichael said Eastern Oregon began discussing what she called this “issue of practice versus theology” during its 2010 convention and agreed to submit a resolution to General Convention.

“For many of the folks out here in the diocese we have already started living into the practice, which I know gets us in a sticky situation but it’s reality,” she said, adding, “we don’t check ID at the door” and strangers who come up to receive communion are not asked if they have been baptized.

“We feel like it’s been a lived reality for us and we imagine that that may be true in other dioceses as well,” Carmichael said.

The Rev. Canon Beth Wickenberg Ely, canon for regional ministry in North Carolina and chair of that diocese’s convention deputation, echoed that sentiment. “Our gut reaction is that we’re not the only ones facing this,” she said in a recent interview. “We think that this is probably true for every single diocese.”

“Every Sunday we face this,” she said. “It’s not just a Christmas and Easter thing. If something is that much part of our lives together, we really need to bring this out in the open and talk about it.”

Hence, the diocese’s proposal that the church study the issue.

Deputy Joe Ferrell, a professor of public law at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, championed his diocese’s resolution not because he opposes an open table, but because “we have a canon that specifically prohibits it and my view has always been we don’t get to pick and choose the laws that we will obey unless we’re impelled by a higher moral authority, and I don’t think this issue is compelled by higher moral authority, so we need to do something about the canon.”

Ferrell said that if he “could wave my magic wand” the canon would be repealed.

“We’d be left with rubrics of the Prayer Book, which I think are perfectly adequate,” he said in an interview. Reminded that the Book of Common Prayer is silent on the issue, he chuckled and replied, “that’s right, that’s right.”

Having been raised in the Episcopal Church, Ferrell, 73, remembers prior to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer when Eucharist was not the principal service each Sunday and when communion was rarely a part of weddings and funerals.

“Now it’s commonplace and, particularly at weddings and funerals, you’ve got severe pastoral problems if you attempt to restrict who is going to be welcome at the altar,” he said. “And you have it to some extent on Sunday mornings.”

His “bottom line” is this: “clergy who feel that this is important from a pastoral point of view should not be put in a position of knowingly violating a canon that could not be more explicit.”

The Episcopal Church’s canons have contained a version of Canon 1.17.7 only since 1982, even though baptism as a pre-requisite for Holy Communion is rooted in the earliest part of the early Christian church. It appears that explicitly stating the tradition in the Episcopal Church canons happened due a legislative compromise between two competing resolutions. At the 1982 meeting of convention in New Orleans, deputies and bishops faced two resolutions dealing with the canon titled “Of Regulations Respecting the Laity” (then numbered Canon 16 of Title I).

Resolution A48 (submitted by the Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations and available beginning on page 60 here) was prompted by a mandate from the 1979 convention that it show how the church could implement the then-six-year-old ecumenical statement, “Toward a Mutual Recognition of Members,” which called for an understanding that baptism initiates people into the entire Christian church, according to the 1989 supplement to Edwin White and Jackson Dykman’s classic Annotated Constitution and Canons (available via a link here).

Resolution A78 (submitted by the Standing Liturgical Commission and available beginning on page 154 here) was based more specifically on the understanding that the Episcopal Church now considered baptism to be one’s entrance into the full life of the church. (In many, if not most, parts of the Anglican Communion, confirmation is still required before receiving communion.)

“The two resolutions reflected specific persuasions and purposes that differed sharply,” the supplement’s authors wrote. “Deputy Charles Crump of Tennessee, sensing the problems inherent in these proposals and the vast legislative time and debate which would be consumed on the floors of each House, crafted Resolution A048 as a compromise.”

The changes reflected in all three resolutions felt revolutionary to many. Allowing unconfirmed people to receive communion was a major change, as was the accompanying implication that children did not have to reach an undefined “age of reason” before coming to the altar rail.

The age tradition lingers in some families and in some parts of the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is still working to rewrite its canons to conform to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer’s baptismal theology. A summary of some of that work done by the Standing Commission on Lifelong Christian Formation and Education begins on page 153 of this year’s Blue Book.

Still, the requirement of baptism before Eucharist remains and hearkens to the early church. For example, the Didache, a catechism dating from the late 1st or early 2nd century, tells Christians, “… but let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord …” And scholars suggest there is evidence from early church liturgical sources, including The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome that non-baptized members of the Christian community had to leave the eucharistic liturgy altogether after the proclamation of the word.

Carmichael would hearken to an even earlier source.

