Holy Communion Liturgy for World Communion Sunday, October 4, 2020

Next Sunday, October 4, we share Holy Communion in morning worship. Whenever we celebrate World Communion Sunday, we imagine all the tables of the world, but often we are physically gazing at our own church’s table dressed up a bit in our familiar sanctuary and it is only our words that reach out. Strangely enough, this year, with our community dispersed physically (even churches with some folks in a sanctuary with physical distancing have others who continue in virtual community) we are living what our liturgy has been telling us for eighty-seven World Communion years – that we are one people across all barriers.

This is my seventh month of offering Communion liturgy to celebrate how Sacrament transcends circumstance. This service is different from my others. I have chosen to use the words of writers from places other than the United States in the service rather than my own. In order to be fully comfortable with permission issues I am using resources from my book Gifts in Open Hands — More Worship Resources for the Global Community (Tirabassi and Eddy, Pilgrim Press 2011) and two from its predecessor Gifts of Many Cultures (Tirabassi and Eddy, Pilgrim Press, 1995) because those volumes are already set up with full permission by all contributors for all pieces to be used and adapted freely for congregational worship without additional query. I have added a Call to Worship, Opening Prayer and Benediction as well as the usual Communion liturgy. Feel free to use any pieces of this service helpful to you and add language, music, gestures and practices.

Announcement … for late September

Next Sunday, October 5, is World Communion Sunday. Those who are blessing and receiving the sacrament at home, please prepare a slice or small loaf of bread, corn tortilla, or rice cake or what is sacramental and joyful to share and a cup or small cups of juice — perhaps grape or cranberry — or wine, with or without alcohol, or coffee, or coconut water all of which are used in worship in different places.

In addition, you are invited to spend this week praying for a country in the world which is not your own. Often on this occasion we celebrate the “world” in a particularly generic “global” way rather than actually thinking about real places. For the days leading to World Communion Sunday choose one country to pray for – it may be in the news or may be one that you have visited or may be part of your ethnic heritage or may be one with a cuisine you find delicious or a writer or artist who inspires you. There is no right or wrong choice. Read an online article on this country – its history, its products, its religious heritage, the challenges it faces right now, certainly including how it stands in this pandemic. Learn a word in one of its languages – maybe peace or gratitude or blessing. Google translate is a helpful resource and includes an audio pronunciation feature. You might even find a recipe to make sometime this week. This too will be communion.

We prepare our tables and our hearts.

Call to Worship

Leader: The whole world is in God’s hands.
People: Everything that lives and breathes.
Everything that simply is. Everything.
Leader: From the farthest spaces, to the inmost places!
People: God is with us and we are with God. Alleluia!
Leader: As people of Christ, gathered at table,
with our sisters and brothers around the world,
to remember whose we are, we praise —
People: Alleluia! Thanks be to God!
Leader: Shall we pray?
With all that we have, with all that we are,
we worship you, God-of-all-Being.
Bless this day. Bless this time. Bless this gathering.
Bless this world, with your overflowing love. Alleluia!
People: Alleluia! Amen!        (Canada)


God of brilliant sunsets and shining rainbows,
God of golden daffodils and glowing autumn leaves,
God of all the blues of sunlit seas,
God of all the shades of green in bush and field,
in rivers and oceans and lakes,
in rough stones on a beach and polished jewels in a showcase,
God of people, brown and amber, pink and ebony,
artistic and athletic, practical and visionary,
compassionate and laughter-bringing,
God who colours us a world of variety,
We thank you that you have made each of us unique,
that you call us to contribute our special colours to the life around us.
We come to you in thanksgiving and worship. Amen     (Aotearoa / New Zealand)

Celebration of Holy Communion

Invitation to Communion

Leader: We rejoice in the God of life,
who gives us bread:
the fruit of the earth worked with human hands.
and who makes it into the bread of life.
People: We rejoice in the God of life
who gives us wine:
the fruit of the vine tended with daily care,
and puts the flavour of the new world into it.
Leader: As the wheat and grapes are joined on this table in bread and wine –
into a visual symbol for us –
People: May our church join together
into a visual symbol for the entire world.   (Germany)


Paz, peace, py’aguapy.
Me Comprometo, Señor a buscar:
La sanidad de mi relación contigo.
La sanidad de mi relación conmigo misma.
La sanidad de mi relación con otros.
La sanidad de mi relación con toda tu creación.

