The Place of Common Prayer
At the core of our community is shared worship. Above all else it says who we are as a church. The table-fellowship of Jesus was where the disciples were formed into church, where there was teaching and fellowship, where there was fun and where pain and guilt were met with the healing touch of Christ. At that table was engagement with God’s word – conversation, laughter as well as tears. Connections were made between the traditions of the past, the present encounter with each other in the presence of Christ and new hopes for the future. Familiar old words from the sacred scriptures took on new meaning. A feature of Jesus’ ministry is that he fed the people and encouraged them to feed each other. In that breaking of bread was his total self-giving to God and he asked his disciples to do this also in memory of him. Those who gathered in that table fellowship were commissioned, sent out to be forces for good, to be bearers of hope, to give witness to that new way of relating to God and to each other.
We gather in his name in many different ways to get to know each other, to provide places and meetings where those who may not ‘do church’ can meet church and meet in joy. We listen and enter into conversation with God’s word, are called to respond and be healed, forgiven, enlightened, led, encouraged and empowered. In Holy Communion remembrance of Jesus’ table fellowship, the ordinary becomes holy, not just the bread but also the every day matter of our lives. To enter into communion is to allow everything to be changed by God’s grace. Then there is a going out, a leave-taking from the security of that fellowship to ‘go in peace to love and serve’.
What happens in church in Holy Communion articulates the very life of the parish. God’s people become the living Temple where the vulnerable find shelter, where the young grow strong in goodness and faith, where all find welcome, where God’s presence is celebrated among us and where God’s purpose is worked out through us.