World Communion Sunday: Worship Resources at your Fingertips
You have the resources you need to celebrate World Communion Sunday at your fingertips – or with just a few keystrokes. World Communion Sunday is a worldwide, ecumenical celebration on the first Sunday of October – Oct. 4, 2015. In The United Methodist Church, this is one of our six special Sundays with offerings. This offering supports leadership development around the world.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE WORLD COMMUNION SCHOLARSHIPS
- World Communion Scholarship Leadership Development Program: Background and information about the Global Ministries’ scholarship program that facilitates the educational preparation and training of mission partners from around the world whose work will have the most direct and positive impact on the communities from which they come.
WORSHIP IDEAS & LITURGIES
- Five Loaves: Bring the world into your worship services through breads of the world and prayers with the world. Invite different members of your congregation, including children and youth, to bring the breads to the Communion table and then to turn and lead the sections of the liturgy that correspond to the breads they carried.
- World Communion Sunday (2011): Find sermon helps at this link to several stories of recipients of the scholarship funds raised through the World Communion offering. Use these stories to witness to God’s actions in the world through people answering God’s call to serve. There is a prayer at the end of the article.
- In many cultures, people move forward to baskets to make their offerings. Consider using some of the baskets of the world you have collected to receive the World Communion offering as people come forward for Communion. Children or youth could hold the baskets near the front of worship space.
John Wesley’s “Directions for Singing,” found in the first few pages of “The United Methodist Hymnal,” tell us to learn “these” tunes before you learn any others. This World Communion Sunday, use some of the riches found in “The United Methodist Hymnal” for the music for your worship service. Be creative in how you use the music within the service to pray with the world on this special day. Some options include:
- “For the Bread Which You Have Broken” (UMH #615): Ask a soloist to sing the hymn unaccompanied during the distribution of the elements. Or consider asking an older elementary children’s choir to sing it, perhaps with a recorder doubling the melody or playing the alto voice part. Another option is to use this as a choir-congregation hymn or anthem. Begin with a soloist singing the first stanza, all of the women singing the second stanza, the choir singing the third stanza, the congregation singing the fourth stanza. You could also play this as the gathering music to introduce it to the congregation.
- “Una Espiga” (UMH #637): Consider singing stanzas 1 and 2 as the Communion elements are brought forward and the table is prepared before “The Great Thanksgiving.” Sing stanza 3 as the bread is broken and the cup is poured following “The Lord’s Prayer.” Stanza 4 could be sung just prior to serving the congregation.
- “Send Me, Lord” (UMH #497): Sing this immediately after the prayer following Communion — unaccompanied, if possible. Practice in advance with the song leader and the choir and the congregation will be able to follow easily. If accompaniment is needed, use guitar or very simple chords on the keyboard.
- Refrain of “Jesu, Jesu” (UMH #432): Sing this as a response to the morning prayer or as an antiphon between intercessory prayer sentences.
- “Saranam, Saranam” (UMH #523): Sing only the last line of the refrain as the response to the prayer time. Consider singing the first stanza as a call to confession and the fourth stanza after the assurance of pardon.
- “The Lord’s Prayer” (UMH #271): If your congregation is not accustomed to singing “The Lord’s Prayer,” this is a great place to start. You can adapt this so the congregation doesn’t need even to open their hymnals. Teach the congregation the phrase “hallowed-a be thy name.” Teach the choir the entire song. The song leader invites the congregation to join in with their phrase and the final “Amen” stanza. The youth or older children’s choir could lead this prayer.
- “Shalom” (UMH #667): Sing this as a benediction. Consider having all of the members of the choirs circle the worship space to help lead the song in canon. The congregation could sing the first part with the choir members singing the second and third voices.
- Sing together as Communion is served. Choose several shorter choruses so people can easily sing as they move to be served. Pick songs that reflect the joy of the day. You can also move between familiar shorter choruses in “The United Methodist Hymnal” and global choruses such as these from “The Faith We Sing”: “Holy, Holy, Holy” (TFWS #2007), “We Sing of Your Glory” (TFWS #2011), “Halle, Halle, Halleluja” (TFWS #2026), “Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord” (TFWS #2035) and “Jesus, We Are Here” (TFWS #2273). Add light percussion and guitar as appropriate. Don’t forget that many global songs can be sung unaccompanied.
- Fabrics. Ask church members if they have fabric or linens from other places in the world they are willing to share. You may be surprised to discover how many lovely handmade linens they have! Use simple lengths of fabric on the Communion table or place several table runners over the front of the table. Use the napkins to hold the breads served for Communion.
- Baskets made by artisans from around the world are readily available from stores, but many of your members will have those as well as platters or other tableware. Ask about candleholders, too!
- You may have more options than you can use in the worship setting. Use the other linens, baskets and so forth in a gathering space with notes about the countries of origin. Place them with a small globe on a small table at the entrance to your worship space. The unique visual will set the theme for your service as people enter to worship.
- Talk to the bakery managers of your local grocery stores. They are usually willing to order or bake any breads you need if they don't already carry them.
- Order bread in advance from local restaurants: naan from Indian restaurants, tortillas from Hispanic restaurants and so on.
- Find recipes for breads from the world in most bread cookbooks and on the Web. Ask a member to bake the breads you will use in worship.
- Look around! There are people from many different cultures in your community. Ask if they would be willing to teach church members how to create the breads of their cultures.
Produced by the Rev. Debra Tyree, Executive Secretary for Global Praise, General Board of Global Ministries, www.umcmission.org