Online Communion

Can a virtual community be considered “gathered” together? If a pastor consecrates the bread and cup on my computer screen, does that blessing travel through the Internet to the juice in my fridge?

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  1. United Methodist leaders tackle those questions and others at a meeting on Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2013. As a primer to this conversation, read this article from the United Methodist News Service:


    This Storify will continue to update through the end of the #onlinecommunion gathering.

  2. We're listening in on a conversation now about #onlinecommunion in The United Methodist Church. If you'd like to listen in, you can follow the #onlinecommunion on facebook or on twitter []. What questions or concerns do you have?
  3. Should churches offer Holy Communion online? - ...
  4. Wes Stanton The article keeps referring to "the practice of online communion" as though it IS a recognized practice, when it ought at best to refer to "the idea of online communion." 

    My theology of the eucharist is not so high as to think that it's not "valid" if there's not an elder there to pronounce the epiklesis or crack open the loaf. (Our sisters & brothers in the Christian Church: Disciples of Christ are partaking of the eucharist, I'd say, even though it's not currently within the UM discipline for laity to preside as it is for them.) But I would say it is important to >receive< the elements rather than to "take" them -- and that just to get them from the fridge & breadbox, and take them ourselves when an onscreen prompt or a streamed celebrant says to. 

    More important to me, from 1 Corinthians 11, is the element of sharing a meal, rich and poor together where sharing can and ought to occur. If we want to partake privately, or just eat our own stuff, it's not the Lord's supper we're eating. It's just a snack.

    At the very least, there should be a faith-community gathered in each physical space where people are to receive. And if a community of people are gathered as the Church, why would some kind of online consecration be a better solution than having the church offer a provisional ordination to sacramental ministry to someone in each such community, or having the church decide that ordination is not an essential element of the sacrament?
  5. Sarah Capper I would love it if the church did this. I live in a place where there is no Methodist church within driving distance and I am consequently attending a Catholic church at the moment. I don't really want to be Catholic, and so I can't take communion. I still listen to my old Methodist minister's sermons online, and would really like to be able to take communion somehow. In my situation, online is better than nothing.
  6. Allison Barringer No. I think part of the communion experience is sharing it with people. In person. And the actual physicality of taking the bread and cup. Even if you don't believe in the elements becoming the actual body and blood a la the Catholics, it is still sacred and shouldn't be done cyberly.
  7. Steve Pedlow I am touting Lay Pastor Ministry so that communion can be a sharing and communal re bearing and worship. There are not enough ordained pastors to go around. But if there is no one or travel is impossible, can we call on Jesus to be present and bless by radio, tv, podcast, video streaming, etc? Not my call, but I will pray for substance rather than form.
  8. Barbara Hollis We have a wonderful lady that takes the blessed communion to the homes of the shut ins from our church They so look forward to her visit every month
  9. Uniting Change Our culture and tradition would suggest that Communion has to be stared by the gathered community in a physical gathering with physical elements. However, our theology shows us that God is with us in all times and spaces. Social media shows us that we can gather and connect in real ways through through electronic media. The spirit shows us that the elements Are symbols though which we enter into the grace and love of God. In Australia the Catholic Church has been offering Communion on TV for years. So while it may not feel right for many of us, maybe the problem is the weight of tradition anchoring us in the past