THE HOLY EUCHARIST
At the center of our worship life together is the celebrating and sharing of communion, also known as Holy Communion or Holy Eucharist. On the night before Jesus died, he gave a simple command that his followers should break bread and share a cup of wine in memory of him. He gave this common act a new and holy meaning by connecting the offering he would make the next day for the sake of the world: “This is my body which is given for you. This is my blood which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Episcopalians recognize Christ’s presence in a special and real way in the consecrated bread and wine, and understand that God’s healing and empowering grace is present as we receive communion.
Baptism and Holy Communion
Holy Communion may be taken after one is baptized. Since baptism is full initiation into the Body of Christ, it is appropriate to receive Holy Communion at the same liturgy, as a celebration and a ratification of the newly-baptized’s new identity as a member of the church. In Holy Communion, no distinction is made between a baptized adult and a baptized infant. All baptized persons, whether adult or child, are fully initiated Christians and so have the right to receive Holy Communion. It is the Church’s joy to share the Eucharist with all her members. In particular, it is appropriate for baptized infants and young children to take communion. It is as normal for them to receive the extraordinary food from the table of God’s family as it is for them to receive the ordinary food from the table of their human family. However, consultation between the priest and the parents is encouraged in order to determine the most appropriate practice for your family.
Communion at St. Stephen’s
At St. Stephen’s, all who love God and seek Christ are invited to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. Those who are exploring Christianity often refrain from taking communion until they are ready to receive the sacrament of Baptism. If you are unsure whether it is time for you to receive communion, the clergy would be glad to discuss this with you.
Since baptism is the full initiation in the body of Christ and the Christian community, both children and adults are welcome and encouraged to receive communion. Orientation and instruction is offered during baptismal preparation, through our children’s education program, and in a special Communion Class for adults offered yearly.
Our Acolytes - Young people play an important role in our Sunday Worship Service, adding for all of us a special touch to our Worship, while at the same time increasing their personal understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist.
Starting around age 6 they have an opportunity to serve as Acolytes, assisting in the service by carrying the Processional Cross, lighting and extinguishing the candles, receiving the offering, and holding the Bible at the reading of the Gospel. During Communion they assist the Priest and Deacons in the presentation of bread and wine.
They receive training by coordinator, Karen Winston, assisted by several volunteer moms and older girls who help train and mentor the younger ones.
Intercessory Healing Prayers
During communion at the 10:15am service, you are welcome to go to the Healing Station for intercessory prayers of healing for yourself or for another.
An Invitation to the Lord’s Table
The Eucharist is the sign of our unity in Christ, in communion with Christ and with one another. Therefore it is the practice of the Episcopal Church to invite all baptized Christians, of whatever faith tradition, to share Holy Communion with us. This practice does not ignore the sad disagreements that divide Christ’s Church, but it affirms that our unity, by virtue of baptism, is greater than any apparent division. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism — one Body of Christ.
The Holy Eucharist is normally celebrated at St. Stephen’s on Saturday evenings (5:00pm), twice on Sundays (8:00am, 10:15am), on Wednesdays (7:00pm), and at other times as announced. Eucharistic bread and wine which have been sacramentally blessed are reserved in this church, so that they may be carried to the sick and to any others who cannot be present for the Eucharistic celebration in the church.
Who to Contact
If you are interested in Eucharist at home or hospital, please contact one of the clergy:
The Rev. Bill Osborne, Rector firstname.lastname@example.org