Public Worship with Communion by Extension

Public Worship with
Communion by Extension

Author Phillip Tovey
Publisher Grove £3.95
Format pbk
ISBN 9781788271998

‘Communion by Extension’ – in which the congregation receives pre-consecrated bread and wine at a service led by a lay person – was authorised by General Synod in 2001. The context is that, while in 1901 there were 25,000 priests in the Church of England, in 2019 there were more Readers/LLMs than stipendiary clergy. Seen by many therefore as an obvious way forward to enable congregations to receive the Eucharist in multi-parish benefices, this service has become established practice in rural communities in some dioceses, but is almost non-existent in others. Everything depends on the local Bishop’s whim, which makes this service unique in Common Worship. This revised edition Grove booklet includes a helpful, detailed commentary on the service and practical guidance in the form of FAQs. The final chapter is ‘Unresolved Issues’. There are plenty of them! Twenty years on, is it time for a review by Synod or the House of Bishops of the theology and pastoral practice behind the service? Dare we even mention lay presidency? Should Transforming Ministry magazine start the discussion?


Eucharist, Lay ministry


The Eucharistic Faith

The Eucharistic Faith

Author Ralph McMichael
Publisher SCM £25
Format pbk
ISBN 9780334056591

This is the first of a projected series of volumes seeking to recast the whole of Christian theology from the perspective of the Eucharist. The author’s logic is hard to fault, and if his project has any success, I suspect it will generate lively and influential debate. Although the book is densely written and academic, the basic idea is straightforward. If you take seriously the core Christian belief that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, and believe that the Eucharist was instituted by Jesus as a pattern for us to follow, then its centrality cannot be denied, and must affect every aspect of theology. There is something here to challenge the assumptions of all Christians, whether Catholics who perhaps cling to outmoded models of what is meant by ‘real presence’ or Protestants who regard a communion service as not much more significant than a service of morning prayer. The tone of the book is very much ‘theology from above’, so the Eucharist is not so much seen as a humanly-devised act of worship as something given by God to which we must faithfully respond. In fact, at times the book reads rather like something Karl Barth might have written had he been a high-church Anglican rather than a Swiss Calvinist.




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