by Emily Ralph, firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year, followers of Jesus around the world join together in remembering his death and resurrection through the act of communion. World Communion Sunday is a celebration marking that through his death, Jesus broke down the wall of hostility between people groups and that through his resurrection, Christ formed a new family of disciples world-wide.
Whether wearing clothes from countries around the world, as they did at Plains in Hatfield, Pa., or sharing a spaghetti dinner with the church down the street, as they did at Ripple in Allentown, Pa., Franconia Conference congregations spent October 2nd remembering this holy communion with the world-wide church.
“This remains one of my favorite services of the year,” said Sharon Ambrose, a member of Swamp (Quakertown, Pa.). “I find it so meaningful to celebrate with Christians around the world.” In addition to sharing communion bread from other countries and reading Scripture in multiple languages, Swamp’s service focused on expanding circles of concern from the congregation to the world, both locally and globally.
At Nueva Vida Norristown New Life, Pastor Marta Castillo also encouraged her congregation to evaluate how their actions affected believers around the world. “On World Communion Sunday,” she said, “we need to think about how we commune with the Body of Christ that is hungry . . . with the Body of Christ that is persecuted. . . with the Body of Christ that are immigrants.”
Souderton (Pa.) Mennonite Church celebrated with the theme of hospitality from Acts 2, which describes how the early church worshiped and ate together, sharing their possessions. The congregation used a braided bread of different colors to remind them that people from many nations were celebrating the Lord’s Supper with them. As members of the congregation approached the communion tables, they were joined on the big screen by photos of people celebrating communion around the world.
Ambler celebrated more than World Communion Sunday—the congregation also hosted a regional CROP walk to end hunger that afternoon. Ambler’s preschoolers mixed and bagged trail mix for those who would be “praying on their feet” and, with issues of global hunger on their minds, the congregation worshiped around tables. On each table was a cut-out of the earth with facts and quotes about the condition of the world printed on it, said Pastor Donna Merow. “These became part of our silent confession as we prepared for Communion,” she reflected. “We served one another [around the tables] and then enjoyed an international meal together before heading out to walk to raise funds for global relief efforts.”
On World Communion Sunday and throughout the rest of the year, we are being formed as Jesus-followers, joining God’s world-wide mission to invite all people to participate in God’s kingdom. “Marking this day gives us an invitation to remember our sisters and brothers in places far from us,” said Samantha Lioi, associate pastor at Whitehall Mennonite. “Hearing scripture in three languages and being asked to choose from a variety of breads reminds us we are sojourners as Jesus was, not quite at home but creating welcome places wherever we pitch our tents.”