Face to Face around the Table
Submitted by Jim Caprell of First Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, S.C.
For many years we have been practicing the sacramental practices that you outline. I'm shocked when I see a font pushed to the side of the sanctuary as if to say, "we'll use it when we need it."
A few comments on Communion. When I came to Simpsonville, Communion was shared once a quarter. We quickly changed that to once a month in addition to special times. We also alternate styles of receiving the sacraments between "passing the plates" and folks coming to the Table for intinction. In addition, when the trays are passed down the row, each person "offers" it to their neighbor with the words, “the body of Christ broken for you, the cup of salvation for you." Listening to these murmurings going on throughout the church is a spiritual experience in itself.
Also, once when I was leading a church through some conflict, I asked permission to move the Table into the fellowship hall, so that we might share in Communion. But then I had the chairs arranged in a circle around the Table. As humans will do "we and they" sat on opposite sides of the Table. But in order to talk, they had to look and talk over the table. Changed the heart of that congregation.