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St. Anne’s Adult Forum Jan 27 th Feb 3 rd Feb 10 th.

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Presentation on theme: "St. Anne’s Adult Forum Jan 27 th Feb 3 rd Feb 10 th."— Presentation transcript:

1 St. Anne’s Adult Forum Jan 27 th Feb 3 rd Feb 10 th

2 Recap of Last 2 weeks The practice of Open Communion or Open Table is that of inviting all to the table, regardless of baptismal status Societal trends Christianity is not required by any earthly authority More likely to have unbaptized people in church Liturgical trends 1979 Prayer book incorporated communion into the weekly Sunday service We reviewed scripture and tradition to better understand how we arrived at where we are today 2

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4 House of Bishops Response D084 2009 report prepared by the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops Over-all “sense that the work is not yet complete” but the committee documented where they were currently and they agree Cannon is clear: No unbaptized person…. Clergy agree to uphold these cannons It should not be willfully violated in “arbitrary, secretive or idiosyncratic ways” To preserve the convental relationship bishops, priests, & people Any change should be clearly thought through, openly discussed and prayerfully discerned 4

5 House of Bishops Report focused on Doctrinal & liturgical connection between baptism & the eucharist Jesus practices and hopes for his followers Mission & eucharistic participation 5

6 House of Bishops Report Doctrinal & liturgical connection between baptism & the eucharist Both “sides” acknowledge there is an intrinsic relationship Eg. BCP p 371 Eucharistic Prayer C Lists a number of ways to understand the relationship between baptism and the eucharist Eg. In baptism one is made a member of Christ. In the eucharist we both remember and are re-membered as the body of Christ. Conclusion: Both sacraments should are necessary. Can we find a theological basis for communion before baptism? 6

7 House of Bishops Report Jesus practices and hopes for his followers Jesus’ eating patterns were considered radically inclusive by some but noted as confined to the Jews by others. Jesus was rarely the ‘host’ of a meal therefore he did not make the invitation to the table If Jesus’ practice were so “open” then why was it so hard for the early church to bring the Jews & Gentiles to the same table It seems that it was baptism, not communion that united the followers 7

8 House of Bishops Report Jesus practices and hopes for his followers (cont) Conclusion: Jesus’ day to day eating patterns do not seem to support open communion Jesus practices of engaging with sinners/ tax collectors “were directed at restoring their covenantal relationship with God.” 8

9 House of Bishops Report Mission & eucharistic participation “Many see communion as part of an overall focus on mission” Invite and to reach out to all “to the ends of the earth” Some considerations: The nature of the invitation Eg. Whoever desires or seeks God/Christ OR y’all come now Bishops are concerned that people understand the nature of the meal to which they are invited Christians agree that the eucharist is integration to our transformation as faithful followers of Christ 9

10 House of Bishops Report The nature of the invitation (cont.) Avoid Bait & Switch: If you come, there are significant implications Need to consider if someone could be “invited to this meal unless they are already nascent believers” Practice of Hospitality Hospitality to the stranger is encouraged Can this invitation for spiritual food actually undermine our chard to open our homes, families and tables to the strangers. 10

11 House of Bishops Report IF we consider to change the sacramental order Need to align to Catechesis directed toward baptism There is a need for all to understand the strong historical, doctrinal & liturgical tradition linking baptism, communion and the Body of Christ This might provide that Open Table becomes a missionary strategy to welcome the unbaptized 11

12 House of Bishops Report Conclusion: There may be a way to allow open table as an exception even if it is not the norm; We are not there YET Much more discussion needed. Bishops encourage more theological reflection rather than under thought repetition of tradition or strongly formed habits of individualism and freedom of choice. 12

13 Faith in Life: Open Table Forum Oct 2011 Faith in Life Commission of Dio. S. Ohio. Open Table Forum. St. Patrick’s Dublin, OH Oct 2011. 3 panelists brining different perspectives on the practice, which is contrary to our current canons but widely practiced Panelists include Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers of the California Divinity School of the Pacific and Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, Rev. Donald Schell, one of the founding rectors of St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in San Francisco and currently with the All Saints Company. 13

14 Rev. Donald Schell Promoting & Practicing for many years (1981) “stumbled toward” open table as a result of a cluster of accidental and deliberate practices among lay and clergy. Was this practice inspired by the Spirit? Or a perfect storm? Eg. Practice grew out from students gathered around the table, feeding each other; After practicing; developed a theological basis Most presented already Divergent practices have historically provided a chance to dive deeper into theology of the issue 14

15 Theology follows (and sometimes corrects) practice. What large questions were raised by our change in practice? How do we pattern sacraments after Christ if our best understanding of who he was and what he did grows or changes? How do we make certain we experience and share in God’s embrace of unprepared sinners in the way we shape our liturgy? In Scripture and in history, what has moved the church to acknowledge the Spirit at work in changes of practice or teaching? 15 What Questions Did Our Change in Practice Raise? (Schnell)

16 What responsibility may (or must) we take for shaping or reshaping the sacraments in any given time or cultural setting? How is the Spirit present in our church’s legislative process and how is the Spirit present in common law practices beyond legislation? What holds the church together? What do we lose or gain in our established understanding of baptism if most of the adults we baptize have been evangelized by the reception of communion? 16 What Questions Did Our Change in Practice Raise? (Schnell)

