Holy Communion by Extension

Holy Communion by Extension

One of the things that Christian people who have spent a lifetime receiving Holy Communion find hardest is the time when they can no longer get along to their church for a service. They need to go into a home setting where they can be supported but the downside is that they lose the previous contact they had with their church and friends in the congregation. These days, where resources are evermore stretched, there are fewer ordained priests to be able to go into homes and to celebrate a service of Holy Communion, and so it is possible that residents may no longer be able to receive it.

However, the Church of England makes provision for this in what is known as ‘communion by extension’. What happens is that a priest consecrates enough bread and wine at the altar in a local church and then, immediately afterwards, an authorised lay minister is enabled to take the sacrament with them and to lead a form of the Holy Communion service in a home setting. In the first quarter of 2010 the church at St. Andrew’s Shottery responded to a request from Briar Croft to do just this. Some of the residents, who were former members of St. Andrew’s, asked for a well crafted Order of Service of Holy Communion by Extension to be prepared. The Vicar got busy with his computer and a service with prayers, readings and provision for hymns was created.


One of the key moments in the service comes before the exchange of The Peace when the minister reminds those about to receive that they are linked with ‘our brothers and sisters at St. Andrew’s who have celebrated the Eucharist.’ Thus, a vital line of communication is maintained with the wider church and this sense that they remain a valued part of the Body of Christ is very important to the residents. St. Andrew’s is very glad to be able to offer this as an aspect of reaching out beyond the walls of the church building and as part of its programme of pastoral and spiritual care in the community.                                          

 

                       


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