LAY EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS:
HOLY COMMUNION FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT ATTEND WORSHIP
The second-century Christian convert and theologian Justin Martyr (martyred in Rome about 165 A.D.) wrote about the gathering of believers on Sundays and noted that at the end of the service, the remains of the Eucharistic meal were shared with sisters and brothers who had been absent from worship. Deacons, the helpers who “served at tables” and performed works of mercy, often were assigned this task. Sharing the consecrated bread and wine in this way represented the breadth and the unity of Christ’s Body, the Church.
On the first Sunday of each month, Eucharistic ministers at Kountze Memorial continue this ancient tradition, carrying the Lord’s Supper from the service to those who are homebound or who reside in care facilities. A group of about 40 individuals and couples have been trained for this ministry. Each month, they visit one or two people with the renewing and healing power of the Bread of Life.
The Holy Communion is not only communion with Christ, but also an expression of the Communion of Saints, that is, a tie with fellow members of Kountze Memorial and, indeed, with the saints of every time and place. Eucharistic ministers are not just from the church; together with the two or three who are gathered, they are the church. In addition, the visit provides opportunity for personal sharing, what the Lutheran Confessions call “the conversation and consolation of the brothers and sisters.” Such fellowship is nurturing and provides opportunity for mutual encouragement.
Hearty thanks to those who perform this ministry and those who receive it gladly.
–Pastor Dean Bard, August 2011