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Eucharist

Since earliest times, Christians have celebrated the sacramental meal known variously as Eucharist, the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion. This pattern of meeting to share bread and cup looks to ancient customs such as the Jewish Passover meal, but for Christians is founded on the command of Jesus to "do this in memory of me" (1 Cor 11:24-25).

The sharing of bread and wine as a participation in the body and blood of Christ was the central and distinctive act of Christian community meetings in the first centuries. Originally celebrated in the context of a more substantial community meal, the growth of the Church and concern about reverent participation that had already been expressed in the New Testament (1 Cor 11:27-30) led to the separation of the sacramental ritual into its historic liturgical forms.

During the Middle Ages, it became common practice for the Priest to receive the bread and wine and for most people simply to watch. The Reformers of the 16th century, sought to recover a more biblical understanding of Communion and restore the sacrament to the whole community. They wanted every member of the church to be given the bread and wine and through this sacred meal be nurtured in faith and hope.

The Uniting Church believes that in Holy Communion God is truly present, that this is not just a symbolic meal where we remember a past event of Jesus dying on the cross. We do remember and give thanks for that sacrifice of love, but in Holy Communion we believe that Jesus offers himself to us in faith and is truly present to us.

People in the Uniting Church have had varied understandings of exactly how Christ is present in the celebration of the Holy Communion.

While the intention of the Reformers was to recover a weekly celebration of Holy Communion, most Uniting Churches will celebrate communion once a month. Usually the bread is freshly baked by one of our members and the 'wine' is non alcoholic.

For more information, read this article on DocBytes.