Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the General Convention of The Episcopal Church instruct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music study the practice of open communion as it prepares to undertake the revision of the Book of Common Prayer 1979.
As recorded in Scripture, Holy Communion is the first sacrament. On the night before he died, Jesus commanded his disciples to share the Lord’s Supper “in remembrance of me." Later, after his Resurrection, Jesus then sent his disciples to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Holy Communion and Holy Baptism are both sacraments instituted by our Lord; both are avenues of God’s abundant grace.
Many parishes in the Episcopal Church are currently practicing open communion. They believe that welcoming all people to the table allows us to be instruments of that grace. Many of those who come to our churches have no previous experience in a faith community but are responding to our promise that “The Episcopal Church welcomes you.” They come hungry for that sense of welcome and belonging. Denying them a place at the Lord’s Table denies the very desire that drew them through our doors, denies the “radical welcome” that Jesus extended to everyone. If they feel welcomed into our worshiping congregations, newcomers to the faith will be more likely to seek Holy Baptism.
The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music should take the time to thoroughly study this practice as they prepare to revise the Book of Common Prayer 1979.
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