By Mark A. Taylor
Someone wrote as we were planning this issue to ask, “Who’s in charge of the Great Communion service in our community?”
She may not have been expecting the answer: “YOU are!”
That’s the beauty—and the challenge—of the Great Communion idea. This Sunday next year it will happen in community after community as leaders in cities, towns, and villages plan and promote it.
The ideas on page 7 this week can help you get started. They’re only a part of the Web site (greatcommunion.org) with resources for the Great Communion celebration you’ll lead. You’ll find the suggestions there helpful, but you already know how to lead a Communion service.
The unique vision for this Communion service is the added symbolism behind it. Two centuries after Thomas Campbell wrote Declaration and Address, a catalyst for a whole unity movement, the heirs of that movement find themselves divided. We can understand many of the reasons for that division. But we can never settle for it.
A Great Communion service can be a powerful statement that the participants want first and most to make Christ Lord. That’s the basis for experiencing unity. Other discussions can follow, but joining with other Christ followers to remember the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection is an idea that attracts and strengthens all of us.
Already Christians from Oregon to Pennsylvania have contacted us to say they’re anticipating their observance. We want to hear about the Great Communion plans where you are! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail them to our street address below. We’ll share your plans here and on our Web site to encourage others as they plan their Great Communion service.
And please remember the need we mentioned in this space August 3: “This project, coordinated by the Disciples of Christ Historical Society, requires a modest budget that is already overspent.” I’ve already sent a check to help erase the shortfall, and I encourage you and your church to do the same. (Gifts marked “Bicentennial Celebration” can be sent to Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1101 19th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee 37212.)
As Doug Foster says this week, Great Communion is a great opportunity! It’s not too soon to decide how you and your church will express and experience it.