World Communion Sunday offers congregations a distinctive opportunity
to experience Holy Communion in the context of the global community of
faith. The first Sunday of October has become a time when Christians in
every culture break bread and pour the cup to remember and affirm Christ
as the Head of the Church. On that day, they remember that they are
part of the whole body of believers. Christians celebrate the communion
liturgy in as many ways as there are congregations. World Communion
Sunday can be both a profound worship experience and a time for learning
more about our wider community of faith. The following are bite-sized
morsels to stimulate creative thinking. Each one offers a starting point
from which to create a meaningful worship experience for World
Communion Sunday. New resources will be added periodically.
Video: World Communion Sunday at Inanda Seminary, Durban, South Africa
Communion Bread from Different Countries
of the communion liturgy, use multiple loaves baked by members of the
congregation using international recipes. Four loaves could represent
the four corners of the world; five: the inhabited continents; six: all
the continents; seven: the days of creation; ten: the Hebrew Ten
Commandments; twelve: the disciples. "Breads around the World," a
resource focusing on bread-baking recipes and worship services for
breaking bread from six regions of the world, is available for download,
or by calling 866-822-8224 ext. 3208.
Breads Around the World: AFRICA
Breads Around the World: CARIBBEAN
Breads Around the World: CHILE
Breads Around the World: CHINA
Breads Around the World: INDIA
Breads Around the World: MIDDLE EAST
Children's Bread Baking
Have children bake the
bread for your communion service as part of their church school class.
If they bake ethnic breads, the children, wearing costumes from the
appropriate countries, may process into the sanctuary with the bread.
During a children's message, focus on the different types of bread as a
metaphor for the diversity of the human family.
Taste the Bread: 30 Children's Sermons on Communion by Kenneth Wezeman, Anna Liechty, Phyllis Vos Wezeman
Mix, knead, and prepare a bread
recipe as part of the sermon, using each ingredient to symbolize
membership in the body of Christ and what it means for all of us to be
ingredients in a global village-loaf. Later, bake the loaf and serve it
during a time of fellowship.
Using different types of
bread and chalices, have worshipers move to different areas in the
sanctuary to receive the elements by intinction. This journey to receive
communion is symbolic of the journey of faith we all take as we seek to
share the bread of life with others. As worshipers move, have the choir
or soloists offer international music selections.
If your church uses a video or
slide projection system, plan to show images of Christians around the
world engaged in ministry and worship. This can be done to musical
accompaniment during communion or as part of an audio-visual
meditation. Using new technologies can bring the adage "a picture is
worth a thousand words," to life.
Commission a member of the
congregation or a person from the community to write a short dramatic
scenario to be shared in worship. Have the playwright meet with the
pastor to develop an appropriate theme that will complement the sermon.
Or, check an Internet search engine for Christian drama resources that
can be used with permission.
Translate the words "bread,"
"cup," "peace," "community," and other theological phrases into other
languages. Create responsive litanies using these words. Have a litany
read by persons scattered around the sanctuary to remind worshipers that
they are surrounded by the global body of Christ. Some resources to
Gifts of Many Cultures by Maren Tirabassi and Kathy Wonson Eddy
Bread for the Journey by Ruth C. Duck
Feasting with God by Holly W. Whitcomb
Harvest for the World by Geoffrey Duncan
UCC World Communion Sunday Resources for 2008 [PDF]
Hymns from a Variety of Cultures
Find hymns from
around the world easily in both the Chalice Hymnal and the New Century
Hymnal. Hymns are arranged alphabetically by title, country and
language. This listing of international hymns can be reproduced as a
Global Hymn Resource
Prayers from Different Cultures
different cultures can be shared in the liturgy by worshipers, or have
liturgists read them in the original language with a translator sharing
them in English. Compiled by Karen Farthing of Eden Seminary, the
International Resources for Worship Bibliography includes several
resources of prayers and liturgical materials from around the world that
are currently in print and that note the country of origin of its
International resources for worship bibliography
Mission Story Sermon
Use the monthly mission story, weekly prayer, missionary letters about communion,
and other resources on the Global Ministries website as a source for
stories about the church's participation in the needs of the world.
After each story is highlighted in the sermon, a prayer could be offered
for that particular work and witness.
Use World Communion Sunday as an
opportunity for churches in your community to exchange preachers.
Learning more about each other's congregations, even though only across
town, helps give perspective to global partnership. Have each
congregation bake a loaf of bread for their neighboring church.
Invite a Guest Speaker
Have your preaching
moment center on the personal reflections of someone in your community
who is from a different cultural background. Or, perhaps have three
members of your congregation, who have different ethnic backgrounds,
offer reflections on their cultural and religious heritage.
Make the service an ecumenical
affair by inviting other churches to join with you in a special service.
Work together beforehand to create a "blended" liturgy from the various
traditions. Try to incorporate elements from each communion liturgy
into your worship. In addition to the lectionary readings, you may
choose to focus on these passages: Romans 12:3-21 and 1 Corinthians 12:
Plan an educational event for the
congregation to learn more about our global mission partners. Design
and construct colorful banners for hanging in the sanctuary using ethnic
cloths and symbols of communion. The banners could be brought into the
worship space during the opening hymn, dedicated with a prayer, and even
become a focal point for a communion meditation.
Agape Love Feast
Using elements of 1 Corinthians
as background for the earliest Christian community's communal supper,
incorporate the communion liturgy into an Agape Feast. Process to
fellowship hall at the end of worship to enjoy a potluck meal, just as
the early Christians did. At an appropriate time, break the bread and
pass the cup in an act of joyous celebration.
Hold a Mission Fair
Turn fellowship hall into a
mission fair with booths and information showing global partnerships and
mission efforts throughout the world. Invite everyone to an ethnic meal
and take up an offering for a specific mission project.
Develop a partnership with a
congregation in a different country. Share information, traditions, and
mission priorities with your new partner. On World Communion Sunday,
use the liturgy of your partner church as you hold each other in prayer
and remember the global fellowship of faith. Global Mission Partnerships
| World Communion Resources
| News and Missionary Stories about Communion