Come to the Table: A Reflection on the Practice of Open Communion at St. Benedict's Table

2008, 76 pp
Over the past few decades it has become increasingly common in Anglican parishes to see printed in the Sunday leaflet some sentence such as “All baptized Christians are welcome to receive communion.” While some parishes have quietly dropped the word “baptized,” or even the phrase “baptized Christians,” from the leaflet’s invitational sentence, in most instances there has been a lack of deeper theological reflection on the meaning of this shifting practice.

As James Farwell observes in his essay “Baptism, Eucharist, and the Hospitality of Jesus,” “A handful of high-profile parishes, in conscientious defiance of the canons of the Episcopal Church that restrict communion to the baptized, have undertaken the practice and inspired a number of parishes to do the same.” While one can make a coherent case that organizational change and development are often sparked through local practice and innovation, this only makes sense - and only has integrity - if that innovation is shared and reflected upon openly and widely.

This book represents an invitation to reflect on the experience of one worshipping community which, from its beginnings, has practiced open table. Along with the conventional theological and biblical sources, I will draw on the experiences of our community members, reflected both in written responses to a simple question - “How would you describe your experience of the practice of ‘open table’ at saint benedict’s table?” - and in the lyric content of music written for use in worship. In this study, the writers of lyrics are credited by name, while responses to the question are followed by the initials of the respondent.
TopicUnderstanding Communion
PublisherSaint Benedict's Table

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