“This is our construction around this issue because Jesus never said you have to have baptism before you have dinner with me,” she said. “So, this is our mess that we’ve created and sometimes I wonder in the grand scheme of all things how much this really matters. When we get to heaven is Jesus going to be more excited that we invited people or is he going to be more excited that we said you can come, but you can’t?”

Wickenberg Ely in North Carolina places at least part of the issue against the question of diversity. “I think we’ve had the diversity conversation ad nauseum but, I don’t think we’ve had it in the context in the open table,” she said in an interview. “To me that’s about diversity, so who are were going to leave out? The answer, the biblical answer to that is: [leave out] nobody who wants to come.”

The open-table issue is also part of the Episcopal Church’s struggle “about who are we as a church in the 21st century,” she said.

Wickenberg Ely noted that many people who come to church are often “looking to be welcomed wherever they go and whatever they believe.” Yet, there are some churches that say “if you are to be a member of our community in Christ this entails discipline and commitment, so that belonging is not just by virtue of being a child of God, but it is by virtue of being willing to pledge yourself to this way of being of a child of God,” she said, adding that this is the stance of the Roman Catholic church.

The Episcopal Church could be “known as a church that is welcoming of anyone at the Lord’s Table, willing to entertain questions, willing to dialogue with people of all beliefs and no beliefs — a generous stance as a church,” she suggested.

“Do we want to be known as a church like that going into the future? Or do we want to be known as a church that has some boundaries, [legal and canonical] expectations, also with [practice] and educational expectations, or do we want to be in the middle?” she asked. “I mean, who are we going to wind up being? This is just one of the things about that big discussion in my mind.”

Those questions frame up an even larger context for the communion issue. Removing the baptismal requirement for participation in communion would undoubtedly have major ecumenical implications. In 2008 the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations rooted its opposition to an open table in the once-revolutionary recognition of a common baptism, noting that that acceptance “has made ecumenical ventures possible.”

In The Vision Before Us the commission warned that “a move toward the official communion of the non-baptized undercuts, threatens, and in the end denies basic ecumenical tenets.” The members also noted that Anglican credibility in ecumenical conversations is threatened when Anglican texts say one thing, but practice suggests another.

“The practice of admitting non-baptized people to the Eucharist overthrows a century of ecumenical insight and growth,” they conclude.

The women who called St. Mark’s looking for support has been coming to the parish regularly, and Carmichael said the two of them have “regular conversations about how she can become more involved in the community and that that includes, when she’s ready, the decision to be baptized.”

“It’s not a prerequisite to being able to participate in community life, but that it is an adult decision about her faith and that I am happy to walk in the journey with her when she’s ready,” Carmichael said.

Read more about it

Here is a selected list of additional resources (beyond those linked to above) about the issue of unbaptized people receiving communion:

Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry” (Faith and Order Paper No. 111, the ‘Lima Text’), World Council of Churches Faith and Order commission (1982)

Open, the journal of the Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Music, essays

Anglican Theological Review essays

— The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

In Spanish:


Comments (70)

  1. Alex Scott says:

    One other thing:

    In some of this, I keep seeing the implication that if you’re not baptized, that is some judgment against you; that if we ask people to be baptized, we are asking them to “earn” salvation. It draws a lot on the juridical language internalized by Western Christianity.

    I don’t intend to imply that. I much prefer the non-juridical, therapeutic language of the Orthodox Church. To be baptized is to be admitted to a spiritual hospital, and is the start of the healing process; and the Eucharist isn’t just a table fellowship, but the focal point and culmination of all the other sacraments. And it’s a sacrament that itself points to a deeper and more glorious reality, the salvation of the soul through its union with Christ.

    I think communion without baptism risks making communion too small. If being part of the body of Christ and committing yourself to living up to him are no longer essential, what is? If I want fellowship, I can just go to the coffee shop — or even coffee hour! I take communion because I want to be one with God.

  2. Jared Cramer says:

    My actual comments on this article wind up being more appropriate to a comment on a blog. Thus, I’ll simply post the link to my comments here. I agree with much that has been said and raise a few other points that I think are important.

