Lord's Supper

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF EUCHARISTIC PREACHING FOR FACILITATING EXPERIENCES OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN WORSHIP

Author
Miles Anson Hanbury D.Min.
Abstract
This project seeks to address the problem of a lack of experiencing the presence of God in church services by exploring the history and theology of God’s presence in worship and constructing a four-week sermon series at Christ Church, Lake Forest, IL aimed at helping people invite, expect, and experience the presence of God in worship. Drawing on data from eighteen research participants, several key lessons were learned about ways church leaders can modify worship services to engage congregants more deeply. Among them are creating quiet space for reflection, giving explicit permission to engage God, and giving various opportunities to engage God.

The food of God for the people of God : reconnecting food to the Eucharist

Author
David Ryan Boes
Abstract
There is an old saying that “you are what you eat.” But I think it goes further than that. We aren’t just defined by what we eat but who we eat with, where we eat, and how we eat. All of it says something about us. Food is cultural as well as biological—it’s spiritual as well as physical. Food is a ritual, communal, and relational act. All living things are part of what we call the food chain: all things are eating or being eaten. For Christians, the Table of the Lord, the Eucharist, should be the height of our eating. It is the apex of our interaction with food. At the Table, we enter the mystery of provision as we are fed by our good and gracious Father.

However, many of us have lost this connection of table to Table. The Western diet has stolen our diverse and bountiful diet and replaced it with the tepid slop of a fast food nation. Our theology of the Eucharist as been boiled down to individual memorialism of Jesus’ death, instead of a robust and hearty theology of remembrance, communion and hope.

So how might we go about reconnecting table to Table? I started with scripture where the Apostle Paul reminds the Church about its identity at the Table and how every table that we gather around forms us. Then I followed this thread through the theology of John Calvin to discover this connection within the Reformed tradition. Additionally, I use the voice of Jean-Jaques von Allmen to demonstrate how every meal that we eat is the prelude to and an echo of the meal that we eat at the Table of our Lord. Finally, I invite the gathered Church and households to engage in some practices of reconnection.

OPEN WOUND, OPEN TABLE: A THEOLOGICAL EXPLORATION OF HOLY COMMUNION AS PRACTICED BY THE BORDER CHURCH/LA IGLESIA FRONTERIZA

Author
Seth David Clark D.Min.
Abstract
This study explores the Border Church, which worships across the San Diego-Tijuana border fence at Friendship Park, and how its weekly bi-national, bilingual, nonsectarian communion service, intersects with the lived realities of its borderlands congregants. Through participant-witness ethnography of my congregation and five semi-structured, open-ended interviews, I examine how God is experienced in Christian practices, especially communion, at the border wall. I conclude that borderlands experiences are not monolithic, which counters false groupings of and “othering” tropes about migrants, deportees, and activists. I also theologize about unity amid division and how to make the bread of the table even more open.

Eucharist as a means of grace for church visioning : recovery of Wesleyan ecclesiology's eschatological aspect of the Eucharist

Author
Marian Sams-Crane
Abstract
This project suggested a new approach to address the challenge of developing a church vision. Drawing upon Wesleyan ecclesiology, the author suggested sharing a basic overview for understanding the eschatological aspect of the Eucharist and applying the experience of the Eucharist at the start of meetings to inspire the development of a church vision in the ensuing meetings. Data from initial surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, and observations evidenced some positive effects on the amount of visioning that church leaders experienced. While further study is needed to be conclusive, the author affirmed the potential for this new approach to church visioning.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Celebrating Communion Why Youth Aren't Hungering to Come to the Lord's Table

Author
Cheryl A Carson
Abstract
This project proposes that many church-attending Christian youth find the sacrament of the Lord's Supper irrelevant and lifeless. The reasons for this disconnect are investigated and imaginative liturgical strategies are sought to help youth passionately engage in communion. Basic qualitative, narrative analysis, and quantitative research were utilized. Data was collected through personal interviews and focus group interviews. The results show that youth generally find communion routine and done so frequently as to be commonplace. However, the findings also reveal that these adolescents are indeed hungering to participate in communion with and experience the presence of the risen Lord.

One bread ... one body strengthening pastoral leaders through communion

Author
Leah S Hidde-Gregory
Abstract
This paper researched the impact of clergy gathering sacramentally for peer support and clergy development as a means of increasing effectiveness and reducing isolation. Sacramental groups comprised of clergy from various education and ordination levels were developed to build community using a Eucharistic ritual template to improve clergy effectiveness and wholeness, increase connectionalism, reduce clergy isolation, and offer support needed to effectively minister to the changing communities within the district. Clergy gathered monthly around a meal, celebrated Holy Communion, and the sharing of ideas and best practices. The analysis of self assessments, supervisory evaluations, interviews, and observations, clergy effectiveness showed some improvement and the factors measuring isolation was greatly reduced.

Weekly Celebration of the Eucharist and Missions

Author
Thomas E Hoeke
Abstract
This project studied the impact that weekly celebration of communion had on missional practices of a small group of eleven participants within a United Methodist congregation. Using an impact study, attitudes towards communion and missions were measured before and after a six-week period of weekly celebration of communion in worship and three mission experiences of the small group. Results of the study indicate that individual disciples are motivated to be the hands and feet of Christ when they participate in communion as part of their weekly worship.

Stirring grace the spirituality of the culinary arts

Author
Robert Melnick
Abstract
From the birth of Christianity, family dinner has provided a steady immersion into Eucharistic spirituality. However as fewer families regularly cook and eat together, this vital link between the feast around the kitchen table and the Eucharistic banquet has been weakened. Using a small group format, this parish-based project provides an antidote for this troubling situation through a program to highlight the spiritual potency of preparing meals and dining in common. By confirming the sacred dignity of cooking, the program helps participants to recognize their work in the kitchen as a significant expression of their baptismal call to their ministry.

Can a Theology of Table Bring Healing and Reconciliation in a Wounded African American Congregation

Author
Patricia A Efion
Abstract
Hurt, anger, and woundedness have long been present in church communities, causing divisions within the church for centuries. This project predicts that by studying the scriptures and the liturgy for Holy Communion church members will develop a theology of table defined as an understanding of Holy Communion that arises out of a profound vision of who Jesus is, his sacrifice for humanity and his commandment to come to the table in remembrance of him. It further predicts that putting that theology into action by hosting a meal for those with whom they are in conflict, healing and reconciliation will take place.

Developing a ministry of extended communion to shut-ins and nursing home residents at the First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame, California

Author
Deborah K Concklin
Abstract
This project sought to serve those who are physically unable to attend church by offering Home Communion in their homes or care facilities. Seven two-person teams composed of church officers carried the consecrated elements directly to the shut-ins each Communion Sunday. In this way, we not only hoped to give our recipients the joy of worship and visitation but also the consolation of knowing they are cared for by their church. The purpose of this project was tri-fold: it endeavored to build personal intimacy with Christ, intimacy with Christ in community, and service beyond the confines of the church.
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