COMMUNION– WHAT UNITED METHODIST BELIEVES……
Each local United Methodist church determines how often to serve communion. Many churches celebrate communion once a month, often on the first Sunday. Communion is also celebrated on special days of the year, such as Christmas and Easter. There has gradually been a move toward more frequent celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Some United Methodist churches now celebrate the Lord’s Supper every week.
The table of Holy Communion is Christ’s table, not the table of The United Methodist Church or of the local congregation. The table is open to anyone who seeks to respond to Christ’s love and to lead a new life of peace and love, as the invitation to the table says. Our Book of Worship says, “All who intend to lead a Christian life, together with their children, are invited to receive the bread and cup. We have no tradition of refusing any who present themselves desiring to receive” (page 29). This statement means that in practice there are few, if any, circumstances in which a United Methodist pastor would refuse to serve the elements of Holy Communion to a person who comes forward to receive. By Water and the Spirit affirms: “Because the table at which we gather belongs to the Lord, it should be open to all who respond to Christ’s love, regardless of age or church membership. The Wesleyan tradition has always recognized that Holy Communion may be an occasion for the reception of converting, justifying, and sanctifying grace.”
Yes, our church does not seek to close God’s Table, although the historic and normal Christian order of the sacraments is baptism first – as birth into the family – and communion following, as continuing nurture at the family table. Pastors and congregations reach out and encourage those who partake at the Table to share fully in the life of God’s people, including coming to the font after appropriate preparation. (Read more FAQs About Baptism, Membership, and Salvation) By Water and the Spirit: A United Methodist Understanding of Baptism “Because the table at which we gather belongs to the Lord, it should be open to all who respond to Christ’s love, regardless of age or church membership. The Wesleyan tradition has always recognized that Holy Communion may be an occasion for the reception of converting, justifying, and sanctifying grace. Unbaptized persons who receive communion should be counseled and nurtured toward baptism as soon as possible.” This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion “Non-baptized people who respond in faith to the invitation in our liturgy will be welcomed to the Table. They should receive teaching about Holy Baptism as the sacrament of entrance into the community of faith– needed only once by each individual– and Holy Communion as the sacrament of sustenance for the journey of faith and growth in holiness– needed and received frequently.”
In The United Methodist Church, children are welcome to receive communion. Our Book of Worship explains, “All who intend to lead a Christian life, together with their children, are invited to receive the bread and cup.” umc.org/what is communion