Tools for your presbytery
If your presbytery is ready to get started celebrating weekly Eucharist, the following suggestions and tools will be of assistance.
Scheduling presbytery Celebrations of the Eucharist
Each presbytery is responsible for scheduling weekly celebrations of the Lord's Supper among its congregations. Churches may volunteer to host the presbytery Eucharistic service, or presbytery leaders may take a more active role in scheduling the celebrations. It is suggested that each presbytery office designate a person to serve as a liaison or ambassador for this initiative, maintaining the calendar of celebrations. Please note that it is not necessary to cover every Sunday in the year in order to begin implementing this proposal; presbyteries may work toward full participation as word of these events spreads.
Congregations should not reschedule their regular celebrations of the Lord's Supper in order to participate in this program. Churches may schedule their celebration of the presbytery's Eucharist to coincide with an existing Sunday service in which the Lord's Supper is to be included or may plan to celebrate the presbytery Eucharist on a day that would not have ordinarily been a "communion Sunday." These presbytery celebrations of the Eucharist are in no way intended to disrupt or diminish regular celebrations of the Lord's Supper at the level of the congregation; rather, it is hoped that this program will move churches toward more frequent celebration of the Eucharist.
Designing a presbytery paten and chalice
You may choose to commission a special communion set to be shared among churches celebrating the Lord's Supper on behalf of the presbytery. A presbytery paten and chalice offer a visible reminder of our unity and common ministry in Christ. A local potter can help to design an appropriate plate and cup (as well as a pitcher, if desired) for this purpose. The vessels should be large enough to be used in congregations of various sizes and to communicate the abundance of God's grace. They should be simple enough that they don't draw attention away from the primary symbols of bread and wine. An appropriate image would be the seal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or an emblem of the presbytery. (See Appendix E in the Book of Order for the symbolism of the Presbyterian seal and guidelines for authorized use. ) If an inscription is desired, a fitting biblical text would be "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body" (1 Corinthians 10:17).
Of course, having a special paten and chalice for the presbytery celebrations of the Eucharist will require some means for transporting the vessels from church to church each week. It is hoped that ministers or other leaders of the congregation will take advantage of this necessity to meet with representatives from a neighboring church (perhaps for coffee or lunch), forging stronger bonds of collegiality and developing possibilities for collaboration. Share stories or send photos of "the passing of the paten and chalice" and (with your permission) we will post them on this Web site.
For more information
For further ideas or guidance on implementing weekly celebrations of the Eucharist in your presbytery, contact the Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at (888) 728-7228, x5311 or send us an email.