17 Schnell’s Conclusion If we believe it is up to us, we can be generous (or condescending) in welcoming strangers and visitors. If it is up to us, inclusion and hospitality are our privileges. Instead, our task is to see Christ in the stranger (particularly in the one we may be inclined to fear or judge). In Christ, that stranger outside our comfortable boundary is us. When we claim we are “a guest worthy to be here,” we step outside the circle of people whom Christ himself chose, embraced, dined with, and died with, and so only with that stranger will we discover ourselves drawn into Christ’s body, the holy People of God that is all humanity. 17

18 One person’s experience Deacon Carol Christian 18

19 Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers Takes a measured approach Some key thoughts: Concerned that baptism will lose its significance. Sacramental norms of 2000 yrs should be not be set aside lightly Might we welcome those who are drawn to Jesus and encourage them to seek baptism if they are not already baptized, even as a first step? Creative tension exists between the norm and those practicing open table. Lets use this to find a way forward. 19

20 Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal Most urgent issue raised by open table: Connection of communion to the communicant’s self- identification as a follower of Jesus 20

21 Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal Issue of inclusivity and Open Table Open table proponents support that their practice is inclusive and reflects the inclusivity of the reign of God God’s inclusive agenda We must accept God’s inclusion of people we don’t’ like We must express kindness (Matt 25) We must be willing to accept God’s invitation on the basis of grace, not merit 21

22 Breidenthal Can we apply God’s inclusivity to the church? God is the everything and everywhere We are all included and excluded at the same time The church can not be inclusive in the way God is inclusive All human communities are formed on the basis of including some and by default excluding others. The church is not an exception Only God can include without excluding and it would be a sinful presumption to be like God here But we can try to be as inclusive as we can 22

23 Breidenthal Baptism in not about inclusion About our incorporation into the body of Christ and submission to constant formation of the spirit Eucharist provides constant nourishment while on this journey Receiving communion implies participating in the baptismal journey 23

24 Radical Welcome The impulse is holy but can’t be “lackadaisical” welcome should lead to deeper commitment to join in Christ’s body Regarding emergent churches “fresh expression” groups? Creates a space to explore, question, seek Ok to welcome and downplay rules and doctrine? If so, still need strong /clear teaching about the connection between communion and discipleship Some may want to map out their own path but they also seek authenticity 24

25 Breidenthal ’s Conclusion Whether we are talking about communion in a traditional or emergent setting, or simply out on the street, we need to remember that receiving the sacrament is only one aspect of a total eucharistic act that offers profound opportunities to explore communion with Jesus at varying levels of commitment and visibility. Receiving communion is the one action in this sequence that signifies our willing union with Christ, and moreover does so quite publicly. We should not expect or ask anyone who has not crossed that threshold to partake of his Body and Blood. 25

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27 For Small Group Discussion 1. Do you remember your baptism? Do you remember the first time you received the eucharist? What was it like? What did you feel? 2. Have you ever felt unwelcome at the communion rail? 3. Have you every thoughts others shouldn’t be receiving communion? 4. Have you ever experienced a moment of conversion ? While receiving communion ? OR When you decided not to partake? 5. How have your communion experiences made you feel about the church you were in? 6. Do you feel that Baptism should there be a price of admission? 7. Do you feel you would be comfortable worshipping in a church that did or did not practice open table? 27

28 Draw Your Own Conclusions Is there a case to be made for open table? As change in tradition, or. as an alternative for some? If so, how do we get there? If not, what puts the issue to rest forever? 28

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30 End Week 3 – Open Table 30

31 References: stic_Theology/Case_Studies/Entries/2005/12/24_Catechis ms.html stic_Theology/Case_Studies/Entries/2005/12/24_Catechis ms.html who-may-take-communion/ Around One The Rev. Dr. David T. Gortner, Primary Author. © 2009 College for Bishops / CREDO Institute, Inc. Anglican Theological Review Following the Conversations Open Table Forum sponsored by the Faith in Life Commission of the Diocese of Southern Ohio at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Dublin, Ohio, in October 2011. 31

32 References Farwell, James. “Baptism, Eucharist, and the Hospitality of Jesus: On the Practice of Open Communion.” ATR. 86:2 Spring 2004. Tanner, Kathryn. “In Praise of Open Communion: A Rejoinder to James Farwell.” ATR. 86:3 Summer 2004. Farwell, James. “A Brief Reflection on Kathryn Tanner’s Response to ‘Baptism, Eucharist and the Hospitality of Jesus.’” ATR. 87:2 Spring 2005. Edmonton, Stephen. “Opening the Table: The Body of Christ and God’s Prodigal Grace.” ATR. 91:2 Spring 2009. Theological Committee of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. Reflections on Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist: A response to Resolution D084 of the 75 th General Convention. ATR 32

33 References Bredienthal, Thomas. “Following Jesus Outside: Reflections on the Open Table.” ATR 94.2. 2011 Meyer, Ruth. “Who May Be Invited to the Table?” ATR 94.2. 2011 Schell, Donald. “Discerning Open Table in Community and Mission.” ATR 94.2. 2011 Miles, Sara. Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion. 33

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