By Mark A. Taylor
As we finished this issue in the final days of August, we continued to hear news about Great Communion celebrations planned for October 4 in community after community.
“We started planning for the Great Communion in 2005,” Glenn Carson, president of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society, wrote. “And what we expected from the beginning is now occurring.” Many have posted details about their celebrations at www.greatcommunion.org.
Yet we’ve also received notes from some who have searched in vain for a Great Communion service in their area. “I am profoundly disappointed that nothing is happening close to me,” one reader wrote.
Even though we have been talking about Great Communion for more than a year, we understand if some have missed it. In our nondenominational fellowship, there’s no hierarchy to guarantee that everyone gets all the news all the time.
To those who are just now realizing that 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address, we have just one message: “You’re not too late!”
Some will receive this issue of CHRISTIAN STANDARD ahead of the cover date and will still be able to plan a Great Communion observance on the designated Sunday, October 4. Some will decide simply to take a few minutes in their morning worship service to remind worshipers why Thomas Campbell’s ideals are still important in our time.
Some will decide to host a Great Communion service later this year. That’s great! Each community is planning its own celebration to meet its own needs and to fit its own way of doing things. That can include the date as well as the other details. The Great Communion Web site (mentioned above) is rich with resources for the service you’ll plan. Find other CHRISTIAN STANDARD articles on this subject via the Search box on our Web site.
And this special issue provides great background for your event planners. Paul Blowers, for example, makes a stellar case for observing Great Communion. As he says, a watching world questions or ignores a message of love and mercy from alienated groups of Christians who won’t worship or even talk together. And Scripture presents Christian unity as a fact, not an option.
Great Communion is only a step, but it can be an important step in bringing believers together who too long have stayed isolated from each other.
We’re eager to publish reports of your Great Communion celebration in our magazine and on our Web site. Please let us know how your event lifted up Christ and built bonds among believers where you live (send them to firstname.lastname@example.org). Your report may encourage others to try something similar before this year is finished.