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Holy Communion


Holy Communion (con't.)

Presiding Ministers: Ordained Elders and Licensed Local Pastors

An ordained elder or a person authorized under the provisions of the Book of Discipline presides at all celebrations of Holy Communion.  While some portions of the order of worship may be led by others, an elder or authorized pastor leads the congregation in praying the Great Thanksgiving in which the whole assembly takes an active role.

Assisting Ministers: Deacons and Laity

Deacons are ordained to the ministry of word and service (BOD; ¶ 320) and charged to “give leadership in the Church’s life” in, among other ways, “assisting the elders in the administration of the sacraments” and “in the congregation’s mission to the world” (¶ 319).  In continuity with historic and ecumenical practice, the role of deacon in services of Word and Table appropriately includes reading the Gospel lesson; leading the concerns and prayers for the world, the church, and the needy; receiving the elements and preparing the table before the Great Thanksgiving; assisting the elder in serving the Communion elements; setting the table in order; and dismissing the people to serve before the elder offers God’s blessing.

All members of Christ’s universal church are, through their baptism, called to share in the Eucharistic ministry that is committed to the whole church (BOD; ¶ 219).  Lay people assist the presider in leading the whole congregation to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  Pastors and other leaders facilitate the full and active engagement of the ministry of all laity in celebrations of Holy Communion.  As part of this general liturgical ministry of all Christians, laypeople exercise leadership of worship by reading Scripture, leading prayers, preparing the table, providing and preparing the elements, distributing the elements, and helping with other parts of the service.

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Last revised on 25 October 2008