Continuing in Joyful Hope – Sharing Communion at Fitzroy Presbyterian, 23 May

imageThe 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.

The original flyer from 2010 describing the initiative had this to say:

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.

You can also read my previous blogs about In Joyful Hope:

Fr Gerry Reynolds on ‘In Joyful Hope: A New Step in Eucharistic Fellowship’

A New Step in Eucharistic Fellowship?

A New Step in Eucharistic Fellowship: Guest Post by Christine Dawson

Surprised by Ecumenism: Could In Joyful Hope Herald an Ecumenical Springtime?

A New Step in Eucharistic Fellowship: Feeling Hope and Shame at St Mark’s

One Response to Continuing in Joyful Hope – Sharing Communion at Fitzroy Presbyterian, 23 May

  1. Martin May 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Catholics believe that the bread and the wine, once consecrated by the Catholic priest, become the Body and Blood of Christ. The ‘Amen’ pronounced by the communicant says, ‘I believe it’. Protestants don’t believe in the Catholic EUcharist. Indeed, they hold that their own communion services feature only a symbol of Christ, and indeed that is what is is, since their ministers have no power to confect the Eucharist. Only those persons who are in Communion with the Church are able to receive the Eucharist. For those who do not believe, their ‘Amen’ is a pious lie.

    I wouldn’t receive communion in a Protestant church as I am not in communion with them, nor do I wish to betray my Eucharistic Lord by receivng what is only a mere symbol of Him.

    This is all about integrity and honesty. Only by being in communion with the Lamb can we receive His Body. Otherwise, shared communion becomes really a form of spiritual fornication. There is a great spiritual danger here, which is why the Catholic Church protects both the Blessed Sacrament from sacrilege, and the people from making a bad communion, either because they are not spiritually prepared (hence the Church instructs those not in a state of garce to avoid Holy Communion) or else because they are not actually Catholics.

    In all of this, it must be the will of God which reigns, and not the desired easy shortcuts of mere men who would take a ‘cheap grace’ approach to this most improtant of matters. The Blessed Eucharist cost Our Lord a lot in order to grant us so great a gift. All He asks is that we come into the Church which He has established. He has invited us…

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