  3. Jessica Dye says:

    I can only truthfully speak to my own experience, as I wrote above. I want to clarify a handful of things, to ensure no one is getting the incorrect impression or making assumptions. No one pressured me, as an unbaptized person, to take communion. I cannot agree that not being baptized equals being a non-believer; I believed with the whole of my heart the day I walked into our little church and the steps in my life since I first knelt at the rail and received the gift of the Eucharist have only served to meld that belief into my every day. Why I hadn’t been baptized is a long and private story, though not one that is terribly uncommon of people of my generation. The act of receiving the sacrament was profound for me, and I give credit for that in large part to my priest.

    There were still areas of church life I was barred from, ways I couldn’t serve until I had fully committed myself through Confirmation. I haven’t any idea of my story is an exception or exceptionally common. Regardless, it remains a truth. Nothing was lost when I received communion before I was baptized, no one was harmed, the Church didn’t suffer for it. Ultimately, in my view, a great deal was gained.

    For me it isn’t about demeaning our Christianity, it’s about living up to it.

  4. Julian Malakar says:

    “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”- John 8:32.

    Only Holy Spirit could reveal the truth about God, not by our personal feelings. Holy Spirit speaks thru words of the Bible and the Bible already resolved the debate whether Baptism first, followed by Holy Communion to be children of God or Holy Communion first then Baptism. Without biblical reference debate is baseless, because we came to know Jesus thru biblical record. We should review historical record of institution of Lord’s Supper and effects of Baptism to decide which come first in our life to be children of God.

    Matthew 26:26-28
    26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
    27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

    Do we have scope to take this Holy Communion lightly like any beer party? Please note that all are invited but His blood is shed for many, but not for all, for remission of sins. It is misconception assuming blessed bread and wine is magical bread and wine. His blood is shed for those who believe His crucifixion is historical facts not an imaginary story. It is sad but true that many priests give Holy Communion even to pet animal.

    In other incident, in conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus said “I tell you the truth, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:5. Jesus started His ministry after Baptism when God confirmed Him as beloved Son. Who will tell us the truth about Body and Blood of Jesus Christ unless we have Holy Spirit in our mind attained thru baptism.

    Faith on Baptism is pre-requisite for remission of our sins thru Christ’s blood at the cross.

  5. Barbara Briggs says:

    I never told the adults in our catechumenate that they could not receive communion. I told the story of the early church and of those who ardently desired to come into the body and of how they prepared for it; of their baptisms; and of the experience of coming to the table and then deepening their understanding of that experience over time. They decided on their own not to receive until after being baptized. Their individual reasons were different. In general it had to do with the awesome experience of standing in communion with a long tradition of those who had gone before. Let’s not forget the power of the story of our heritage.

  6. Barbara Snyder says:

    The BCP is not actually silent on this issue, though. TEC’s Catechism ( says this about the Eucharist:

    Q. What is the inward and spiritual grace given in the Eucharist?
    A. The inward and spiritual grace in the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people, and received by faith.

    Q. What are the benefits which we receive in the Lord’s Supper?
    A. The benefits we receive are the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life.

    Q. What is required of us when we come to the Eucharist?
    A. It is required that we should examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people.

    It’s hard to see how any of this can apply to somebody who’s just walked in the doors. It’s especially hard to see how the last point makes any sense in that context….

  7. This is actually part of the text of the service and leads into the offertory hymn. it respects the current and I think the scriptural and traditional understanding of the purpose of communion but also recognizes that the Holy Spirit will do what the Holy Spirit will do. I do not believe that it is my job to police the rail where it comes to people’s consciences and encounters with the Living God right there and right then. I may take note and follow up with that person and invite them into a deeper understanding but I would never police the rail or uninvite someone. Below is what is in our liturgy:
    “Any Christian who has been baptized with water in the Name of God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is invited to partake of the consecrated bread and the wine which we believe to bear for ours and the world’s sake the very presence of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Any person no matter the state of their faith or religious expression who is called by God’s Holy Spirit to partake of the bread and wine may come forward to receive the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus our Lord. For this is the Lord’s table and no one is turned away. Therefore, let us walk in love as Christ has loved us and gave himself as an offering and sacrifice unto God.”

  8. I wonder if it all comes down to where we first “entered the mystery” of the church. While I was baptized as an infant, it was not until I received communion in an Episcopal Church in 2001 that I felt a transformation in my own journey of faith. Yes, I was baptized so it was “legal” but I think I can safely assume that had I received communion that day without having first been baptized, I would have felt the same transformation and, I can guarantee you that if I was denied communion on that day, I would not have returned to that church. In my life I have been cast out / set apart / not welcomed in any number of contexts and would not stick around in a church that was just one more such place. While the article begins with the story of a woman who first called the priest; how many others come into our churches without making that phone call first. . . same back story for the individual; no phone call. . . then discovering no welcome at the table. Yikes.

