The Eucharist

A Short Guide to the Anglican Eucharist Practice

If you have not attended a Eucharist (Holy Communion) Service before, you might wonder what it is all about, what goes on, and why. Rituals of any sort can be very difficult to appreciate without some explanation.

This short introduction has been written for those possibly attending a Eucharist Service for the first time, perhaps having no previous contact with the Christian Church, or coming from another faith or none. We hope this will assist in understanding the form and content of the service so that its meaning can be better appreciated, and that you might be encouraged to come along to see for
yourself. If you make it known that this is all new to you, a member of the congregation will be more than happy to quietly take you through the service.

Why the Eucharist is central to Christian worship

Christian practices vary across different denominations, and there have been plenty of disputes on the finer points of theology, but central to almost all Christian Churches whether Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran or other mainstream Protestant, is the coming together as a community to celebrate the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper.

The Eucharist (a word derived from the Greek meaning “to thank”) commemorates Jesus’ Last Supper with his twelve disciples. Later that night he was arrested, tried and executed by the combined efforts of religious leaders and the Roman governor. During this last meal with his friends, Jesus took bread,
broke it and gave it to his disciples. He also shared with them drinking wine from a cup (chalice), and told his disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me”.

The early Christians instigated the practice of celebrating the Eucharist as a communal act, to give a sense of being a community. (See the New Testament Epistle I Corinthians 11.23-29).

Since about 50 CE this is what Christians have done together – down through the centuries and across continents. It is one of the rituals, aside from baptism which unites all Christians in basically a similar practice, although unfortunately not all Christians are permitted by some churches to take communion (to partake of the bread and wine given out) if they are of another denomination. Plenty of effort is being devoted to try to figure out a way of getting back to accepting each other’s way of doing things, though. It keeps theologians busy!

The Anglican Church welcomes to Communion all those who are baptized and who are communicant members of other Churches which subscribe to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and are in good standing in their own Church.

A Short Description of the Service

We prepare for the Eucharist by: –

Confessing our sins and failings and receiving God‘s forgiveness.
Being silent and saying the Collect, the special prayer for the day.
Reading the Bible, God’s Word, and hearing the Good News.
Praying for the Church and the World.

The Peace.
We exchange greetings in the Lord‘s name.

The Eucharist is based on the Four Things which Jesus did at the Last Supper with his disciples:

Jesus took the bread and wine.
This is the Offertory, or the Taking.
“All things come from you Lord, and of your own do we give you.“

We bring our lives, our hopes and fears, our successes and failures. We bring our money and our work, to be made holy by Him.

We bring our Special Intentions; one for others; one for me this week!

Jesus blessed the bread and wine.

We bless and praise God for his Saving Acts; for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life, but above all, for sending
his Son to share our life.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!

Jesus broke the bread.

We who are many, are one Body, for we all share in the one Bread. Jesus was broken on the Cross but his Spirit is with us.

Jesus gave out the bread and wine

The words of the Centurion – “Lord I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed.“

The Body of Christ keep us in eternal life. May we who share Christ’s Body live his risen life. We who drink his cup bring life to others.
We whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.

Click here for a short PDF version
The full Order of Service is available from the Church of England website.

Further information on the liturgy of the Church of England is available here.