Is Open Table….. ? Open Table: an American public company that offers online real-time restaurant reservation service? The dining room table preparing for a larger group?
Is Open Table….. ? A statement about who is invited to the Communion Table? Are ALL welcome? Do you need a reservation? A ticket?
Open Table Is The concept that ALL are invited to partake in communion What does ALL mean to you? All people? All faiths? All Christians? All baptized Christians? All baptized Episcopalians?
Open Table TEC: Baptism is the ticket. Reservations typically not required But WHY? We will explore: Scripture Tradition Reason
Current Position Current cannons require that a person be baptized before receiving communion Prior to 1971 – Communicants had to be confirmed before receiving. But some realize that this is a topic that requires ongoing discussion and
Convention Decision Resolutions concerning Open Table were before the 2012 National convention Current position reaffirmed Ongoing discussions encouraged
Convention 2012 2 resolutions Resolution C029Access to Holy Baptism and Holy Communion: Brought forward by North Carolina Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that The Episcopal Church reaffirms that baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion and that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into the world and baptize all peoples. Action is “to Concur” Continue studying the issue
Convention 2012 Resolution C040Open Table Brought forward by Eastern Oregon Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That The Episcopal Church ratify the rubrics and practice of The Book of Common Prayer to invite all, regardless of age, denomination, or baptism to the altar for Holy Communion; and be it further Resolved, That Canon 1.17.7: be deleted: Sec. 7 No unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church. and Canon 1.17.8 be renumbered Canon 1.17.7. Action is to Discharge: Already acted on at this convention under previous resolution
Presiding Bishop’s Comments At the 196th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the Most. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori held a Q&A, Town Hall Style The following video’s explore Open Table from Bishop Katherine’s viewpoint.
Presiding Bishop’s Comments Question 2: One of the issues facing our church is what some people are calling "Open Table" or communion without baptism, which we are going to be discussion this weekend. I am aware that one of the main theological emphasis with the understanding of the church within the Episcopal Church is our Baptismal Ecclesiology. We place a lot of emphasis on church as growing out of immersion in the fount. That Baptism is the fount of all ministry. I am curious if you think those two connect or disconnect and how we might talk about this in today's church. (David Belcher, St. Joseph's, Durham) PB Katherine Response Open Table Question 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BQbTtspNhc
Presiding Bishop’s Comments Question (follow up): You spoke earlier about the connection between baptism and communion. Could you speak more on that? Bishop Katherine Town Hall Response http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNf9RhcqeQ0&feature=youtu.be
Views from the Diocese "Then all of us are welcome to come forward to receive Holy Communion." (Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati) "Jesus invites all to his table. The altar at which we offer and break bread does not belong to the Church of Our Savior, or to the Episcopal Church. We share his invitation, 'Whoever is hungry, come and receive.'" (Church of Our Savior) "Because we believe Eucharist is the sacred 'gift of God for the people of God', all baptized Christians, regardless of age or denomination, are welcome at our table.“ (Holy Trinity) "And anyone baptized in the Christian faith is welcome to participate in the Holy Eucharist here." (St. Barnabas)
Views from the Diocese "Because we believe Eucharist is the sacred 'gift of God for the people of God' all baptized Christians, regardless of age or denomination, are welcome at our table." (St. Anne) "All Christians no matter who they are or where they are in their spiritual journey, are welcome to partake of the meal. This is what we mean when we say, 'There is a place for you at God's table.' " (Christ Church, Springfield) "All baptized persons are invited to receive Holy Communion in the Episcopal Church and those who are not baptized are invited to receive a blessing at the altar rail. " (St. Marks, Upper Arlington)
Views from the Diocese "All people are invited to join us and take communion with us." (St.Stephen's, Columbus) "More recently in the Episcopal Church the 1971 General Convention stated that Communion was intended for all the baptized, even the youngest, not just for confirmed Episcopalians." (St. Alban's, Columbus) "All baptized Christians are welcome at communion." (St. Thomas)
Open Table – The Discussion Is about our identity Define what we believe and provide a way to define it (boundaries) Its about protecting the communicants Its about hospitality and being inclusive; Its about following the laws you have without blatant disregard for them What else?
To Stimulate your Thinking At the core, should un-baptized persons be able to receive the Eucharist?? If they have faith in God? Does it matter? What if they are Muslim? Jewish? What do our communion practices say to guests about the nature of the God we worship? What might God say to them from the way we share communion? Ecumenical issues? What’s at stake in our ongoing sacramental relationships (or lack thereof) with sister denominations? What will other denominations think?
For Small Group Discussion 1. 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 experience made you feel about the church you were in? 6. Should there be a price of admission?