Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! We have been invited to consider the following question: Who is welcome and invited to receive Holy Communion in ELCA congregations?
The recommended practice in our church is that people who are baptized are invited to receive Holy Communion. Though this is the practice set out in the ELCA’s statement, “The Use of the Means of Grace“, there is wide variety of practice in this church.
Now the ELCA Church Council is calling all ELCA members into a conversation about “The Use of the Means of Grace”, particularly on this matter of invitation to Holy Communion. Your leadership in engaging your congregation, synod or faith community and colleagues in this conversation will be critical to our church as we seek to be faithful and grounded, yet hospitable and mission-minded in administering Holy Communion.
I encourage you to engage members, ministry participants and colleagues in thoughtful study on this matter, whether it’s by facilitating a small group study, workshop or an adult education series in the upcoming program year. Resources to guide your conversations are now available atwww.ELCA.org/worship, including:
- A brief explanation of the need for this conversation
- Diverse perspectives, offered by Lutheran authors
- Our church’s current statement on the practice of word and sacrament, “The Use of the Means of Grace“
- An adaptable study guide for use in a variety of settings
- Other support resources
Will you find ways for this important conversation to happen in your congregation, synod or faith community and among your colleagues?
Please share the thoughts, ideas and concerns emerging from your conversations with the churchwide organization’s worship team by emailing[email protected] by May 2015. Your feedback will be reviewed by the worship team and shared with the ELCA Church Council for future direction.
Thank you for your faithful leadership and for the ways you will help members of this church to prayerfully consider the question of whom we invite and welcome to receive Holy Communion.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America