The service: what is it about?
The morning service in each church is the Eucharist.
Eucharist is a Greek word which means thanksgiving, and it’s the name which Christians give to the service of Holy Communion, when we share bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus.
The shape of the service is that of a celebratory meal – the priest greets everyone and welcomes them (The Gathering).
There is a time to think quietly about hurts and wrongs since people last gathered together (The Confession). Then we read passages from the Bible and reflect on them in a sermon, or talk, just as people might tell stories of what’s been happening, or remember those who couldn’t be here, so we pray for them (The Ministry of the Word).
The table is set, food and wine are presented, and there’s a monetary collection – a kind of thank-you gift (The Offertory).
The service reaches its high point in The Great Thanksgiving when the priest thanks God for all his gifts, and especially his gift of Jesus Christ. The priest prays for the Holy Spirit to come upon the bread and wine, so that it becomes the body and blood of Christ – a way of Christians receiving him into their very being. It’s what the church calls The Ministry of the Sacrament, when something physical and material becomes a means of conveying a spiritual quality or grace, a way of God making himself present among us today as he made himself present among us all those centuries ago as Jesus Christ.
Finally the service ends with The Sending Out – a blessing and commissioning, to take the grace we have received out into the world.
At the main morning Eucharist, there will be hymns and various parts of the service will be led by members of the congregation. The clergy’s robes and the cloth on the altar or holy table will be made of beautiful fabrics to remind us of the beauty of God. The chalice and paten – the cup and plate – are made of precious metals for the same reason – we give God the best we can, as a sign of his worth, what he means to us.
To receive the bread and wine, you need to have been confirmed, or be a member of another church where you would usually receive communion. If you would like to know more about confirmation, please contact one of the clergy.