About Holy Communion...Receiving Communion at St. James
At St. James, the service of Holy Communion (also known as Holy Eucharist or the Lord's Supper) is our most important act of worship together. This follows the practice of the earliest Church, and we invite all baptized persons to join us. If you are not baptized, please come forward and receive a blessing. If you would like to be baptized, please speak with the Vicar.
When it is time to receive the bread and wine, please come forward to the altar rail. If you observe how others line up, you will know when it is your turn to go forward. You may stand or kneel at the altar rail as you are able. We will also be glad to bring the bread and wine to you in your pew if you have mobility issues. Please alert an usher if this is your desire.
At the altar rail, place your hands flat, and in a cruciform shape, palms up, as pictured below. The minister will say the words of administration, which often are, “The Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven” or some variation thereof. Your response is “Amen.” You can bow your head or choose to make eye contact. Lift your hand to your mouth (not using your fingers to hold the bread), and receive. Many people make the sign of the cross before receiving each kind (bread and wine). Others make the sign of the cross after receiving both kinds. This is not a rule, it is a custom you may observe or not as you wish.
Next, a chalice bearer will approach with the cup of wine. This is where you need to be ready. If you do not wish to receive the wine ( we use real wine), just cross your arms across your chest as pictured below. As they approach, put out your hands to guide the chalice to your lips, and drink. The chalice bearer holds the chalice with you, so that neither of you spills the wine. Allow the chalice bearer to take the cup back from you. The chalice bearer will say the words of administration, which often are, “The Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation.” Your response is “Amen.” What about dipping the bread? This is called intinction. If you choose to do this, you receive the bread as stated above. Then you take the bread between your fingers, and dip slightly into the wine, and placing it in your mouth. Those who are not baptized, or who are not going to receive, can come forward to receive a blessing. If you would like to do so, cross your arms as pictured below.
Baptized children are welcomed to receive communion in most churches, but in some they take a preparation class before first communion. No parent is required to allow their child to receive. If your children are not baptized, or will not be receiving, they can receive a blessing, by crossing their arms as pictured above.
After you have received, follow the others back to your seat. Most folks will then pray silently, or sing. Please let us know if you have any questions. Better yet, please feel free to ask someone at church. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to guide you.. and , finally, welcome to St. James!
Adpt. From Greg Goebel