(Christian Century Blogs) Amy Frykholm–The morning communion rush

Since the New Year, I’ve been stopping at the Chicago Temple on Wednesday mornings for communion. For at least 40 years, this downtown United Methodist church has offered communion to city dwellers and commuters during the morning rush. At 7:30, Phil Blackwell–who inherited the tradition–consecrates the elements with whomever happens to be in the room at the moment. For the next 90 minutes, communion and a simple prayer are offered for anyone who walks in.

The communion, offered without a traditional liturgy, could very well have an “express lane” feel. When I first heard about this communal rite, I wondered: theologically, what is communion absent community? Culturally, why do I and others imagine we don’t have time for liturgy? Ecclesiastically, what is communion that is all take (on my part) and no give?

But Blackwell and associate pastors Claude King and Wendy Witt all say the early-morning communion is a personal highlight of their ministries….

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Eucharist, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

6 comments on “(Christian Century Blogs) Amy Frykholm–The morning communion rush

  1. Aidenwood says:

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  2. Milton says:

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  3. Ian+ says:

    It’s still drive-through communion. And if it’s simply a matter of grabbing a bit of Jesus on the run, then it’s little more than magic in the minds of participants. The ancient liturgies are structured they way they are for a very good reason, and we participate in them on God’s time, not on the fly.

  4. Yebonoma says:

    I would also note that the vast majority of UMC churches practice Communion of the unbaptized and unbelieving. The usual invitation statement is based on “all are welcome at table.” Current UMC theology seems to feel that Communion before belief and baptism somehow enhances prevenient grace and helps lead one to a confession of faith. Also, the emphasis in the UMC is not on the body and blood of Christ, but more that everybody, especially the “marginalized and the least of these” is gathering around to be “at table” for a celebratory meal.

    I just loved having to tear off a piece of a broken loaf of bread and then wait for the three year old next to me while he stuck his hand in the cup to fish out the piece of bread he had just dropped in it. All in all I found only a small minority of UMC churches to be very reverential about Communion, and I’ve been in close to a hundred of them.

  5. Ryan Danker says:

    This is disturbing. The full article is so full of mis-information, that it boggles my mind that Christian Century would even publish it.
    Firstly, the United Methodist Church through its official publication on the Eucharist, “These Holy Mysteries,” explicitely condemns drive-thru communion services. A good reporter would have at least looked that up. As usual, the good people at the Chicago Temple are in contempt of their own doctrine. Secondly, John Wesley did not simply say to his America-bound missionaries “offer them Christ” and have at it! He sent along a revision of the Book of Common Prayer! In fact, the “offer them Christ” line comes from a modern painting of Wesley sending these missionaries to their ship and promoted extensively by the UMC’s Board of Discipleship. Unfortunately, this event never took place. At the time that these men set sail, Wesley was twenty or more miles away. This article leaves so much to be desired.

  6. Yebonoma says:

    Ryan D – for an interesting exercise sometime, take the COE Book of Common Prayer (of TEC 1928 Prayer Book) and check it against the Book of Discipline. You’ll find that there are less than 39 Articles of Religion in the Book of Discipline. Wesley conveniently deleted the ones he didn’t like such as Predestination.