    Glad to be a church Where Everyone is Welcome . . . .

  9. Barbara Snyder says:

    I also don’t think it’s a terrific idea to argue that Baptism is a barrier – because Baptism, after all, is a Sacrament, just like the Eucharist.

    Martin Luther said that when he despaired, he could always find strength in the thought, “I am baptized, and believe in Christ crucified!” Baptism, he said – not the Eucharist – was the one thing the church couldn’t ruin or manipulate. He said: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to the riches of His mercy has at least preserved this one sacrament in His Church uninjured and uncontaminated by the devices of men, and has made it free to all nations and to men of every class.” (

    IOW, Baptism is a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s not an obstacle, but a Sacrament and a mystery that’s available to anybody who asks for it, just as happened in the story of the Phillip and the Ethiopian. And then, in our Baptismal Rite, the whole community promises aloud to help and support the newly baptized in their life of faith – something that just doesn’t happen anywhere in the Communion Rite. People can be left to drift alone for months and years, without any real contact with the community, or any real support.

  10. Jaime Sanders says:

    How about a new canon, something like this?

    “The norm in this Church is for all baptized persons to be eligible to receive Holy Communion.”

    This would, I think, accurately express what has been done historically – no Episcopal Church checks baptism at the communion rail, but our expectation is that people who present themselves for communion have been baptized. But by stating it as a positive norm rather than a prohibition, we also allow for pastoral exceptions.

    Like all compromises, this would displease people on both sides of the debate, but maybe another bitter argument isn’t what we need just now?

    1. Alex Scott says:

      I’d be absolutely fine with something like that.

      Honestly, most of my opposition to removing the canon boils down to this: our Communion is already very open. All baptized Christians, regardless of denomination, are eligible to receive. For those who aren’t sure if they are baptized, we have conditional baptism in our prayer book. No one checks the rail, no one asks for certificates, no one wants to restrict the canon. It’s the honor system, basically; and as mentioned below, blessings are available for those who request them. It retains both the traditional sacramental teaching of the historical church while simultaneously living up to the all-embracing love of Christ.

      I think it’s essentially harmless, and I’m completely unconvinced it needs changing.

  11. Barbara Snyder says:

    I’m never sure why it isn’t considered welcoming to make the offer of a blessing available to everyone. When I’ve received a blessing instead of Communion (this has happened for a variety of reasons), I’ve always found it very comforting and sometimes very moving.

    To my way of thinking, it’s far more welcoming to offer a blessing than to invite people to partake in a religious ritual when they may have literally no idea even about the mechanics of it. I’ve been a chalicist in this situation, actually; once a young guy asked me, with a host in his hand and glancing at the chalice in mine as I approached, “What do I do?” He really didn’t have the first idea. We’ve all had the rite explained to us beforehand – or perhaps we’ve seen it before; he obviously hadn’t. And this doesn’t even get into the issue of whether or not it’s proper to involve people in a religious rite who may know nothing at all about it. I don’t think it is, myself; I mean, according to the rite we celebrate, the priest says things to the communicant, and the communicant responds. I surely don’t think it’s right to ask people to respond affirmatively to statements they haven’t had explained in any way to them – but that’s what’s in the rite.

    A blessing is very welcome. You have real contact with the person who gives it – they stop and talk to you for a minute – and you get a cross traced on your forehead sometimes. It’s lovely, and doesn’t demand anything of a person. I notice in Adrian Amaya’s invitation that the offer of a blessing has been left out completely – and that has been the case at many parishes that offer CROB, in my experience. Blessings are no longer offered – which is, to me, a shame.

  12. Judith Wood says:

    Jesus gave us two sacraments – Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. You take it from there. Enough said!

  13. Steve Marlow says:

    Anyone who has read Sara Miles of San Francisco, her books Take This Bread and Jesus Freak, will understand how necessary it is for any one, seeking Christ or not, to be welcome at the Communion Table. It was in an unplanned Communion participation activity that she “received” Jesus and is now a leading person at her Episcopal parish, and in the city of San Francisco.

    Yes, we need North American wide open communion access. Let God be the Judge and Jury.

