The last event for 2011-2012 of the ‘In Joyful Hope’ initiative will be held on Wednesday 23 May at Fitzroy Presbyterian Church in Belfast.
In Joyful Hope was started in November 2010 by a group of clergy in and around Belfast who remain deeply concerned about the divisions among Christians that prevent them sharing full Eucharistic Communion with each other.
So far, events have rotated around Catholic, Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. People from these traditions (and perhaps others, of that I’m uncertain) have had the chance to observe each other’s communion/Eucharistic services – albeit without breaking ‘official’ church discipline by partaking at the services – as a testimony to the pain felt at their continued separation from each other.
I support these events and have attended several of them. I appreciate the way that they enact a prophetic stance about (what I see as) the absurdity of the prohibitions on shared Eucharist.
Why are we doing this?
- To surrender ourselves together to the Lord’s will as we share his prayer “Father, may they all be one.”
- To experience together the realisation that Christ is present among us in our various Christian churches.
- To be edified, inspired, encouraged by one another’s faith in the sacrament of Holy Communion/Eucharist.
- To anticipate in so far as we can the common Holy Communion/Eucharist we yearn for.