Communion of the People


The bread and wine from the table are served to the people in a manner suitable to the occasion. The people may approach the table to receive the bread and wine, or may be served where they are.

The gifts of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God.

During the communion of the people, the congregation may sing hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs, or may pray silently. There may also be an anthem or instrumental music.

Notes adapted from Supplemental Liturgical Resource 1 (WJKP, 1984).

Excerpt from Worshiping God Together: A Guide for Children and Their Parents:

When we share the bread and cup, we are sharing a meal with Jesus and with all God’s people. The bread and cup are a small taste of the great goodness of God, and a sign of the meal we will one day share in heaven.

Directory for Worship

The elements are distributed in the manner most suitable to the particular occasion.

  1. The people may gather about the Table to receive the bread and the cup; they may come to those serving to receive the elements; or those serving may distribute the elements to them where they are.
  2. The bread may be broken from that on the Table and placed in the people’s hands; people may break off a portion from the broken loaf or other bread offered for distribution; or they may receive pieces of bread prepared for distribution.
  3. A common cup may be offered to all who wish to partake of it; several cups may be offered and shared; or individual cups may be prepared for distribution. Rather than drink from a common cup, communicants may dip the broken bread into the cup.
  4. The bread and the cup may be served by ordained officers of the church, or by other church members on invitation of the session or authorizing governing body.

While the bread and the cup are being shared,

  1. the people may sing psalms, hymns, spirituals, or other appropriate songs;
  2. the choir may sing anthems or other appropriate musical offerings;
  3. instrumental music suitable to the occasion may be played;
  4. appropriate passages of Scripture may be read; or
  5. people may pray in silence.

When the service is ended, the communion elements shall be removed from the Table and used or disposed of in a manner which is approved by the session, and which is consistent with the Reformed understanding of the Sacrament and the principles of good stewardship.

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Order, W-3.3616–.3617, .3619

Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching, and the Arts provides suggestions for choral anthems (for large, small, youth, and children’s choirs) for each Sunday and festival in the Christian year. To learn more or subscribe, visit Call to Worship.

Find words to speak at the Communion of the People from Biblical and Confessional Resources for Worship.

Breaking of the breadPrayer after Communion