Communion Liturgy Resources


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Communion Liturgies
By: Dr. Gregory S. Neal

Many of the Eucharistic liturgies presented on this website either come from, or are adaptations of, the official Communion rituals of The United Methodist Church. These rituals are rooted in Anglican and Roman Catholic Sacramental traditions and reflect the influence of the liturgical renewal movement as found in the "Lima Text" of the World Council of Church's Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry Document (Faith and Order Paper 111). As exemplars of practical theology, they express our devotional and doctrinal understanding of the real presence of Jesus in the sacrament. Far from just symbolic or metaphorical, the language of the liturgies demonstrates our faith in the justifying and sanctifying real presence of our Lord, made real to us in and through Holy Communion. The Eucharist is the principle means of grace which communicates to believers the body and blood -- the uniting, transforming, and forgiving presence -- of Christ. We affirm Christ's real presence while, at the same time, professing that he is present in a mysterious, mystical way which goes far beyond our human comprehension. It is a "spiritual" presence in as much as the "spiritual" is far more "real" than the merely mundane of everyday existence; it is "physical" presence in as much as the tangible elements of which we partake provide us with instrumental foci for our faith, foci which stand in direct relation to the scriptural, traditional, experiential, and rational quadrants of our lives as Christians.

Because the Eucharist is such a fundamental means of grace, while there may well be significant variations from the standard wording of the Great Thanksgiving, the Words of Institution (i.e. the "Anamnesis,"), the Prayer of Consecration (the "Epiclesis"), and the Breaking of the Bread should remain fairly consistent from liturgy to liturgy. This is the case in the various forms of the Great Thanksgiving presented here. In some cases the variations are only in matters of liturgical arrangement; in other instances the wording varies from a minimal to a significant amount. Sometimes I have drawn extensively from Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic sacramental traditions in the writing of these Great Thanksgivings, while in other cases I have drafted the liturgies largely on my own. In all cases, however, I have attempted to either adapt or write elements of the liturgy in such a way as to be complimentary to both our doctrinal and experiential faith.

In an earlier version of these web pages the written Great Thanksgivings were offered as examples of eucharistic liturgies from the Methodist, Episcopalian, and informal church traditions. They are offered here as legacies for those who find them helpful.

The Liturgies listed bellow are also available for use in the planning of eucharistic worship services. Over time, and as they are written, more liturgies will be added (including an updated version of Word and Table IV). These are in PDF format, and should display well in most modern web browsers. Feel free to download them for your own use.




United Methodist Great Thanksgivings
Word and Table I, II, III, and IV, with Adaptations and Liturgical Arrangements
Holy Communion: Word and Table I
Holy Communion: Word and Table I - Multi-Voice Variant
Holy Communion: Word and Table I - Unison-Voice Variant
Holy Communion: Word and Table II - For Sundays in Lent - A
Holy Communion: Word and Table II - For Sundays in Lent - B
Holy Communion: Word and Table III - Words of Institution in Unison Voice - A
Holy Communion: Word and Table III - Words of Institution in Unison Voice - B
Holy Communion: Word and Table III - For Easter Sunday
Holy Communion: Word and Table III - For Communion of the Saints Sunday
Holy Communion: Word and Table IV

Eucharistic Liturgies: Multi-Voice Variants
Multi-Voice Variant of Word and Table I
Multi-Voice Eucharistic Liturgy A
Multi-Voice Eucharistic Liturgy B - For World Communion Sunday
Multi-Voice Eucharistic Liturgy C
Multi-Voice Eucharistic Liturgy D - For Baptism of the Lord Sunday
Multi-Voice Eucharistic Liturgy E - Adapted from the Episcopal Church's Rite II, Prayer C

Eucharistic Liturgies: Unison-Voice Variants
Unison-Voice Variant of Word and Table I
Unison-Voice Eucharistic Liturgy A - Modern Phrasing for General Use
Unison-Voice Eucharistic Liturgy B - For Epiphany Sunday
Holy Communion: Word and Table III - Words of Institution in Unison Voice - A
Holy Communion: Word and Table III - Words of Institution in Unison Voice - B

Original Liturgies and Arrangements
© 2005-2009 Rev. Gregory S. Neal
Free For Use




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