M005 All Are Welcome at the Table
Text of Resolution
Resolved, That this 111th Convention of the Diocese of Northern California adopts the following resolution and hereby directs the Secretary of this Convention to forward this resolution to the Secretary of General Convention of The Episcopal Church as a duly authorized resolution from this Diocese; and be it further
Resolved, That the Diocese of Northern California requests that 80th General Convention repeal CANON I.17.7 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church (2018 Revision, page 88), which states: “No unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church.”
Text of Explanation
Repealing this Canon will remove the Episcopal Church’s barrier that excludes unbaptized persons from being able to receive a Holy Meal. Please consider:
- The Episcopal Church is known for welcoming all to attend services.
- According to the Gospels, during the last supper Jesus made no mention of the requirement for recipients of bread and wine, taken in remembrance of Him, to be baptized.
- It is uncomfortable to visualize Jesus turning anybody away who desires to remember Him.
- The Holy Eucharist described in the Catechism section of the Book of Common Prayer (1979) makes no mention of baptism being a prerequisite for receiving communion (page 859).
- Baptism is a vital part of being a Christian, but not, according to the Gospels, a prerequisite for partaking in the Holy Meal.
- The Episcopal Church has removed many barriers that were not consistent with the teachings of Jesus.
- This removes the presumed requirement for the person delivering the Holy Meal to assure the recipient has been baptized.
- This could help grow congregations by reducing the number of visitors who do not return because they felt excluded during communion.
There is no fiscal impact, but offerings could increase if congregations grow.