Paz, peace, py’aguapy.
I commit, God, to searching for:
The healing of my relationship with you.
The healing of my relationship with myself.
The healing of my relationship with others.
The healing of my relationship with all your creation.
¡SHALOM! (Chile)

Assurance of Grace

Forgiveness is forgetting bad things, remembering good things. Forgiveness is accepting God’s love.   ( China)

Naming of Countries

Leader: In this World Communion, we pray for these particular countries.

People respond by unmuting all at once on Zoom or Google Meets or one at a time to name the countries they have been praying for this week or a country that comes to them in this moment. People respond by chat on liveshare formats. People respond individually in a time of silence.

Words of Remembering

Remember, the Lord, the friend of sinners,
who were the oppressed, the estranged, the weak, the sick, widow, orphans.
Remember, the Lord, the one disliking of the common structure and power.
Remember, the Lord, the one sharing of daily food in life.
Remember, the Lord, the one liberating from a dictator.
We remember thy suffering, O Lord, at thy Last Supper.   (Korea)

Prayer of Consecration

Leader: You emptied yourself completely
keeping nothing for yourself.
Now, naked, utterly stripped,
you give yourself to us as bread that sustains us
and as wine that consoles us.
You are Light and Truth
You are the Way and the Hope
You are Love. Grow in us.    (Guatemala)

Sharing of the Elements

The ears of wheat are broken and scattered
on the hillside to grow.
Gathered, they are broken again
and scattered throughout the city to make bread.
the bread is scattered to each home
and broken to make nourishment.
Broken and scattered, broken and scattered,
and some becomes Christ’s body broken for us
as we are the people of God scattered through the city
and, perhaps, broken to give nourishment to others. (South Africa)

We receive this bread, broken, scattered and made whole.
We drink this cup, thirty, longing, willing to be poured.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

We give you thanks O Lord, for all food that has arrived at our table from your generosity. Bless the people who have made it possible, from the cultivation of the earth until it arrived to us. Give bread to those who are hungry, and to those who have bread give us hunger for you. Amen    (Mexico, grace contributed from an orphanage in Colima, may not be the original source)

Benediction Bendición

Que el Dios de la Vida,
sea tu guía en el camino de cada día,
sea tu refugio en momentos de inseguridad
y sea tu descanso en tiempos de fatiga.
Que el Dios de la Vida,
te fortalezca cuando te sientas débil,
te consuele cuando estés triste
y te abrace cuando te sientas sola.
Que el Dios de la Vida,
que te quiere y te conoce,
te cubra con su ternura de Madre.
Por siempre.

May the God of Life,
be your guide on the road every day,
be your refuge in times of uncertainty
and be your rest in times of fatigue.
May the God of Life,
strengthen you when you feel weak,
comfort you when you feel sad
and hug you when you feel alone.
May the God of Life,
who loves you and knows you,
cover you with the tenderness of a Mother.
Amen.    (Argentina)

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14 Responses to Holy Communion Liturgy for World Communion Sunday, October 4, 2020

  1. StephanieAnne Thompson says:

    Thank you Maren for this generous and creative liturgy!

    • Maren says:

      You are so welcome — it is just fun to put together a quilt of my friend’s words from around the world. In my heart I dedicate it to Julia Esquival from Guatemala who has died since she sent hers to me.

  2. LAMPomrenke says:

    Thank you! (But I believe the date of Sunday is October 4th)

  3. Pingback: World Communion Sunday – 4 Oct 2020 | pilgrimwr.unitingchurch.org.au

  4. Greater Hartford UCC Vermont says:

    Thank you. This is wonderful. Our congregation will .love it

  5. Suzanne Schwarz-Green says:

    thank you. would you happen the German text for the German prayer? I can translate it but curious what it said and I would like to say it in German.

  6. Thank you once again, Maren. We have a tradition here in Hilo of including various staple foods from around the world on our communion table for World Communion Sunday. For the last few years, I’ve co-officiated with one or more of the pastors whose churches also worship on our campus. This year we can’t, and I will miss the Samoan and Pohnpeian voices terribly.

    • Maren says:

      It is sad to miss the community feeling at this time, especially across culture, though we are reminded that virtual community is mostly how we experience the rest of the world.

  7. Pingback: Online Worship for October 4, 2020 | Church of the Holy Cross Online Worship for October 4, 2020 | God's still speaking from Hilo

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