Lord’s Supper Policy
An Open Table
The Lord’s Supper / Holy Communion is a means of God’s grace and at the Lord’s Supper we remember Christ’s death for sinners. At Christ Church, we welcome to the Lord’s Table all who trust and love the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.
We welcome to the Lord’s Table children who trust and love the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, understand the meaning of the death of Christ and, having the consent of their parents, wish to share in the Communion.
The Bible (1 Cor 11:26-28) and the Church of England (the BCP exhortations) direct that all who want to receive the bread and the wine at the Lord’s Supper / Holy Communion must examine their lives. One of the following invitations may be used by the minister before Communion:
“The Scriptures teach that each of us who intend to eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord must examine our lives and repent of our sins. We must come to the Lord’s Table with a penitent heart and firm faith. Above all, we should come giving thanks to God for his love towards us in Christ Jesus.
You who truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are reconciled and at peace with your neighbours and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God and walking in his holy ways, draw near by faith, take this holy sacrament for your encouragement and make your humble confession to Almighty God.”
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” (1 Cor 11:26-28 TNIV)
Any who feel unable to receive the bread and the wine are welcome to come forward and receive a blessing or, if they prefer, to remain in their seats.
Refusing to give Communion
Christ’s gracious means of directing the affairs of the church requires the exercise of church discipline within the wider ministry. A part of church discipline is that, in some very rare circumstances, the clergy (and the Bishop) may refuse to give Communion as the final and ultimate way of exercising church discipline for those who are unrepentant (Matt 18:15-20; Canon B 16 of the Church of England).
The reasons for refusal are:
- continuing to hold and put forward false doctrines on central issues, like denial of the incarnation of Christ (2 John 7-11)
- ungodly and unrepentant behaviour, like sexual immorality (1 Cor 5:1-5) or
- having a persistently unloving and unrepentant attitude, like being divisive (Titus 3:9-11)
The purpose of refusal to give communion is loving; desiring the results that the offender should repent and be restored (2 Cor 2:5-10), the church may be protected from scandal and sin (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Cor 5:6-8), and God may be glorified (1 Cor 11:1).
Our Lord’s Supper Policy was re-endorsed by the Parochial Church Council on 15 April 2014