October 2012

October 2012

Dear Friends in Christ,

October 7 is World Communion Sunday.  On this special Sunday we celebrate our unity in Christ with brothers and sisters around the globe.  This is a joyful reminder of the vast nature of the Christian community and the abundance of God’s grace.  As we gather at the table, we experience our bond with disciples of Jesus across the world and throughout the ages, rejoicing to be one in Him.  John Oxenham wrote in 1913 in his familiar hymn.

“In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north; but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.

In Christ shall true hearts everywhere their high communion find; His service is the golden cord close binding all mankind.”

World Communion is a special day to recognize the love we have in Christ and the love we share with followers of Jesus everywhere.  The special offering on World Communion Sunday expresses our commitment to support the ministry of Christ around the globe, by nurturing students to lead today and in the future through scholarships for racial and ethnic minority students in the U.S. and for international students across the world.

As we approach this celebration of unity and diversity in Christ, consider these reflections from another United Methodist congregation profoundly moved by the message of World Communion Sunday.

WCS is a favorite for multicultural congregation

The favorite “Special Sunday” at North UMC in Minneapolis is World Communion Sunday Offering – partly because it fits with who we are but also because we get to eat lots of different kinds of bread! North UMC is a very mission-oriented and multicultural congregation, with many members who have been part of the church for their whole lives. We’re also enriched by a number of Liberians who came during the war, along with some Latina, African-American, and biracial members. It is a Sunday to remind us that around the world, wherever we have come from and wherever we are now, we are related in Christ and are all one people.

Everyone is encouraged to wear clothes that reflect their heritage or their travels - even the Swedes and Norwegians! We try to use songs that reflect the idea of being one in Christ. The altar is decorated with a large globe and two African baskets filled with breads from around the world.

During children's time, the kids get to taste each bread and guess where they are from. Each year we search for new and different kinds of breads. In serving communion, we usually use a marble rye, symbolizing the black and white skin colors bound together as one, yet retaining their own identities. After worship, people are invited to come up and sample everything.

The liturgy for the day reflects worldwide community. Prayers for those in other countries are always a part of our service since many of our members have come from other places and still have many family members there. But for this week, the Lord's Prayer is also offered in different languages. We have a handout with about 10 different versions, including a couple Liberian dialects, and invite people to pray in English or to use any one of the others. The sermon is based on our connection as children of Christ, here and abroad.

As a pastor who is active in mission work in Liberia and Sierra Leone, I have friends in both countries who have received scholarships from the money raised on World Communion Sunday and I’ve seen the difference it makes in the lives of the recipients and their families. We believe that this connection we have to others also enriches our own lives and makes us more aware of the needs that those around us have and of the gifts they have to share.

World Communion Sunday shows us the diversity of God’s creation and the ways that we all affect each other.--Linda Koelman, Pastor, North United Methodist Church, Minneapolis, MN

Join us for World Communion Sunday at Fishkill United Methodist Church on Sunday, October 7, as we proclaim God’s grace to all humanity.  Let us rejoice in our Christian unity with breads of many nations, Worship in varied languages, multi-cultural songs of praise, and a spirit of oneness in Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Peggy Ann Sauerhoff