In the United Church of Canada, we recognize and celebrate two sacraments: baptism and communion.
From the United Church of Canada website:
"A sacrament is a symbolic action, or ritual, by which people of faith encounter the presence and goodness of God. In a sacrament, ordinary things like water, bread, and wine are used to point us to God and God’s love, reminding us of the sacred in life. In the United Church, we celebrate two sacraments: baptism, the ritual that formally recognizes we belong to the Christian community, and communion, a symbolic meal initiated by Jesus. These sacraments are of central importance to our faith."
Communion carries many layers of meaning. It is a meal of thanksgiving as we remember God's goodness. It is a meal of remembrance as we remember Jesus - his life, his death, and his resurrection. It is a meal of hope, as we look forward to and anticipate the time that is coming when the world will be governed only by God's love and peace. It is a meal of community as we eat and drink together. It is a meal of transformation as we pray that the Holy Spirit will transform us in to the Body of Christ. It is a meal that strengthens our faith as we are reminded that God is with us.
We usually celebrate communion with bread and grape juice. Even though the meal that Jesus and his followers shared in the bible was bread and wine, we recognize that there are people in our community who can't drink alcohol, and even a small sip would be too much; and so to make sure that communion can include everyone, we use grape juice instead. We also offer a gluten-free cracker option - just look for the small dish on the plate of bread.
Sometimes the bread and the juice will be served to you as you sit in your pew, and sometimes you will be invited to the front of the church to receive the bread and juice - just listen for the instructions during the service!
Everyone is invited to take part in the communion meal. We believe that Jesus Christ is our host at the table, and Jesus invites EVERYONE to share in the meal. No matter what you think that you have done, no matter what you think that you haven't done, you are invited - there is nothing that excludes you from taking part.
We usually celebrate communion once a month - this isn't on a fixed schedule though, as we make sure that Bayswater-Summerville and Long Reach (where the early service alternates from week to week) are able to celebrate communion an equal number of times throughout the year.
If you have any questions about communion, please feel free to get in touch with our minister.