For those of you who were not able to be present in worship with us last Sunday, I want to let you know about a bold change that we have committed ourselves to for the next 51 weeks. After much prayer and discernment, we will spend the next year celebrating the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper together every single week. You may we wondering why we are doing this, so I thought I would offer 3 quick reasons for this experiment:
1) I believe God has something great in store for Church of the Wayfarer in the near future. We already have so many wonderful things happening in the life of our congregation but I feel that God has even greater opportunities for our community of faith to grow and serve others in the next couple of years. Therefore, in order to embark on this journey of growth together we need to be well nourished, not just physically but spiritually as well. Communion is one of the “means of Grace” that helps provide us with this spiritual nourishment.
2) In order to provide the Sacrament for travelers, visitors and friends regardless of what week they grace us with their presence. Our tradition at Church of the Wayfarer has been to have communion on the first Sunday of each month. One of the issues with this is that we have visitors who come to our church every single week throughout the year. Many of these visitors only attend worship a few times each year and choose to be with us because Church of the Wayfarer has a special place in their heart. By providing communion every week, we ensure that even the most infrequent of church-goer can be exposed to this spiritually nourishing and life-transforming meal. It might even help them connect with God in a whole new way which leads to expanded church participation.
3) It is what our denominational founder would want us to do. John Wesley who began the movement that would lead to the Methodist Church instructed believers to practice the Sacrament of communion as frequently as possible. In fact, in his personal life, Wesley committed to having the sacrament at least twice a week. The reason that many congregations went to the once-a-month model was because they did not have full-time ordained clergy to preside over the table every Sunday. Here at Church of the Wayfarer, we have a presiding Elder (me) every week, therefore this is not an issue for us.
Now that I have given you some reasons for this change, let me provide you with a couple of commitments on my part as your pastor. First, I promise that we will not experience a significant change in the amount of time it takes for us to have our weekly worship service. I am making changes to my sermon length, scripture selections and music selections in order to keep worship to an appropriate length. Second, if after our year of doing this together we decide that the “once-a-month” model of communion fits our context better than the “every-week” model, I will support us returning to our long-held tradition.
If you have any questions about this change, please feel free to contact me. It is my continued hope that this year-long commitment will transform each one of us for the better!