  14. Edgar Wallace says:

    Open Communion does not diminish the importance or the sacramental grace of Baptism, nor does it diminish the importance and grace of Communion. I remember very clearly the day I was baptized. I was nine years old. I knew I wanted to give my life to Christ. It was a big day. I do not, on the other hand, remember the first time I received communion. From the time I was old enough to go and kneel at the rail next to my parents, I received Christ’s Body and Blood. Those Sundays were also big days for me. That was in another denomination. My point, however, is that we do not all come to the love and knowledge of God according to the same timetable. We don’t all receive the sacraments in the same order. Chronology is our issue, not God’s. God knows and loves us eternally. Jesus said “Whoever comes to me, I will never turn away.” My guess is that God brings some to seek baptism first, others to seek a blessing first, others to seek communion first.

  15. Julian Malakar says:

    Do we remember Jesus’ parable of Wedding Banquet for King’s son- Matt 22:1-14, where special guests were unable to attend due to busy- busy day? Later King invited all people at the street corners to attend King’s dinner table. Everybody came with joy and honor but many came without proper dress. We know the rest, that those who came without proper dress were thrown into darkness where they wept and gnashed teeth. For many are invited, but few are chosen.

    Likewise, Jesus invites all human beings from all corners of the world at His dinner table to eat and drink His Body and Blood until His second coming and asks us to repent every time we take His Body and Blood remembering His suffering at the cross for our sins so to refrain from doing again.

    If this is the true purpose of Holy Communion, what good wafer and wine would serve to persons who do not believe Christ’s crucifixion as in case of non-believer or partial believer such as Hindu, Muslims, atheists, etc.?

    Even to become citizens of America, applicants must fulfill some conditions before they enjoy privileges of being citizens.

  16. Father Mike Waverly-Shank says:

    In my opinion this debate is far too legalistic. My wife is a Pentecostal Christian. In the Church where she grew up Baptism is a matter of personal salvation. Participation in the other sacraments of the church is based on belief and church attendance. I find it fascinating that no one in this debate is mentioning the importance of Christian belief for the receiving of Holy Communion!

  17. Patricia Bailey Conway says:

    I write from another part of the world, where Christians are a very small minority. From my perspective, the nexus between Holy Communion and community is important. For most people who do not know Jesus Christ, his grace and love can only be glimpsed as they are reflected in the daily action of his people. In a community, how can we not know our brothers and sisters in Christ? Yes, of course, there are always strangers who come to the Lord’s table with us. Some of them move on, so that we never learn much about them or their journey in faith. Many more are with us, week after week, Sunday after Sunday. I have been in parishes where many parishioners made a vigorous effort NOT to get to know strangers. They had an attitude of ownership over their parishes, and they certainly did not want “different” people (odd, brown, Yankee, gay, etc.) in their company. I will never forget the shock of hearing, “We don’t want to see pickup trucks in the church parking lot on Sunday morning.” However, I have spent my life in parishes where everyone is welcome to the Lord’s table — and then to coffee in the kitchen, prayer in the rector’s study, and a variety of opportunities for fellowship and spiritual growth. Very soon, the stranger is no longer a stranger, and we have shared our confessions of faith, informally as well as formally. In such circumstances, the meaning of Holy Communion is clear.

    We live in a fractured and fragmented world; in my experience, most of the strangers on the parish doorstep have been baptized, but then somehow they have become alienated from a Christian community. Often, the stories they tell are of church authorities who put them outside the boundaries of their previous church community because of some rule: they married outside the church or they felt in some way rejected.

  18. Mark James says:

    I am theologically very liberal, but I don’t think this is the right way to go. If we want to give people Communion on the spot, then we should perform “emergency baptisms” right there at the altar rail. This is just another issue to divide people and drive people away, while we should be focusing on serving the poor and broken.

  19. Michael Gillum says:

    Christ Jesus died for all of God’s Creation once and for all, but it was a gift an incredible gift.

    Gifts need to be accepted to be what they are intended to be, and the person receiving the gift needs to understand what the gift is and what it’s for.

    Could the young lady at the beginning of the article not receive a blessing and then all the aid and comfort the church has to offer?

  20. Michael Gillum says:

    1 Corinthians 11:23-32 (NIV1984)
    23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
    27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

    From the Didache
    9:5 And let none eat or drink of your Eucharist but such as have been baptized into the name of the Lord, …

  21. Michael Gillum says:

    Whether in EFM discussions or around the table in the Coffee Rite do you ever get the impression that those early Christians who were closer to the Lord in time and space, and spiritually were just complete idiots?

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