An Open Table

My Home Communion Set

At my first stewards meeting I wanted to discuss communion with them. I asked them the following question…

“What does Holy Communion mean to you”

I listened to their understanding on communion. The majority of my church members are African and Caribbean which means they like people to receive communion when confirmed. I shared my theological understanding on Holy Communion i.e. open table which means you don’t have to be a church member to receive communion. We had a fantastic theological conversation which lasted 30 minutes.

Methodism inherited from John and Charles Wesley a devout appreciation of Holy Communion as a divinely appointed means of grace. Methodism is inclusive and diverse, and the importance of Holy Communion reflects this by inviting all people to the Lord’s Supper that Wesley believed was a converting ordinance.

Dean writes ‘Methodism’s Arminian theology lends a distinctive character to its Christian faith and its outworking in the world.’[1] This emphasises that the two sacraments within the Methodist Church are key aspects of the denomination because it connects people to God’s saving grace

The Four All’s of Methodism:

  1. All need to be saved
  2. All can be saved
  3. All may know themselves to be saved
  4. All may be completely saved

‘These were not written by John Wesley, but used later to summarise his teaching and his view what Jesus has done for us’ –  The Methodist Church, Compass, exploring Christian faith together(London: Methodist Publishing, 2013), p.69

I believe having an open table is really important especially in the 21st century because people are desperate to be loved. For some people doors are closed on them because of the label they carry, but we can say that we believe in an open table and that ‘all are welcome’. God looks beyond a label and sees a person made in his image.

The stewards meeting agreed the following…

  • ‘All’ can have communion
  • Children can have communion, but it’s down the the individual and the parent.
  • Minister and communion steward will drink from the glass like everyone else.

It was good to have a theological conversation at my first stewards meeting because sometimes we forget the reason why we do it.

The next day…

Communion went well and people accepted the changes.

One church member said to me afterwards…

“Imagine inviting guests for a meal, but only you had the silver cup. It wouldn’t be welcoming. Therefore I like the changes made”

Three young people approached me asking to be confirmed. I think next year we’ll be doing youth confirmation classes.

The stewards meeting taught me that we need to be honest with each other.

‘So in Christ we who are many are one body’ – Romans 12:5


[1]J. Dean, Unmasking Methodist Theology: A Way Forward, p.222.